the right to make a difference

Neal McBurnett neal at
Thu Jun 2 15:53:30 UTC 2016

Thank you Sam for yet again wading thru all of these misconceptions about the GPL and copyright licenses.  It really is very clear.  The GPL allows people to modify the software ONLY if they agree to the conditions of the license, just like any other copyright holder does when they LICENSE software.  The license is the only thing that allows more than 'fair use'.  Grsecurity is welcome to work on anything they like, or not.  But if they want to modify and redistribute the Linux kernel, they need to abide by the GPLv2, which requires allowing free redistribution of their modifications.  Note that they aren't just offering a driver or some sort of add-on or plugin.  Their latest "test" patch at

modifies over 3000 distinct files in the kernel.

But really, this discussion about copyright and license philosophy clearly doesn't belong here.  There is tons about it to read online, and discussions can go to the Open Source Initiative "License Discuss" list:

among others.  Also see this page for more information and links:

I found it helpful to get the initial notice of complaints about Grsecurity, which seems relevant to Ubuntu in a variety of indirect ways.  But unless there is something else particularly relevant to Ubuntu about that, I'd ask people to find the more appropriate venues for the conversation.


Neal McBurnett       

On Thu, Jun 02, 2016 at 03:33:59PM +0100, Sam Bull wrote:
> On Thu, 2016-06-02 at 14:35 +0200, Xen wrote:
> > The intention of the GPL is not really relevant.
> > 
> > What happens is that the authors remain to have a say about how the 
> > product is used, if copyright is at play (at least the idea of 
> > copyright).
> Yes, and the authors stated they require you to allow redistribution of
> any modifications under the same conditions of the GPL.

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