china buying software

Liam Proven lproven at
Thu Jan 20 18:36:42 UTC 2011

On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 6:00 PM, Michael Haney <thezorch at> wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 12:39 PM, Cybe R. Wizard

>> 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.

So, sticking to the actual core of the discussion here, if we are
talking about people circulating *copies of Linux* versus *copies of
Windows*, then unless the people doing the circulating have got a
licensing deal with MICROS~1, *all* such /copies/ of Windows are
illegal, but *no* /copies/  of Linux are illegal, by its very nature.

So Jan Claeys' comment that:

> there are probably as many illegal copies of linux
> made/sold in China as there are illegal copies of Windows,

is in fact dead wrong. It would be lots of copies of perfectly-legal
Linux versus lots of pirated Windows.

Liam Proven • Info & profile:
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