Convert GPL to MPL

Alexander Terekhov alexander.terekhov at
Fri Jan 18 20:45:39 UTC 2008

On Jan 18, 2008 9:22 PM, Chuck Swiger <chuck at> wrote:
> On Jan 18, 2008, at 11:55 AM, Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> > On Jan 18, 2008 7:47 PM, Chuck Swiger <chuck at> wrote:
> > [...]
> >> You're not allowed to change the license of a GPL'ed work.  However,
> >> you don't have to change the GPL at all if you simply want to charge
> >> money for the software-- see RedHat and other Linux distributions--
> >> "You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy,
> >> and
> >> you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a
> >> fee."
> >
> > I don't think that Red Hat charges "a fee for the physical act of
> > transferring
> > a copy" and/or offers "warranty protection in exchange for a fee."
> >
> >
> The section you'd quoted from page 31 doesn't seem particularly
> relevant to why or for what RedHat is charging their subscription
> fees.  However, earlier in the document, the section on page 6 titled
> "Subscription Revenue" states: "The base subscription generally
> entitles the end user to the technology itself and post contract
> customer support (PCS)...."
> RedHat is selling software (much of which is GPLed, some of which is

Quoting Red Hat's Subscription Agreement:


The term "Installed Systems" means the number of Systems on which
Customer installs or executes the Software. The term "System" means any
hardware on which the Software is installed, which may be, without
limitation, a server, a work station, a virtual machine, a blade, a
partition or an engine, as applicable. The initial number of Installed
Systems is the number of copies of the Software that Customer purchases.


Note that "Software" is contractually defined term.

<quote> The term "Software" means the subscription </quote>

(Now, since it's just impossible to install and execute on a computer
a *subscription* (a legal arrangement for providing software... I
would have thought), they must mean software-as-in-dictionary (not
Software) in the definition of "Installed Systems" but okay...)

And here's what they actually selling:


If Customer wishes to increase the number of Installed System, then
Customer will purchase from Red Hat additional Services for each
additional Installed System. During the term of this Agreement and for
one (1) year thereafter, Customer expressly grants to Red Hat the right
to audit Customer's facilities and records from time to time in order to
verify Customer's compliance with the terms and conditions of this
Agreement. Any such audit shall only take place during Customer's normal
business hours and upon no less than ten (10) days prior written notice
from Red Hat. Red Hat shall conduct no more than one such audit in any
twelve-month period except for the express purpose of assuring compliance
by Customer where non-compliance has been established in a prior audit.
Red Hat shall give Customer written notice of any non-compliance, and if
a payment deficiency exists, then Customer shall have fifteen (15) days
from the date of such notice to make payment to Red Hat for any payment
deficiency. The amount of the payment deficiency will be determined by
multiplying the number of underreported Installed Systems or Services by
the annual fee for such item. If Customer is found to have underreported
the number of Installed Systems or amount of Services by more than five
percent (5%), Customer shall, in addition to the annual fee for such item,
pay liquidated damages equal to twenty percent (20%) of the underreported
fees for loss of income and administration costs suffered by Red Hat as a


(How that scheme doesn't fall under GPL "additional restrictions" on
"freedom 0" is beyond my comprehension but that's beside the point.)


More information about the License-discuss mailing list