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Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 22:42:43 +0200

Rahul Dhesi wrote:
> source is free.  RedHat charges for its RedHat Network, through which it

Yeah. Red Hat.

Red Hat Subscription Agreement 

Subscription agreements are the cornerstone of our business and are 
required to: 

• Provide access to our software offerings 

• Set forth the appropriate service level agreements over time 

• Recognize revenue, collect cash, and maintain our business model 

• Ensure the appropriate open source license (General Public License 
(GPL) based End User License Agreement (EULA)) is transferred to the 

• Minimize legal risks to Red Hat 

Red Hat Subscription Terms 

Installed System 

• Customer agrees to pay Red Hat the applicable subscription fees for 
each Installed System. 

• An "Installed System" means a system on which the Customer installs 
or executes all or a portion of Red Hat software (may be a server

Our subscription-based contract model may encounter customer 
resistance or we may experience a decline in the demand for our 

The subscription agreement used for many of our products, including 
Red Hat Enterprise Linux, requires customers to agree to a 
subscription for our services for each installed system on which they 
deploy our subscription based products. ... While we believe this 
practice complies with the requirements of the GNU General Public 
License, and while we have reviewed this practice with the Free 
Software Foundation, the organization that maintains and provides 
interpretations of the GNU General Public License, we may still 
encounter customer resistance to this distribution model. To the 
extent we are unsuccessful in promoting or defending this 
distribution model, our business and operating results could be 
materially and adversely affected. 

Does Red Hat impose "further restrictions" on GPL'd code, or not?

Q: The GPL allows charging fees for binaries, only source code must be 
available under the GPL at no charge. So what's the problem? 

A: You need to contact IBM's legal counsel and set them straight before 
they further embarrass themselves: "65. Among the "further restrictions" 
that the GPL and LGPL do not permit are royalties or licensing fees (Ex. 
27 §§ 2, 3; Ex. 26 §§ 2, 4) (although fees can be collected for "the 
physical act of transferring a copy" of the code or for warranty 
protection). (Ex. 27 § 1; Ex. 26 § 1.) If modified works or machine- 
readable versions of GPL- or LGPL-licensed software are distributed, 
they must be licensed "at no charge to all third parties under the 
terms of this License." (Ex. 27 § 2 (emphasis added); Ex. 26 § 2; see 
also Ex. 27 § 3; Ex. 26 § 4.)" --- REDACTED MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF 

What say you now, Rahul?


(GNG is a derecursive recursive derecursion which pwns GNU since it can 
be infinitely looped as GNGNGNGNG...NGNGNG... and can be said backwards 
too, whereas GNU cannot.)

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