Michael Thomas mike at
Wed Apr 1 18:00:17 PST 1998

Matt Kimball writes:
 > On Wed, Apr 01, 1998 at 05:31:57PM -0800, Michael Thomas wrote:
 > >    But this situation sounds fundamentally like taking the GPL'd
 > > software, modifying it to make it better and not releasing the
 > > sources for it, which I've always understood to be a no-no. Is there
 > > something I'm missing here?
 > The thing you're missing is that the creator of the work can change
 > the license at his or her whim.  It is just other people that can't
 > change it.

   The thing that gets tricky is if there are
modifications that you have rolled into your code
base. If it is GPL'd, I think that the default
assumption would be that for all contributors 
their work is being done under GPL conditions as
well. Now, I certainly agree that if it is
exclusively your intellectual property, you are
free to change it at will. However, in order to
"take back" a previously GPL'd piece of software,
you need to make certain that all GPL-condition
enhancements were removed or re-engineered -- an
*extremely* daunting task in the case of Linux.
It would certainly require clean-room conditions
to survive a lawsuit, I'd bet.
   This is sort of moot if Tim had a BSD-like
license since that's perfectly valid, but the
Linux case still seems like it would be well-neigh
Michael Thomas	(mike at
        "I dunno, that's an awful lot of money."

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