Subject: Re: What should Sun do?
From: Norbert Bollow <>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2005 11:07:41 +0100

Stephen J. Turnbull <> wrote:

>     Adam> If we all joined together under, say, the Elbonian Software
>     Adam> Foundation, we'd all lose because it would need to become
>     Adam> quite bureaucratic, and one IP case would impact a whole
>     Adam> bunch of open source software.
> Now that's a scary thought.  Suppose the FSF owned Linux, and SCO
> _won_.  FSF goes bankrupt because it can't pay the license fee, SCO
> gets its assets, _including all FSF-owned copyrights_.
> What good do the FSF covenants of incorporation and the assignment
> papers we've signed do in that case, anybody know?

The assignment papers are a contract which imposes onto the FSF
obligations which are essentially equivalent to keeping the software
publicly available as Free Software.

Hence even if it should happen that the FSF is sued into bankruptcy,
and the software copyrights which are currently held by the FSF are
"inherited" by a legal successor-of-interest who isn't bound by the
FSF's covenants of incorporation, this successor-of-interest cannot
make use of the copyrights without honoring the obligations of the
assignment contract.

Hence GNU software is guaranteed to remain Free Software even in this
scenario.  It is however possible that the copyleft aspects of the
GPL would not get enforced anymore.

Greetings, Norbert.

Founder & Steering Committee member of DotGNU, see
Free Software Business Strategy Guide   --->
Norbert Bollow, Weidlistr.18, CH-8624 Gruet (near Zurich, Switzerland)
Tel +41 44 972 20 59        Fax +41 44 972 20 69