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[Xen-devel] Re: [Xen-users] old RHEL3 domu kernel download

On Tue, 2011-09-27 at 07:39 +0100, Pasi Kärkkäinen wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 27, 2011 at 04:52:51PM +1300, Peter wrote:
> > On 27/09/11 08:04, Pasi Kärkkäinen wrote:
> > >> On Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 2:05 AM, Peter <peter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > >>> I need to port over an old RHEL3 box to a xen domU (just for a little
> > >>> while until I can transfer all of its services over to a new domain).  I
> > >>> was hoping to get a domU supported kernel so I can run it as a PV guest
> > >>> and found this page:
> > >>>
> > >>> http://xen.org/download/dl_304guest_rhel3.html
> > >>>
> > >>> ...but the links to the actual kernels come up with 404 errors.  Anyone
> > >>> know where I can get this kernel from?
> > > 
> > > The url mentioned above had Xen PV enabled Linux 2.4 kernel for RHEL3 
> > > (based on the actual RHEL3 kernel)
> > > It was developed by Xensource, back in the days.
> > > 
> > > It was removed because it had some known bugs, and it is unmaintained.
> > 
> > I think this is actually a violation of the GPL.  It was distributed so
> > at least the source code has to remain available.

I think you need to reread the GPL before making such serious claims.
There is no such requirement that "source code has to remain available".
There are some clauses which sound superficially like such a requirement
but they are time limited and in any case do not apply in every case of
distribution of a work since there are other alternatives allowed by the

> No it's not really a GPL violation. When the binary was still available, 
> also the sources were available.

Correct. These binary RPMs were always accompanied by the corresponding
source RPM and therefore clause 3(a) of the GPL is satisfied:
    a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
    source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
    1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

> People who only downloaded the binaries back then could always request 
> the source by written notice, as required by GPL.

That is clause 3(b):
    b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
    years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
    cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
    machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
    distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
    customarily used for software interchange; or,

AFAIK there was no explicit written offer given with these kernels so
strictly speaking this clause is not active.

Note that the sub-clauses of section 3 are _alternatives_ which may be
selected by the distributor and since option 3(a) is satisfied this is
not a GPL violation.

> .. that's not very nice or practical though. 

Well, if clause 3(b) had been in effect it would have been their right
though, regardless of the practicalities.

> I think the reason why the rhel3 pv kernel downloads were removed 
> was because the kernel was so buggy and it's better if noone uses them.

Agreed. Given the presence of supported by Red Hat PV drivers for RHEL3
HVM guests I would strongly recommend using those and not the
unsupported kernels that used to be on xenbits. If nothing else then the
fact that they haven't been updated for ~4 years (i.e. lack security
updates over that period) should be enough to put most people off.


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