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posted by n1 on Thursday July 06 2017, @11:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the to-hell-with-gpl dept.

Bruce Perens warns of potential contributory infringement and breach of contract risk for customers of GRSecurity:

Grsecurity is a patch for the Linux kernel which, it is claimed, improves its security. It is a derivative work of the Linux kernel which touches the kernel internals in many different places. It is inseparable from Linux and can not work without it. it would fail a fair-use test (obviously, ask offline if you don’t understand). Because of its strongly derivative nature of the kernel, it must be under the GPL version 2 license, or a license compatible with the GPL and with terms no more restrictive than the GPL. Earlier versions were distributed under GPL version 2.

Currently, Grsecurity is a commercial product and is distributed only to paying customers. My understanding from several reliable sources is that customers are verbally or otherwise warned that if they redistribute the Grsecurity patch, as would be their right under the GPL, that they will be assessed a penalty: they will no longer be allowed to be customers, and will not be granted access to any further versions of Grsecurity. GPL version 2 section 6 explicitly prohibits the addition of terms such as this redistribution prohibition.

By operating under their policy of terminating customer relations upon distribution of their GPL-licensed software, Open Source Security Inc., the owner of Grsecurity, creates an expectation that the customer’s business will be damaged by losing access to support and later versions of the product, if that customer exercises their re-distribution right under the GPL license. This is tantamount to the addition of a term to the GPL prohibiting distribution or creating a penalty for distribution. GPL section 6 specifically prohibits any addition of terms. Thus, the GPL license, which allows Grsecurity to create its derivative work of the Linux kernel, terminates, and the copyright of the Linux Kernel is infringed. The contract from the Linux kernel developers to both Grsecurity and the customer which is inherent in the GPL is breached.


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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by frojack on Thursday July 06 2017, @05:37PM (2 children)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 06 2017, @05:37PM (#535790) Journal

    How does someone like that manage to get anywhere in American society these days?

    I assure you it is far more common than you think.

    They pay (cash mostly) for critical things like food, fuel, electricity. They stiff arm anyone dumb enough to grant them any credit.

    I know this guy (lives down the street), who purchased a brand new house, committing only a small down payment. At that time he (somehow) had enough credit (or enough fake papers) to get the bank loan.

    He never paid a dime on that house, until sheriffs showed up. He then paid two or three payments, knowing just how many he had to pay to extinguish the lender's seizure papers, then he went right back to not making any payments. The lenders had to start the long paper-work train all over again to begin seizure.

    He spent a weekend in jail once when he ignored a Judge's order to appear. Not jailed for the debts he owed, but simply because he pissed off the wrong judge by ignoring the order. He confused the issue, (he thought the condo association had him thrown in jail - which is almost impossible in the US) and always paid that creditor from then on.

    It took 12 years to get him out of that house. He had all of his house pre-packed and ready to go when the Sheriffs arrived to give him 4 hours to be out. (He knew they were coming somehow). Of course he left all the furnishings, (also unpaid for), skipped out on the rest of his condo dues, and the last few months of power, gas, water bills.

    He only drove junkers. He made sure he had nothing worth seizing, but a a neighbor saw him pull into a nearby national park in a huge motor home on a couple different occasions (same vehicle), which he also never paid for, but kept well hidden).

    He was employed, but insisted on getting paid in cash money, and would move to a different job as soon as garnishment papers were filed. He actually did good work, I believe he was a brick layer or plumber with reasonable skills.

    To him it was a game. He knew the rules very well.
    There are lots of them around.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Thursday July 06 2017, @08:59PM (1 child)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday July 06 2017, @08:59PM (#535867)

    Wow, that sure sounds like a lousy way to lead your life, not just because of the basic morality issue of ripping people off, but the sheer pain-in-the-ass factor of spending all your mental energy figuring out how to game the system like that. This guy sounds like someone who likely has no friends and is forever single.

    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Friday July 07 2017, @12:08AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Friday July 07 2017, @12:08AM (#535936)

      Personally I agree. But how much effort is it, really, compared to the amount of effort required to do the work to actually pay for the same lifestyle?