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

From: Dancefire
Subject: RE: Do I have to release the patch for a GPL software under GPL?
Date: Sat, 13 May 2006 06:02:07 +1000

Hi, David,

Thanks for reply. 

We are obviously not going to rip any opensource software, even the GPL
software we going to patch. What we expect is only make our *tiny* patch
under our control. There is no anyone else code in the tiny patch. We do not
want to restrict the redistribute of the original GPL software, it's not our
business. What we want to do is to put the restriction of redistribution on
the tiny patch we created.

Yes, if without the original GPL software, the patch will not going to work
directly. However, it doesn't mean the patch will make no sense without
original software. We also can port the patch to other software, after port,
the patch can work without the original one.

What I trying to say is there ARE some intelligent properties in the patch
which we want to keep under our control, but we never want to put any
restriction on any one else. So can we protect our own tiny patch not to be


-----Original Message-----
From: David Kastrup [] 
Sent: Saturday, May 13, 2006 5:31 AM
To: Dancefire
Subject: Re: Do I have to release the patch for a GPL software under GPL?

"Dancefire" <> writes:

> Well, we just put the discussion of whether the patch should be
> under GPL away. We just assume it is under GPL.
> So, now, at my current understanding, I can distribute the patch to
> another one, with/without commercial behavior. And I have the rights
> that I do not public the source code, the only thing I have to do is
> when I try to distribute the patched kernel I have to make the whole
> source code available to the receiver, and the patch is still under
> GPL. Right?
> And after I distribute the patched kernel, can the receiver public the
> patch?


> If yes, can I put a limit to public the patch?


> It's ok when we distribute the patched kernel with source code also
> available to which we want to distribute the patched
> kernel. However, make the patch public available is not our
> intention.

You can threaten your customer with whatever consequences you want,
except the law.  You can stop business with him, cancel any special
services or whatever.  But that's all.  Tell the customer that if he
doesn't exercise goodwill according to your needs, you won't either.

But the GPL rules out that you can go after him with the law behind

> We can and did contribute much code to open source community, but
> "much" doesn't mean "all", and should not *have to* be all.

"Should not"?  _You_ make use of _all_ of the contribution of some
author under the GPL, so why should you, as the creator of a tiny
patch, be allowed to demand better terms than the author of the main

You want to rip off some person's code for your own sake without
paying him.  If you don't like licensing a modification under the GPL,
contact the author and ask him for a different license for which you
are going to pay him reasonable royalties.

> In the real world, obviously, not everyone wants to make all the
> stuff to public.  So, there are some code in the real world will
> face the situation I described above.

Yes, that's why the GPL exists.  So that people don't consider ripping
off free code and making it proprietary.  Exactly to stop people from
that practice, the GPL has been written.

No, there is no way around it, since that is the _purpose_ of the

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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