how much right do I have on my project, if there are patches by others?

Joseph Hick leet16y at
Fri Jul 6 11:44:44 UTC 2007

Yes, I actually meant a proprietary license. thanks
for correcting me.

why does FSF want the copyright to be them? they don't
want to sell their product under any proprietary
license. they just want to share their product with
the open source community.

so having a copyright over the complete software or
sharing the copyright with other contributors should
not matter to FSF.

please correct me I am wrong and help me understand
better, since I am new to this world of software

--- Nick Moffitt <nick at> wrote:

> Joseph Hick:
> > but things become different when someone submits a
> patch to my
> > software. the patch-submitter holds the copyright
> on the patch. so if
> > I include it into my software, do I lose the right
> to sell my own
> > software under a commercial license? :-(
> "You keep using that word.  I do not think it means
> what you think it
> means."
> The GPL *is* a commercial license.  One of the
> rights it protects is the
> right to commerce.  You or anyone in the world is
> allowed to sell
> distribution media containing the software, provided
> certain other
> criteria are also met.
> Perhaps you meant a proprietary license, rather than
> "commercial".
> > so in order to avoid it, i have to reject his
> patch and code the same
> > changes myself. is there any other way?
> The GNU project has always preferred that copyright
> for GNU code be held
> by the Free Software Foundation for reasons parallel
> to what you
> describe.  In situations where copyright could not
> be assigned for
> whatever reason, project GNU has been known to
> re-implement.
> I recall RMS saying once that for patches below a
> certain threshold (a
> diff of 10 lines, say) it wasn't worth bothering
> with copyright
> assignment since the material in question is so
> trivially small as not
> to be a risk.  I'm unsure as to whether this
> attitude is still
> reasonable in the current climate.
> -- 
> BitKeeper, how quaint.                         Nick
> Moffitt
>                 -- Alan Cox                  
> nick at

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