[linux-elitists] Feedback Argument

Mister Bad mr.bad@pigdog.org
Thu May 15 15:58:51 PDT 2003

So, I'm reading more stuff about the SCO doohickey, and I'm wondering
about the feedback argument.

This argument says that, OK, assume that some code from Unix got
into Linux. But, because SCO was a Linux distributor, they waived any
IP rights they had by redistributing the supposedly infringing
software under the GPL.

In other words:

   +----------------+  infringing
   | SCO      Unix ------------------> Linux kernel
   |                |     GPL             |
   |         Linux <----------------------+
   |           |    |     GPL
   |           +---------------------> World

In this scenario, the Unix code went out to the Linux kernel, came
back in as GPL'd source, and went out as GPL'd source and binaries.

It's obvious from the terms of the GPL that SCO grants Free use of
Linux to World of any modifications it made to Linux. But I'm not sure
I get why that would affect any infringing code that was in Linux when
SCO got it.

I guess the analogy would be picking the mailman's pocket and putting
his wallet in a package that you then send to your friend. Since the
mailman hands over the goods to you friend, he's lost his claim to the
wallet. Seems fishy to me.

Am I missing something here? Or does this argument lack merit?

~Mr. Bad

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