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Re: [PATCH] Keys: Export user-defined keyring operations

From:  Linus Torvalds <>
To:  David Woodhouse <>
Subject:  Re: [PATCH] Keys: Export user-defined keyring operations
Date:  Wed, 5 Oct 2005 07:50:25 -0700 (PDT)
Cc:  Arjan van de Ven <>, David Howells <>,, Michael C Thompson <>,,
Archive-link:  Article, Thread

On Wed, 5 Oct 2005, David Woodhouse wrote:
> What's the point? There can be no difference between the meaning of

I've talked to a lawyer or two, and (a) there's an absolutely _huge_ 
difference and (b) they liked it.

The fact is, the law isn't a blind and mindless computer that takes what 
you say literally. Intent matters a LOT. And using the xxx_GPL() version 
to show that it's an internal interface is very meaningful indeed.

One of the lawyers said that it was a much better approach than trying to 
make the license explain all the details - codifying the intention in the 
code itself is not only more flexible, but a lot less likely to be 

I think both them said that anybody who were to change a xyz_GPL to the 
non-GPL one in order to use it with a non-GPL module would almost 
immediately fall under the "willful infringement" thing, and that it would 
make it MUCH easier to get triple damages and/or injunctions, since they 
clearly knew about it.

I suspect programmers make horrible lawyers. They nitpick on details that 
sane humans don't. I think programmers often end up forgetting about the 
fact that human interactions don't work that way. Common sense makes a lot 
of difference, and DWIM is not just possible, but it's the only thing that 


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