The regrettable use of "all" in Section 7 of the GPL

Richard Stallman rms at
Thu Feb 19 17:04:35 UTC 2004

    Now this "all" seems extremely unfortunate to me.  Suppose I file
    for a patent P, the practice of which is required to run program R
    released under the GPL.  Normally, distribution of R would be impossible.
    But suppose I issue the following public license:  "Everyone is allowed
    to practice patent P royalty-free (etc. etc.) except for the notorious
    Richard Stallman."  Is distribution of R still impossible because Stallman
    can't use it?

Yes, it is.

The same would be true if "John Cowan" were substituted for "Richard
Stallman".  "Free for everyone except you" is not free software
and is not allowed by the GPL.

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