Intel's proposed BSD + Patent License

Ken Arromdee arromdee at
Tue Oct 30 17:54:01 UTC 2001

> Intel hereby grants Recipient and Licensees a non-exclusive,
> worldwide, royalty-free patent license under Licensed Patents to make,
> use, sell, offer to sell, import and otherwise transfer the Software,
> if any, in source code and object code form. This license shall
> include changes to the Software that are error corrections or other
> minor changes to the Software that do not add functionality or
> features when the Software is incorporated in any version of a
> operating system that has been distributed under the GNU General
> Public License 2.0 or later.

This is odd.  What is "the software" when linked into an operating system?
Does "the software" include anything linked with it, and therefore, would a
change to the operating system that adds features be considered a change to
"the software"?

If yes, then the software becomes pretty much useless--you can link it into
an operating system only if you don't change the operating system.

If no, than anyone can change the software any way they want anyway, merely
by claiming the changes are changes to the operating system.

Also, wouldn't it violate the fields of endeavor clause and specific to a
product clause to only allow the software to be linked with operating systems?
(I can see a way around this: claim that of course the user is allowed to
link it with anything, it's just that it would violate patents, but it's
not the license which says you're prohibited from violating patents, just an
external law.  The problems with this workaround are left as an exercise to
the reader.)

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