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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] libreplanet-discuss Digest - Re: Astra Linux V

From: J.B. Nicholson-Owens
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] libreplanet-discuss Digest - Re: Astra Linux Violates GNU GPL
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 2015 17:30:37 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Icedove/31.8.0 wrote:
Debate about Free vs Open, or the merits of the GPL, etc. is
IRRELEVANT - philosophy isn't the question, as like the philosophy /
license or not, the software in question IS under the GPL, so the
only two questions are 1. Are they violating it? 2. If they are, what
is being done to get them into compliance?

Compliance is a question for the relevant copyright holders, not the public at large on this list/forum. Even if we can show non-compliance we don't have cause to win a copyright infringement lawsuit.

It's possible the copyright holders have no plans to defend their license. For all we know the copyright holders take the position on the matter like Linus Torvalds takes with the Linux kernel -- licensed under GPLv2 but okay with GPL-incompatible code within and okay with distributing non-compliant derivative works (such as the Linux kernel fork he distributes which contains proprietary blobs).

In order to understand why one would take this view and why proprietors encourage copyright holders to take this view, one needs to understand the very thing you dismiss as irrelevant -- the difference between the free software and open source movements. Torvalds takes an open source stance pleasing his proprietor fellows who apparently treat that code as a dumping ground for proprietary distribution. By contrast, the folks who make Linux-libre take a free software stance by removing said blobs and distributing a completely free software Linux kernel. Brad Kuhn, former FSF Executive Director now heading up the Software Freedom Conservancy, explains this very well in his talks on copyleft: an undefended strong copyleft license (such as the GPLv3 and AGPLv3) is effectively the same as licensing under a non-copylefted free software license like the new BSD or MIT X11 license.

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