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The Software Freedom Conservancy on GPLv2 irrevocability

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GNU
Linux
Legal

For anybody who has been concerned by the talk from a few outsiders about revoking GPL licensing, this new section in the Software Freedom Conservancy's copyleft guide is worth a read.

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Expanded Section To Copyleft Guide On GPLv2 Irrevocability

  • Conservancy Adds Expanded Section To Copyleft Guide On GPLv2 Irrevocability

    In discussion of the Linux project's new Code of Conduct, a few people have suggested that contributors who reject the Code of Conduct might disrupt Linux licensing in response. This seems unlikely to most, but to ensure that uncertainty around this issue casts no shadow over contributions to GPLv2 works, Conservancy engaged our outside counsel, Pamela Chestek, to update the Copyleft and the GNU General Public License: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Guide (called the Copyleft Guide for short) on copyleft.org to clarify this issue.

    Copyleft.org is an initiative that fosters a collaborative community to share and improve information about copyleft licenses (especially the GNU General Public License (GPL)) and best compliance practices for those licenses. It's primary output is the Copyleft Guide, an extensive 157 page tutorial on GPL and other forms of copyleft licensing, available as an online book and as a PDF.

Linux code contributions cannot be rescinded: Stallman

  • Linux code contributions cannot be rescinded: Stallman

    Linux developers who contribute code to the kernel cannot rescind those contributions, according to the software programmer who devised the GNU General Public Licence version 2.0, the licence under which the kernel is released.

    Richard Stallman, the head of the Free Software Foundation and founder of the GNU Project, told iTWire in response to queries that contributors to a GPLv2-covered program could not ask for their code to be removed.

    "That's because they are bound by the GPLv2 themselves. I checked this with a lawyer," said Stallman, who started the free software movement in 1984.

    There have been claims made by many people, including journalists, that if any kernel developers are penalised under the new code of conduct for the kernel project — which was put in place when Linux creator Linus Torvalds decided to take a break to fix his behavioural issues — then they would ask for their code to be removed from the kernel.

Can You “Take Back” Open Source Code? [No.]

  • Can You “Take Back” Open Source Code?

    It seems a simple enough concept for anyone who’s spent some time hacking on open source code: once you release something as open source, it’s open for good. Sure the developer might decide that future versions of the project close up the source, it’s been known to happen occasionally, but what’s already out there publicly can never be recalled. The Internet doesn’t have a “Delete” button, and once you’ve published your source code and let potentially millions of people download it, there’s no putting the Genie back in the bottle.

    But what happens if there are extenuating circumstances? What if the project turns into something you no longer want to be a part of? Perhaps you submitted your code to a project with a specific understanding of how it was to be used, and then the rules changed. Or maybe you’ve been personally banned from a project, and yet the maintainers of said project have no problem letting your sizable code contributions stick around even after you’ve been kicked to the curb?

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