viral license free fork of freebsd

Aryeh Friedman aryeh.friedman at
Fri Oct 5 04:04:13 PDT 2007

Thanks for not telling me anything I haven't known

On 10/5/07, David Schwartz <davids at> wrote:
> > I am intrested in putting together a version of FreeBSD (at least the
> > non-ports portion) that is 100% viral license (gpl and lgpl [not
> > techinically viral but I don't trust it]) free... where would be a
> > good starting point on this project?
> The short answer is that you simply cannot do this. You cannot set the
> licensing terms on code you did not write without a written relicensing
> agreement from the original author, which you don't have. This is the law in
> the United States and it's probably impossible for this or other reasons
> elsewhere.
> If you merely distribute FreeBSD, you obtain *your* license to distribute
> from the BSD license. However, you have no role whatsoever in the license
> the recipients you distribute to get from the original authors (other than
> making them lawful possessors of the code). And they don't need any license
> to simply own the code or to use it. If they wish to modify it or distribute
> it themselves, then they obtain whatever license each original author offers
> from that author directly. You are not a *licensing* intermediary.
> You can certainly make modifications and contributions of your own and offer
> them under any license you would like. But you cannot change the fact that
> the original authors of all the pieces you are taking has offered them to
> anyone who possesses them under a BSD license. Recipients still get those
> BSD licenses and the BSD license prohibits you from removing the
> notification that they do. (Though you can certainly add your own
> notification that some parts are not offered under the BSD license.)
> I'd prefer not to pollute even the chat list with this, so if there's
> anything you don't understand or that isn't clear, feel free to email me
> personally first. If you still think I'm wrong after you hear my response,
> then post to the list. There's just too much misinformation out there
> already and this has been patiently explained dozens of times.
> DS
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