Response from M-Systems

Jason Gunthorpe jgg at
Fri Jul 9 16:43:07 EDT 1999

On Fri, 9 Jul 1999, David Woodhouse wrote:

> And if I personally release some code under GPL, what then? Have I 
> singlehandedly voided their patents, to which I didn't have any right in the 
> first place?

Ah, then it gets complex, since you don't have any patent right to give
you have contradicted the terms of your own license. The conservative view
is that anyone you give it to has no license to use it because they cannot
comply with the license, a less conservative view is that they cannot
distribute source or binaries derived from it because they cannot comply
with the license. You can distribute it because you can't really break
your own license :>

Basically most patent rights are incompatible with the GPL so you end up
with the exact same mess as the KDE people have, code that is GPL'd and
code that is not GPL'd (via the patents) - sorting it out is not trivial.


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