Restriction on distribution by Novell?

Juergen Weigert jw at
Tue Sep 26 18:43:00 UTC 2006

On Sep 26, 06 11:21:02 -0700, Ben Tilly wrote:
> 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?

I guess, Brian is right.

> 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
> that.

The GPL does not grant any support. 
Novell can restrict support, without violating the GPL. No?


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