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--- Comment #21 from Tom "spot" Callaway <tcallawa(a)redhat.com> 2009-03-06
08:42:47 EDT ---
(In reply to comment #18)
Say there exists a source code file within pjp's
djbdns-1.05.1.tar.gz that is
identical to version in DJB's djbdns-1.05.tar.gz available at
. Are you saying that if that file is
obtained from pjp's djbdns-1.05.1.tar.gz, the terms of the GPL apply if that
file, and only that file, are incorporated in a further derived work?
This is generally how the GPL works.
If you take file A, which is under Public Domain (all rights granted to
everyone) and file B, which is under some version of the GPL, and you compile
them together to generate binary C, binary C is under the terms of the GPL,
because the GPL is by far the more restrictive license, and the terms of file A
are all being met by it.
The same is true if file A is under a permissive license, such as MIT or BSD,
because the GPL's coverage meets those terms.
This is precisely why the FSF (and Fedora) tracks GPL compatiblity on other
With some license pairings, this can get even trickier, because it may be
possible for file A and file B to have licenses which have differing grants and
restrictions, which, while neither prevents the other from being honored,
results in the need to honor the terms of both A and B simultaneously
(technically, we're always doing this, but when one covers both, we simplify it
to one). In those cases, we note it in the spec file with a:
License: Foo and Bar
We also use that notation in cases like this:
File A is MIT. It is compiled by itself into a standalone binary.
File B, C, D, E, and F are all GPL. They get compiled together into a
standalone binary. Both binaries end up in the same package. In this case, the
spec License tag would be "MIT and GPL".
> As to removing DJB's copyright notice, DJB did that. It
would be nice to
> reference his message in which he took that action.
DJB did not make this tarball available:
No, but I'm pretty sure the latest release for all of his code drops took out
the copyright statement. He has also issued blanket
DJB clearly understands US Public Domain law, as can be seen here:
"The normal way to abandon a copyright is to make a clear written dedication of
the work to the public domain."
He then does exactly this, here:
"What are the distribution terms for djbdns?
2007.12.28: I hereby place the djbdns package (in particular,
djbdns-1.05.tar.gz, with MD5 checksum 3147c5cd56832aa3b41955c7a51cbeb2) into
the public domain. The package is no longer copyrighted."
Thus, there is no need to retain his copyright statement, as it clearly no
longer applies. To re-add it would be incorrect and misleading.
Otherwise, I think somebody could get the idea that DJB released
the GPL, which is not the case.
Given that he has abandoned copyright entirely, he no longer has any say in
what anyone does with it.
Also, if the License is intended to be GPLv2+,
should COPYING really include v3?
No, but upstream should correct that mistake.
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