Is this better for tomsrtbt?

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Mon Apr 23 06:21:48 UTC 2001

on Sun, Apr 22, 2001 at 07:21:40PM -0400, Tom Oehser (tom at wrote:
> > Did you add your own copyright notice to these programs?  I'm
> > digging around for copyright notices, they're a bit scarce....  You
> > ought to be covered under GPL in this case.
> The GPL says:
>   4. You may not ... sublicense ...

The GNU GPL, v2, says:

    4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
       *except* as expressly provided under this License.  Any attempt
       otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program
       is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this

(Emphasis added).

> and:
>   6. ... You may not impose any further restrictions ...

The GNU GPL, v2,  says:

    6.  ... You may not impose any further restrictions on the
        recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.

> It is pretty clear that I *cannot* require my own copyright be
> carried.

The GNU GPL, v2, says:

    1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source
       code as you receive it, in any medium, PROVIDED THAT YOU
       APPROPRIATE COPYRIGHT NOTICE and disclaimer of warranty; keep
       intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the
       absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the
       Program a copy of this License along with the Program.

(Emphasis added).

That would be your copyright notice.

> > Incidentally, where's TRBs sources?
> It depends which sources you want, give me a specific component.  For
> example, if you want the 'dd' on tomsrtbt, my preference is that you
> get it directly from me, either ftp, http, or email; given both that I
> have modified it and that the 3.13 version of fileutils would be hard
> to find otherwise.  If you want the 'lilo', for example, on tomsrtbt,
> my preference is that you download it from the canonical archive, as I
> have not patched it and it is current; but if you want it directly
> from me I can provide it via either http, ftp, or email.  There is no
> unified source tree or combined build process for tomsrtbt, for the
> purpose of providing the source code each component is a seperate
> entity, and given that there does not exist a unified source tree, I
> can't give it to you.  Let me know any particular source you want and
> how you would prefer to get it.
> > ...and have you mentioned this to the MuLinux author?   A lot of
> > license enforcement starts out with "say, I noticed" type letters.
> The point is, when I distributed it 2 years ago, I did *not* have such
> a stated requirement.  I really don't care enough in this case to
> pursue it.

See above, I believe you can request this.  It might also sooth your

> > > I want to prevent people from taking the binary objects and
> > > copying them into their own mini distributions without mentioning
> > > where they got them.
> > 
> > If you're modifying works based under the GPL and BSD licenses, the
> > existing licenses give you this right.  I think you're asking for
> > what you already have.
> Nope.  They are free to redistribute the binaries without mentioning
> anything.  Moreover, they are free under 3(c) to answer a request for
> the source code by referring the requestor to me.  

Did you provide a written offer, valid for at least three years, with

As far as I can see, looking at tomsrtbt-1.7.259, there is no license,
copyright, written offer for sources, copy of the GNU GPL or BSD
licenses attaced.   

Seems to me that you're in violation of the GPL and BSD license terms
here, Tom.

While it may not be necessary to include the licenses on a floppy, I'd
argue hard that the licenses should be distributed with the archive from
which the boot floppy is created.

Incidentally, this becomes yet another argument in the license
proliferation debate.  Tom's got a very useful tool, but has had
difficulty complying, with a freely distributed product, with the
fairly easy-to-meet terms of a small handful of licenses (GPL, LGPL,
BSD, others?).

> (Though I'm a little unclear about the 3-year thing.  What happens if
> they are counting on 3(c), and my 3-year period lapses, well, *his* 3
> year period hasn't lapsed, so the implication is that at the end of
> the 3rd year, he had better get the source while he still can...


Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
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