Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Aug 2007 21:37 UTC
Novell and Ximian In the wake of last week's ruling that Novell, and not SCO, controls the copyrights covering UNIX, Novell is reassuring Unix users that it has no plans to follow in SCO's footsteps. Given that the company is no longer in the business of selling UNIX, it has no reason to pursue any copyright claims.
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Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

[When] you allow somebody to use your work _forever_ as long as they follow the license then you cannot revoke the license unless it is broken.


This is very true. And if the GPL was a perpetual license, then that statement would apply.

Reply Parent Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

And if the GPL was a perpetual license, then that statement would apply.


Once code is released under the GPL, that is it ... that version of the code is forever released under the GPL.

The copyright may decide to release later versions under a different license, but that does not alter the fact that the earlier release is still under the GPL.

The classic example is CUPS, which Apple have recently bought. Earlier versions of CUPS (right up until the time that Apple bought the code) are forever GPL.

What Apple decides to do with later versions of CUPS is now up to Apple. That does not mean that Apple have any ability to change the licensing of previous versions, though. They remain GPL.

If Apple decides to release a later version as proprietary, that act would create a "fork" of the earlier GPL code, and development of that fork would continue under the GPL independent of Apple. The fork would no longer be called CUPS though.

Edited 2007-08-17 04:10

Reply Parent Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

It is perpetual for the SOFTWARE released under GPL.

If I acquire the SOFTWARE from you under the GPL you cannot later tell me that you have changed the license for me. The moment I receive it under the GPL my copy stays under the GPL as long as I abide by the license. You cannot revoke it unless I violate the GPL license. You can however decide to stop distributing it under the GPL for the future incl. older releases.

You can at any given time change the license (also for older versions) but not for those who have already received a copy of the SOFTWARE.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

If I acquire the software from you under the GPL you cannot later tell me that you have changed the license for me.


Yes, you can. Without specific language in the agreement forbidding it (specific language that all versions of the GPL have lacked), anyone can withdraw from any legal agreement at any time -- including licensing out materials. This is not something that a specific license must grant you, but an innate right (as common sense tells you). (Even if the GPL, any license that forbids you from withdrawing from the agreement would not be considered legally binding in many jurisdictions -- it would be asking someone to sign away something they cannot sign away.)

For example: Microsoft could, at any moment, decide to end all their current license agreements and tell us to stop using Windows. It'd be corporate suicide, and they'd probably be carved to small ribbons by lawyers claiming all sorts of damages, but it's within their power to do so.

For another example: Anyone who has contributed code to the Linux kernel could change the license it may be used under at any time. No matter how much the armchair laywers at Groklaw and Slashdot complain, unless the Linux kernel maintainers got an easily bribed judge to preside over the case, they would be forced to comply with the contributor's new license terms or cease use of that contributor's code. It'd probably get the contributor threatened and harmed in various ways by the more radical members of the Linux community, but it'd be all within their rights.

Edited 2007-08-17 06:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1