OT: GPL Question
andy at warmcat.com
Wed Jun 15 15:35:40 UTC 2005
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Les Mikesell wrote:
|>Same goes for if you insert a
|>proprietary kernel module into Linux - the GPL does not leak through the
|>module API and into your sources, which can remain private if you choose.
| Don't count on that. See:
| and realize that there are good reasons that so few vendors that can't
| release source bother with a Linux module. It will be interesting to
| see how this works out with OpenSolaris.
''Does that mean that any kernel module is automatically not a derived
work? HELL NO! It has nothing to do with modules per se, except that
non-modules clearly are derived works (if they are so central to the
kenrel that you can't load them as a module, they are clearly derived
works just by virtue of being very intimate - and because the GPL
expressly mentions linking).
So being a module is not a sign of not being a derived work. It's just
one sign that _maybe_ it might have other arguments for why it isn't
Thanks for that, Les, it's very interesting.
nVidia clearly feel their driver is not a derived work of the Linux kernel.
''I personally believe that some modules may be considered to not be
derived works simply because they weren't designed for Linux and don't
depend on any special Linux behaviour.''
Not sure what he means by this (nVidia?), but it sounds like it may be
an umbrella that can be extended to cover most hardware drivers that
want to be proprietary, since they exist to work the proprietary
hardware and "don't depend on any special Linux behaviour".
In many cases one can design a thin kernelmode driver that does all of
its real work in the Linus-anointed GPL-free userspace anyway.
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