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

From: Byron A Jeff
Subject: Re: Do I have to release the patch for a GPL software under GPL?
Date: 8 May 2006 13:20:01 -0400

In article <>,
Dancefire <> wrote:

>Hi, all,


>I am confusing on GPL now, I need someone to clear me.

I'll take a stab at it.

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


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

That's correct.

>But how about the patch for the kernel?

The same because the patchis for GPL software.

> That is, if I generate the patch of =
>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 =
>customers as whatever license as I want, but I don=92t want the patch =
>GPL for some reason. Can I?

Nope. Since the patch is for GPL software, it falls under the GPL.
There have been a ton of discussions about library/plugin interfaces that 
have the same issues. Since the only way this patch can be used is to bind
it with GPL source, it must be GPLed.

Of course I have to beg the question: why bother to use GPL software when your
intent is to break the sprit of the license? GPL software is licensed the
way it is so that everyone can benefit from and contribute to the code base.
Proprietizing a patch is the anthesis of what the GPL and free software is
all about.

The original code is put under the GPL precisely to prevent you from doing
what you propose to do. Why would you even want to use GPL software if it
runs so counter to your values?

The answer is simple: Write all of your own software. Then you can license it
any way that you wish. See how simple that is?


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