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Not feeling very reassured

Not feeling very reassured

Posted Sep 24, 2004 19:46 UTC (Fri) by Max.Hyre (guest, #1054)
Parent article: An introduction to SELinux

The ``Statement of Assurance'' has some holes you could drive a truck through. Specifically,

Secure Computing will not assert <its rights> with respect to any use, modification or distribution of SELinux software that is permitted by, and is in compliance with, the terms and conditions of Version 2 of the GNU General Public License (the “GPL”).

Hmm...They're saying anything the GPL allows is fine with them. But why that phrase ``of SELinux software''?

The commitment not to assert <its rights> [...] is limited to SELinux software that is release (sic) under, and governed by, the GPL.

Again: ``limited to SELinux software''.

<It may> assert <its rights> with respect to VPN gateways, perimeter and distributed firewalls, URL filtering, authentication and authorization for applications, hosts and devices, and other products, features and functions that are beyond the scope of the Assurance.

So this is GPLed code that I can't take and move into any GPLed version of the applications they call out?

<It> may license or otherwise transfer <its rights>, including the Subject Patent Rights, without any restriction or condition. The recipients of such rights are not bound by this Statement of Assurance, and may assert any rights acquired from Secure Computing without any limitation or restriction.

So this assurance isn't worth the electrons it's written with, should they sell the patents. Hell, they could set up a new corporation with the same board of directors, and sell the patents to it.

No license is granted in this Statement of Assurance with respect to the Subject Patents <....>

So allowing the code's release under the General Public License doesn't give you a license.

It seems to me that this ``Statement of Assurance'' is incompatible with the GPL, and the code cannot be distributed. Not good.

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Not feeling very reassured

Posted Oct 2, 2004 17:07 UTC (Sat) by nealmcb (subscriber, #20740) [Link]

Right on. Also:
  • Other Patents. Secure Computing may have rights in other patents that are applicable to SELinux, and similar or related products. Secure Computing retains all of its rights in those other patents, including the right to prosecute any infringement of those patent rights. Nothing in this Statement of Assurance will limit Secure Computing s right to acquire or assert additional patent rights, whether by license, assignment or application.

So they may prosecute SELinux users based on other patents.

I'd like to know whether the patent is likley to be valid.

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