The Linux Foundation, custodians of the Linux trademark, have announced two summits to deal with legal issues surrounding Linux and open-source software. Attendees will focus on building a legal defense structure for Linux and policies designed to support intellectual property rights within open development.
Legal Summits To Tackle Linux
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2007-09-14 4:51 pmTemporalBeing
I don’t know how correct Theo is or is not. However, I am aware – as I have posted either here or on Slashdot in the past – that one of the big things where TdR is raising a fuss is about header files being relicensed. Unfortunately for TdR, Header files are typically outside the scope of Copyright, so the license would not apply to them. For reference on this, see the SCO vs. IBM litigation materials on Groklaw.
I can fully understand the issue with implementation files, and to my understanding of what I have read on this topic, most of this was done by the _original_ driver developer, which has that right to start with. (I could be wrong, but that is my understanding.)
So for TdR to say to another developer that did the implementation and chose to dual license it, and then that same developer contributed it to another project (e.g. Linux) and chose to use a different license scheme there – that is wrong.
Now, if I am wrong about the original developer thing fine. (Please tell me if that is so, but that is my understanding.) However, if the only other issue is about header files (which is also my understanding), then get over it as that is outside Copyright.
Not saying that one or both sides made errors in this issue – whoever did err here should apologize for whatever that err is. Unfortunately, TdR is no closer to doing so than the Linux guys.
Again, the above is just according to my understanding on the issue, and is not a legal statement in any way. So take it with a grain of salt, and do your own research and consult your own lawyer to get an accurate, legal answer. (IANAL!)
2007-09-14 5:01 pmdylansmrjones
Well.. NOBODY stripped off the license!
And Theo is not complaining about that. Because it didn’t happen. It was close to happening, but it didn’t happen. What Theo is complaining about is whether or not one can sublicense BSD-licensed code and how large a modification has to be in order to be copyrightable. He is obviously wrong about the first and possibly right about the second.
It has NOTHING to do with stripping copyright notices which is clearly a copyright violation and did NOT happen.
I wish there were less petty lawyering in the OSS world. The GPL is not particularly clever and Kernel devs do not make good lawyers. I say, let the few big-wig lawyers like Eben Moglen take care of that issue and let the engineers deal with things that are actually important to users. I’m sure recruiting law professors to deal with these issues will be far more productive and rational that putting people like Linus and Miguel through all these tribulations.
Hopefully this conference will help the kernel devs to deal with Theo De Raadt’s FUD. By my reading I always understood the BSD License to mean simply that you have to say “Hey there’s some BSD code in here somewhere”. Obviously some Linux driver devs thought the same thing (not to mention who knows how many less exposed private devs). Whether He (Theo) is legally correct or just feeling some pain resultant of his choice of license, is a good question to have answered. Then we can get past the accusations to a discussion of code courtesy.
How is he spreading FUD? He is clearly in the right… if you wrote something and someone stripped off your licence or even slightly altered it.. You would be upset… obviously.
The Linux developers are doing exactly that, Ignoring the law and relicensing another persons work.. it’s illegal and I hope they admit their fault publicly.
Edited 2007-09-14 16:20