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Re: Do I have to release the patch for a GPL software under GPL?

From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: Do I have to release the patch for a GPL software under GPL?
Date: Sun, 7 May 2006 12:53:43 +0200 (CEST)

   Do I have to release the patch under GPL if the patch is for a GPL

Ask yourself the following, is the patch a deriviate work?  If it is,
then it must be licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL.

   As my understanding, for example, If I modified Linux kernel, I do
   not have to release it under GPL if I use it privately, unless I
   make it public.

You are confusing releasing and licensing.

   But how about the patch for the kernel? That is, if I generate the
   patch of my modification for the Linux Kernel, and never release
   the modified Linux kernel to public, however, I want to sell the
   kernel patch of the Linux to customers as whatever license as I
   want, but I don't want the patch under GPL for some reason. Can I?

You can charge a fee for distributing the patch (or for any free
software infact) or even a tarball of the whole Linux tree with the
patch included.  What you must do though is give the people you
distribute the patch to (for a fee or not) the same rights as you
recived; i.e. you must follow the terms of the GNU GPL since the patch
is derived from a work which is licensed under the GNU GPL. So in
short, no.

I suggest that you read the GNU GPL FAQ[0], it contains many answers
to these types of questions.  And I'd also like to recommend the
essays at, most notably `Why Software
Should Be Free' by RMS.



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