Restriction on distribution by Novell?

Ben Tilly btilly at
Tue Sep 26 18:21:02 UTC 2006

On 9/26/06, Brian Behlendorf <brian at> wrote:
> Red Hat has similar language in their RHEL licensing terms.  I believe the
> reason this is supposedly compatible with the underlying Open Source terms
> is that it is not restricting your right to redistribute based on
> copyright terms, but as a function of their support agreement.  That is,
> if you were to violate the agreement and redistribute the patches more
> widely, then you might lose the right to call Novell for support - at the
> very least for those unlicensed boxes, but perhaps even for the ones
> you've paid for.  They might even be entitled to statutory relief under
> contract law, if the contract laid out such terms.  But Novell would not
> be entitled to statutory relief under copyright law.   Thoughts?

If that is their rationale, I think this would be a violation of the
GPL V2.  As item 6 says, "You may not impose further restrictions on
the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein."  Attempting to
impose further restrictions based on a contract would clearly violate

IANAL, this is not legal advice, etc.


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