Subject: Re: brands, trademarks, and the GPL
From: Brian Behlendorf <>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 18:10:37 -0700 (PDT)

NOTE: I have reduced cc's to  I ask everyone else
following this to do the same, cc'ing two dozen people is madness.

On Tue, 28 Sep 1999, Crispin Cowan wrote:
> So is GPL 3 proposed to be applied to existing, large projects, i.e. the Linux
> Kernel and the GNOME?  If so, it's problematic, because it requires that all of
> the contributing authors accept the new license, which is difficult when the
> identity and location of these authors is not precisely known.  I have
> traditionally regarded this as a strength of the Linux GPL:  not even Linus could
> take the Linux kernel proprietary, because he would have to get distributed
> agreement from too many people.

Even if Linus *did* own all of the IP in the Linux kernel, he could not
"take it proprietary", as no matter what Linus did with the next release,
the previous release would still be available under the GPL, and anyone
could fork it.  *This* is the real strength, and is why open source works
no matter who owns the IP.