Re: Canonical’s IPRights Policy incompatible with Ubuntu licence policy

Benjamin Kerensa bkerensa at
Wed May 27 22:30:20 UTC 2015

Hi All,

I just wanted to point out the email from Joshua Gay was May 4th, 2015 so
the same day I sent the excerpt.

On Tue, May 5, 2015 at 7:57 AM, Richard Gaskin <ambassador at>

> Jonathan Riddell wrote:
> > Lawyers will only write things in an unclear way when they want to
> > which on reading Michael's latest post on this thread seems to be
> > the case.
> I've found it helpful to describe people's actions while avoiding attempts
> to describe their intentions.  Ultimately a person's intentions are known
> only to themselves, so it's often most productive to assume good intentions
> unless there is clear reason to believe otherwise.
> In an imperfect world, people make mistakes.  In this case if there's a
> mistake at all it's only one of completeness, not having accounted for the
> unusual edge case in which someone would want to make a derivative work
> from Ubuntu but not run a compiler.
> Many derivative works of Ubuntu exist, so it would appear few have felt
> this omission should stopped them from enjoying the freedoms granted to
> them under the GPL.
> I believe that the willingness of Canonical's legal team to consider
> alternative wording to support even such rare edge cases speaks well of
> their good intentions.
> > On 5 May 2015 at 00:04, Michael Hall <mhall119 at> wrote:
> >> Because they are not Ubuntu and they are using Ubuntu's resources.
> >
> > Wow, this shows a complete lack of understanding of the basics of the
> > Ubuntu community, upstream communities, downstream communities, free
> > software processes and the law.
> >
> > You can not restrict what people do unless there's a contractual or
> > legal way to do that.  People can choose to not be Ubuntu and don't
> > get arbitrary restrictions put on them.  They can download all the
> > packages they want from the mirrors that host the packages we make.
> > If you want to restrict how much people do that you need to put a
> > password on the servers to do so.  You can't pretend there's an
> > arbitrary cutoff just because you don't like people not being Ubuntu.
> The GPL obliges those who distribute object code governed by that license
> to also make source code available.  These obligations exist only for one's
> own distribution, and neither object code nor source is required be
> provided specifically through a server.
> I haven't seen language in either GPL v2 or v3 which obliges an entity
> distributing their own work to also provide hosting services to all
> possible derivative works.
> Since I'm not an attorney I accept that I may be mistaken on this, and
> would welcome correction if such an obligation can be found in a relevant
> license.
> But as a practical matter, it seems reasonable that an entity distributing
> their own work would not be encumbered by what could potentially be
> thousands or millions of derivative works.  Such a requirement to build and
> maintain an ever large server farm only to meet the needs of developers
> other than themselves would seem prohibitively onerous, inhibiting the
> proliferation of free software.
> --
>  Richard Gaskin
>  Fourth World Systems
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Benjamin Kerensa
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