conducting a sane and efficient GPLv3, LGPLv3 Review

Alexander Terekhov alexander.terekhov at
Fri Aug 3 13:24:30 UTC 2007

On 8/2/07, Ben Tilly <btilly at> wrote:
> On 8/2/07, Alexander Terekhov <alexander.terekhov at> wrote:
> > On 8/2/07, Zak Greant <zak at> wrote:
> [...]
> > Hey Zak, are you still at MySQL?
> >
> > I'm asking because MySQL must be truly excited regarding Seventh
> > Circuit's interpretation of the GPL...
> >
> > ------
> > Before EASTERBROOK, KANNE, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.
> >
> > EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge. Does the provision of copyrighted software
> > under the GNU General Public License ("GPL") violate the federal
> > antitrust laws? Authors who distribute their works under this license,
> > devised by the Free Software Foundation, Inc., authorize not only
> > copying but also the creation of derivative works—and the license
> > prohibits charging for the derivative work. People may make and
> Easterbrook is wrong on a basic point of fact.  The license does not
> prohibit charging for the derivative work, and many people have
> charged for such derivative works.  Not the least of these being the
> Free Software Foundation itself.

You misunderstand.

"The GPL covers only the software; people are free to charge for the
physical media on
which it comes and for assistance in making it work. Paper manuals,
and the time of knowledgeable people who service and support an
installation, thus are the most expensive part of using Linux."

Got it now?

But this part

"Thus the GPL propagates from user to user and revision to revision:
neither the original author, nor any creator of a revised or improved
version, may charge for the software or allow any successor to

is not quite correct. Just ask MySQL or SUN. :-)

> > (It was real fun to watch groklaw crowd loudly complaining about
> > "Horrible interpretation of the GPL" by EASTERBROOK.)
> Well of course they would complain about him having such a common
> misunderstanding of what the GPL says.  It is an elementary mistake
> that many make, and I blame the lawyers for not having done a better
> job in bringing the true facts to bear.

I think Wallace did pretty good job regarding "true facts":

See also


More information about the License-discuss mailing list