Subject: Re: What should Sun do?
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2005 01:12:43 -0800
Sat, 5 Feb 2005 01:12:43 -0800
on Fri, Feb 04, 2005 at 09:54:10AM -0500, Marshall W. Van Alstyne (marshall@MIT.EDU)
> At 05:07 AM 2/3/2005, Norbert Bollow wrote:
> >Stephen J. Turnbull <> wrote:
> >
> >> 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.
> Question: but suppose they don't intend to *use* the copyrights? Under a 
> different scenario, what might happen if the owner of a competing product 
> sued (a hypothetical Microsoft) and won ownership? Is it possible for them 
> to bury code?  A software equivalent of the final scene from "Raiders of 
> the Lost Ark" comes to mind.

Well, for five years, 3(b) distribution would be in effect for a large
part of the code.

Too:  the sources for any of the live projects are already out.  Burying
dead code really doesn't do much, particularly with GPLd copies around.

> I'm guessing that the redistribution properties of say GPL would protect 
> access but that development momentum would be lost if the new owner 
> intended to do damage.

Minimally for any project of  any  significance.


Karsten M. Self <>
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