[nSLUG] Xandros 2.0 is out and about

Peter Bojanic peter at bojanic.ca
Tue Jan 27 20:43:46 AST 2004


On Tue, 2004-01-27 at 14:13, Jeff Warnica wrote:
> I think that this may be in violation of the GPL. You have the software, you
> have the sources, you can do whatever you want with it. It may be a question of
> support (as that is what your realy buying), which is something different
> entirely.
> 
> As an asside: how differently is a "collection" of works treated under various
> IP laws, compared to a single work? For example: a book of famous quotes,
> themseves not protected, has some protection right? You cant photocopy a book
> of Shakespears plays, but the plays themselves are fair game... That is, is it
> leagaly acceptable to make such demands of a Linux distribution, even if those
> demands may be in specific violation of its components?

The GPL and other open source licenses protect the specific software
packages under which they are distributed. GPL defines the terms by
which you are permitted to redistribute software, including your
modifications.

The GPL does not disallow bundling of packages with non-GPL packages.
So, as long as Xandros complies with the rules for redistribute gcc,
Gnome, etc. they are also permitted to bundle custom works under a
proprietary license. Their file manager, for example.

The GPL is very specific about integration rules. Merely having GPL and
non-GPL software within the same distribution medium is entirely
permitted. If a proprietary package invokes shared libraries, licensed
under the lesser GPL, that's OK too. You only need to be concerned if
you do embed, or do run-time linking with GPL packages, which would in
fact contaminate your proprietary work and force you to use the GPL.

The GNU GPL FAQ describes most of these scenarios:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

AFAIK, the folks are Xandros are in complete compliance with the GPL. 

Cheers,
Peter
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