NDISwrapper dodges another bullet
Posted Mar 5, 2008 18:40 UTC (Wed) by JoeBuck
Parent article: NDISwrapper dodges another bullet
If the official kernel were to accept a patch that would prevent ndiswrapper from accessing some symbols, nothing would stop a distributor from reverting the patch, as GPLv2 gives distributors the freedom to make modifications.
Linus is right that the GPL (any version, or any copyright-based license for that matter) applies only to derived works, so ndiswrapper isn't breaking any rules. Where it gets iffy is when a downstream distributor or hardware seller provides a customer with Linux plus ndiswrapper plus a Windows driver; the combination is a derivative work even if the Windows driver piece isn't, so a strict interpretation would say that this isn't kosher. On the other hand, the whole GPL-only symbols mechanism, the long existence of proprietary drivers, etc. implies that the real license to Linux is GPL with fuzzy exceptions for modules.
So distributors who want their customers to use ndiswrapper probably need to have their end-users load the Windows driver on their own to stay in the clear.
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