china buying software

Michael Haney thezorch at
Thu Jan 20 18:00:00 UTC 2011

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 12:39 PM, Cybe R. Wizard
<cybe_r_wizard at> wrote:
> On Thu, 20 Jan 2011 08:45:06 -0600
> "Cybe R. Wizard" <cybe_r_wizard at> wrote:
>> I question that there are /as many illegal
>> copies/ of Linux as of Winduhs, not that Linux illegality is possible.
>> The failure to release source code is only on the distributor, not the
>> user.  A copy that it is illegal for a distributor to distribute is
>> still legal for the user to use, is it not?  The illegality is not the
>> Linux, but the distribution.
>> Cybe
> In fact, upon further reflection I doubt that an illegal /version/ of
> Linux is even possible.  The distribution (giving away, selling,
> passing on) of a Linux copy may well be illegal, but the actual
> software, the copy, can't be illegal if I am reading the GNU licenses
> correctly. Once it is in the hands of the end user it is perfectly
> legal.  The passing on of the copy is what is at question, not the
> actual OS.
> Therefore there cannot be /any/ illegal copies of Linux in China or
> anywhere.
> Thoughts?

If a device maker were using an unmodified kernel and GPL software
then you are correct.  But, if they modify the kernel and GPL code,
then sell the device but don't make the source code available that's
when the legalities get touchy.  Yes, freely sharing a copy of Linux
isn't illegal according to the dictates of the GPL.  In fact, its
actually encouraged.

Michael "TheZorch" Haney
"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking
of morality by religion." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
"The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and
politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place
for it in the endeavor of science. " ~ Carl Sagan

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