Ken Brown kenbrown at
Thu Oct 24 16:42:12 UTC 2002

This answer is duplicitous.  I think Sujita has a point.  One of the central
purposes of the GPL is to discourage sending the property
back into the realm of the General Public.  To quote RS, to make the
property "valueless commercially ...consequently free."  A
copyright/ownership/credit model are functions of proprietary models.
Specifically, all Linux development belongs to the community, thus it cannot
be owned.

I guess I also disagree with the morality point.  If the ethic of general
public ownership is fairness and freedom for all, then why should some
people insist on ownership while others have give it up?  In sum, if Sujita
would like to take any code or program from the General Public and do
anything with it, the terms of the license dictate that as long as he
understands that it remains the "property" of the  General Public, is has
100% freedom to do so...with our without credit to any commercial or private


-----Original Message-----
From: John Cowan [mailto:jcowan at]
Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2002 10:37 AM
To: Sujita Purushothaman
Cc: license-discuss at
Subject: Re: Copyright

Sujita Purushothaman scripsit:

>     I'd like to ask, when A writes a program and distributes it under the
> GPL, and B modifies it :
> 1. Is B allowed to remove all traces of A's name? Is B supposed to retain
> A's name somewhere?

It is customary for the copyright notice to include the author's name
(though it does not have to) and GPL forbids tampering with the copyright

> For example if I were to take RedHat Linux, make some
> modifications, and distribute my own version, can I remove all instances
> "RedHat" ?

This is a different question -- you not only can but you must.  "Red Hat"
is a trademark of Red Hat, and you have no right to use it.

A mosquito cried out in his pain,               John Cowan
"A chemist has poisoned my brain!"    
        The cause of his sorrow       
        Was para-dichloro-                      jcowan at
Diphenyltrichloroethane.                                (aka DDT)
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