[ros-dev] Re: New OS built on ReactOS and WinuxOS technology!
Michael B. Trausch
fd0man at gmail.com
Thu Jun 9 09:20:24 CEST 2005
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Alex Ionescu wrote:
> Rafal Kupiec wrote:
>> 1) I may modify ReactOS Sources, what I did.
>> 2) I must inform, that I modified ReactOS Sources, so I wrote as: "Based
>> on ReactOS Technology". In GPL isn't any fragment that means that I must
>> write all authors of this file.
> First of all, "ReactOS Technology" is not a legal person that can
> reprsent copyright. A copyright is registered to a legal entitiy (such
> as a person, or company). You can't register a copyright to a
> "technology". So at the very least you should say "Based on work done by
> the ReactOS Foundation, (c) 2000-2005". Even if that were the case, I
> have not I have not submitted my work under the ReactOS Foundation, so I
> retain copyright. In that case you are misrepresenting the valid
> copyright owner...
If the license is GPL, and the statement that it is based on ReactOS
technology is made, what is the issue? The statement used doesn't imply
that "ReactOS Technology" is an entity that can represent Copyright, it
implies that it's based (derived from) ReactOS technology, which is
licensed under the GPL and thus open for modification without
restriction (save the restrictions present in the GPL).
The GPL requires any Copyrights that are in place to remain there. The
changed version must reflect the original. For example, if "Help -->
About" shows "ReactOS, Copyright (C) 2001-2005 The ReactOS Foundation,
Portions Copyright Alex Ionescu" or something similar, or a list, then
fine. A new release by someone else may change the "ReactOS Foundation"
part, but must still site it as a potential Copyright holder. However,
the new party that has rebundled it, owns the Copyright on the
distribution so long as it contains different things.
(Another aside: The Foundation can, at its discretion, create an
official "layout" for the installer CD and then Copyright that layout,
such that nobody else can use it. While it's possible, it can
effectively "cramp" the software and innovation surrounding it, and it's
not advisable. Others then must choose different "layouts" for their
installers of their derived works, and this would require heavy
modifications to installers and the like to find files in new locations.)
A little bit about Copyright Law, now. A developer holds copyright to
the portions of the code that (s)he contributed to the project, and that
is all. The group that is responsible for putting it together, then
owns the copyright on the layout, and so forth. So, if releases are the
Foundation's job, then whether they claim their Copyright or not, it is,
in fact, their Copyright. If someone other then the Foundation packages
it for the ReactOS web site, then *THEY* hold the Copyright, and they
can therefore claim that they are "the" Copyright holder for the
Official Distribution of the ReactOS project.
That does not exclude the developers to their Copyright, rather, it adds
And finally, please note the following section in the GPL:
"2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of
it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute
such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided
that you also meet all of these conditions:
" a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices
stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.
" b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part
thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties
under the terms of this License.
" c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively
when run, you must cause it, when started running for such interactive
use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an announcement
including an appropriate copyright notice and a notice that there is no
warranty (or else, saying that you provide a warranty) and that users
may redistribute the program under these conditions, and telling the
user how to view a copy of this License. (Exception: if the Program
itself is interactive but does not normally print such an announcement,
your work based on the Program is not required to print an announcement.)"
According to this, if the program prints notices, these notices must be
updated to reflect the state of the program. If the program does not
print such notices, the modifying party is not required to change them,
because they do not exist.
If there is something here that's a violation, then enforce it.
However, from what I can tell just waking up and seeing this in my
e-mail box, the author in question did even more then they had to do to
Michael B. Trausch fd0man at gmail.com
Web: http://fd0man.theunixplace.com/ Jabber: mtrausch at jabber.com
Phone: +1-(678)-522-7934 FAX (US Only): 1-866-806-4647
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