Subject: Re: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
From: Thomas Lord <>
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2006 11:54:13 -0700

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> You're misreading something somehow, but I'm not sure how.
> The license to the customer is exactly the GPL.  The NDA has nothing
> to do with the GPL at all, because as the author you are a special
> case.  There is nobody else who can license your program to you, the
> GPL does not grant anyone else the right to sublicense, merely to
> copy, modify, and distribute.  Their licenses come from you, even if
> they've received the program from somebody else.
Please remember that we are talking about a modified program, not a wholly
original one.   When you give your modified program to the customer, you
are exercising *your* GPL rights that you got from somebody else.   Your
right to distribute the modified version to your customer is granted only by
the GPL.

NDAs and releases from NDAs have monetary value.   If I sign an NDA
for my customer today, I am giving him something that is currently worth
$X.   If tomorrow I'm released from the NDA, that is worth $Y to me and
will cost my customer some $X'.

So distributing a modified GPLed program to a customer this way is like
giving them the program, plus $X, and imposing the condition that if
they exercise their GPL rights tomorrow, they must spend $X' in order
to provide me with something worth $Y.

I have no right to distribute the modified program with a restriction 
like that,
even if I'm the one who made the modifications.