The Linux kernel is unambiguously licensed under GPL version 2.0.
Posted May 25, 2006 2:22 UTC (Thu) by xoddam
In reply to: The Linux kernel is unambiguously licensed under GPL version 2.0.
Parent article: Kororaa and the GPL - Update 1
Hmmm. The whole subject of whether using macros & inline functions from
a work constitutes incorporating portions of it is a big grey area. FWIW
my opinion is that a .c file which uses APIs is not a derivative work (at
least not for that reason) -- whether it's only a symbol declaration (and
function prototype), or a macro or inline function, is an implementation
detail. The .o file built from the .c and .h files *obviously*
incorporates parts of both works though -- though as you say, fair use
rules might apply in jurisdictions lucky enough to have such a doctrine.
I do not think the "GPL only" APIs change the gist of this discussion at
all: they imply an added condition to the licence for the kernel that
these APIs not be used by non-GPL modules, but that exception, like the
rest of the conditions in the licence, only comes into play where the act
of copying and distributing does.
But neither question is actually relevant to the NVIDIA and ATI display
driver modules. Those drivers do not use Linux kernel APIs directly, but
only via a 'shim', which is (a) GPL licenced, at least in letter (though
the final .ko which is insmodded can't technically be considered GPL),
and (b) doesn't use GPL-only kernel APIs anyway.
The GPL violation Kororaa is alleged to have made is nothing to do with
including bits of kernel headers into shim objects which are then linked
to binary-only non-free modules.
The question is whether providing a GPL'd kernel binary and a non-free
module together on the same bootable medium with the clear intention of
linking them together as soon as the system is booted (thus producing a
non-free and nondistributable kernel 'in core') is equivalent to
*distributing* a non-free kernel binary, which would *clearly* violate
I do feel I'm repeating myself... does anyone actually disagree?
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