Subject: Re: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2006 16:24:42 +0900

>>>>> "L" == L Jean Camp <> writes:

    L> I see your point but it is a stretch. One element of course of
    L> the open source definition is that there is no discrimination
    L> in terms of distribution.

This is to a great extent at variance with the fact of the matter.
*You* may discriminate in distribution all you like.  Furthermore,
restrictions on redistribution may be imposed _within_ a legal person,
such as a corporation or government, on its members.  Another way to
put it is that legally, the members are not licensees, but the
organization is a licensee.

What non-discrimination means is that the license you grant may not
impose any restrictions on redistribution by those who receive it from
you, ie, outside of your legal person, whether an individual or

I do not know what happens in the case of redistribution of an
unauthorized distribution (eg, a classified program), but I would
suspect that it is treated as stolen property, so there would be no
problem with the U.S. government using GPL software in a classified
context.  Although any leak would still require that the third parties
have a license from upstream, there would be no implied license to any
additional code added by the government (aka, "the GPL is reciprocal,
not viral"), so it would not be a violation of the GPL to prosecute
3rd parties for possession of classified material derived from a GPLed

    L> I think that all the licenses except the GPL are clearly
    L> non-discriminatory.  The GPL does allow the license to restrict
    L> distribution in certain countries, if due to the intellectual
    L> property system in those countries, distribution there would
    L> infringe the GPL.

The license does not restrict distribution in a discriminatory
fashion, any more than the requirement of licensing patents is
discriminatory.  Distribution in those countries is incompatible with
the GPL; this is implied by the other terms of the GPL.  The GPL
merely makes this explicit.


Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
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          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory