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Runtime restrictions

Runtime restrictions

Posted Oct 30, 2006 14:23 UTC (Mon) by liljencrantz (guest, #28458)
In reply to: Runtime restrictions by cventers
Parent article: GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Isn't a distributor also usually an end user? Shouldn't the rights granted to a distributor also be granted to an end user?

For example, many GPL:ed pieces of software are licendes under GPL2 or later. So the end user may choose if he accepts the license terms of GPL2, GPL3 or GPL4. But does that mean that any user may download the source of a package, accept the license terms of GPL2, modify the package and then release the resulting derivative work under GPL2 only?


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Runtime restrictions

Posted Oct 30, 2006 14:45 UTC (Mon) by cventers (guest, #31465) [Link]

A distributor may also be an end user, but calling restrictions on
distribution 'end use restrictions' is wrong and/or intellectually
dishonest, because the restrictions in question don't apply to mere end
users and only apply to distributors.

And yes, the end user can relicense within the GPL depending on the "or
any later version" clause or lack of version specification.

Runtime restrictions

Posted Nov 2, 2006 12:05 UTC (Thu) by forthy (guest, #1525) [Link]

For example, many GPL:ed pieces of software are licendes under GPL2 or later. So the end user may choose if he accepts the license terms of GPL2, GPL3 or GPL4. But does that mean that any user may download the source of a package, accept the license terms of GPL2, modify the package and then release the resulting derivative work under GPL2 only?

Yes, any user/distributor can do that. And actually that's what Linus Torvalds did, when he put his "GPLv2 only" comment on top of COPYING in 2.4.0-test-something.

Runtime restrictions

Posted Nov 2, 2006 12:25 UTC (Thu) by arcticwolf (guest, #8341) [Link]

No, that's definitely not what he did.

If you read the GPL, you will find that the whole "any later version" thing is not actually part of the license. It's being used in the example of how to apply the GPL to your work, but the license itself does not contain any clause like that. (In fact, if it did, the whole "GPL v2 or later" vs. "GPL v2 only" distinction would be meaningless; the GPL v2 would already say that any later version is also acceptable, and declaring a program to be licensed under "the GPL v2 only" would make no sense, just like saying "licensed under the GPL, but you may not make copies or modify it" doesn't make sense, either.)

It's important to keep this in mind. Linus licensed Linux under the GPL, but he never used the "any later version" language, so Linux[1] was *always* licensed under the GPL v2 only. The change you mention merely made this explicit to combat confusion.

1. That is, the parts he holds the copyright to, as well as Linux as a whole; individual parts contributed by others may well be available under additional licenses, such as later versions of the GPL, of course.


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