Home Open Source Linux code contributions cannot be rescinded: Stallman
Free Software Foundation chief Richard Stallman. Free Software Foundation chief Richard Stallman. Sam Varghese Featured

Linux developers who contribute code to the kernel cannot rescind those contributions, according to the software programmer who devised the GNU General Public Licence version 2.0, the licence under which the kernel is released.

Richard Stallman, the head of the Free Software Foundation and founder of the GNU Project, told iTWire in response to queries that contributors to a GPLv2-covered program could not ask for their code to be removed.

"That's because they are bound by the GPLv2 themselves. I checked this with a lawyer," said Stallman, who started the free software movement in 1984.

There have been claims made by many people, including journalists, that if any kernel developers are penalised under the new code of conduct for the kernel project — which was put in place when Linux creator Linus Torvalds decided to take a break to fix his behavioural issues — then they would ask for their code to be removed from the kernel.

Some had even gone so far as to wrongly interpret messages on mailing lists in order to make these claims in articles with headings like, "Linux devs threaten to pull contributions" when nothing of the sort has taken place. [The headline has now been changed, though the time and date of publication remain the same. A screenshot of the original is below.]

threten

Stallman asked: "But what if they could? What would they achieve by doing so? They would cause harm to the whole free software community.

"The anonymous person who suggests that Linux contributors do this is urging them to set off nuclear weapons in pique over an internal matter of the development team for Linux. What a shame that would be."

A guide on copyleft by the Software Freedom Conservancy, an organisation that helps promote, develop improve and defend free and open source software, makes some salient points about the irrevocability of the GPLv2.

A link provided to this guide by Linux Weekly News, says in part: "Thus, anyone downstream of the contributor (which is anyone using the contributor’s code), has an irrevocable licence from the contributor. A contributor may claim to revoke their grant, and subsequently sue for copyright infringement, but a court would likely find the revocation was ineffective and the downstream user had a valid license defence to a claim of infringement.

"Nevertheless, for purposes of argument, we will assume that for some reason the GPLv2 is not enforceable against the contributor, or that the irrevocable license can be revoked. In that case, the application of promissory estoppel will likely mean that the contributor still cannot enforce their copyright against downstream users."

47 REASONS TO ATTEND YOW! 2018

With 4 keynotes + 33 talks + 10 in-depth workshops from world-class speakers, YOW! is your chance to learn more about the latest software trends, practices and technologies and interact with many of the people who created them.

Speakers this year include Anita Sengupta (Rocket Scientist and Sr. VP Engineering at Hyperloop One), Brendan Gregg (Sr. Performance Architect Netflix), Jessica Kerr (Developer, Speaker, Writer and Lead Engineer at Atomist) and Kent Beck (Author Extreme Programming, Test Driven Development).

YOW! 2018 is a great place to network with the best and brightest software developers in Australia. You’ll be amazed by the great ideas (and perhaps great talent) you’ll take back to the office!

Register now for YOW! Conference

· Sydney 29-30 November
· Brisbane 3-4 December
· Melbourne 6-7 December

Register now for YOW! Workshops

· Sydney 27-28 November
· Melbourne 4-5 December

REGISTER NOW!

LEARN HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK OF A CYBER ATTACK

Australia is a cyber espionage hot spot.

As we automate, script and move to the cloud, more and more businesses are reliant on infrastructure that has the high potential to be exposed to risk.

It only takes one awry email to expose an accounts’ payable process, and for cyber attackers to cost a business thousands of dollars.

In the free white paper ‘6 Steps to Improve your Business Cyber Security’ you’ll learn some simple steps you should be taking to prevent devastating and malicious cyber attacks from destroying your business.

Cyber security can no longer be ignored, in this white paper you’ll learn:

· How does business security get breached?
· What can it cost to get it wrong?
· 6 actionable tips

DOWNLOAD NOW!

Sam Varghese

website statistics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

Popular News

 

Telecommunications

 

Sponsored News

 

 

 

 

Connect