Subject: Re: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
From: Richard Stallman <>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 10:59:15 -0400

    While I am not a lawyer, I will try presenting it in (roughly) legal
    vocabulary so that you can ask for your council to comment
    on it.

We discussed this issue many years ago, and the FAQ entry states our
conclusion.  Our conclusion is that it is neither illegal nor
especially wrong to develop changes in a GPL-covered program for one
specific party, with a promise not to release them to others.  You
can't distribute GPL-covered code under an NDA, but you can sign an
agreement to deliver the code _you write_ only to your client.

I am not interested in going through the issue again.

If an employee releases the modifications without authorization, the
situation is legally equivalent to releasing any other of the
company's data without authorization: it wasn't a valid release, so
legally it doesn't give people any permission.