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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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

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