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GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 21:28 UTC (Wed) by proski (subscriber, #104)
In reply to: GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper by josh_stern
Parent article: GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

I don't see any references to LGPL in ndiswrapper code.


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GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 22:39 UTC (Wed) by josh_stern (guest, #4868) [Link]

I'm saying that ndiswrapper is really an LGPL concept covertly hiding in GPL clothing. It depends on the ability to link with proprietary stuff in order to do what it is intended to do.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 25, 2006 23:53 UTC (Wed) by sfeam (subscriber, #2841) [Link]

Please see above.
There is no difference between the GPL and the LGPL except for a promise not to argue. ndiswrapper is not LGPL, so we are inflicted with the argument.

The GPL/LGPL does not prohibit linking to non-GPL code. It only restricts, potentially, the distribution of such a combination. That is not the issue here. Rather we are concerned about end use, which is outside the purview of the GPL. Some people may also be opposed to the end use, but they must find some mechanism other than a claim of GPL infrigement to exercise that opposition.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 1:29 UTC (Thu) by josh_stern (guest, #4868) [Link]

It is understood that it is not technically a license violation to distribute ndiswrapper. But the discussion here is not about legal technicalities but rather about whether it was appropriate behavior for the kernel developers to redefine their policy wrt ndiswrapper and EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL. From my point of view, the new policy is understandable as something designed to better support the intentions of the developers who wanted the use of their code restricted (note - it wouldn't be surprising if Linus accepted later patches introducing different implementations without those restrictions, but that's not really the point). So the discussion about appropriateness should center on whether it was a good idea to respect the intentions of those developers at the expense of user inconvenience.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 13:19 UTC (Thu) by jschrod (subscriber, #1646) [Link]

Ah, in the GPLv3 it is bad that end use is restricted.

But with ndiswrapper, it's good.

This is a perfect example of hypocrisy from the kernel developers, that's all.

Joachim

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 14:48 UTC (Thu) by cventers (guest, #31465) [Link]

> Ah, in the GPLv3 it is bad that end use is restricted.

Actually, despite what the kernel developers might tell you, GPLv3 does
no such thing. It's still just a copyright license. You don't even have
to accept it to use the covered work!

> But with ndiswrapper, it's good.

Shouldn't be IMO, but I don't make these decisions for Linux.

> This is a perfect example of hypocrisy from the kernel developers,
> that's all.

Sadly, indeed.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Nov 3, 2006 0:40 UTC (Fri) by jschrod (subscriber, #1646) [Link]

For my argument, it doesn't matter if the GPLv3 restricts end use or not.

It matters that that the kernel developers argue against GPLv3 because they think it restricts end use and they cannot tolerate such restrictions. But then they restrict end use themselves in the case of ndiswrapper. This inconsistent behavior is hypocrisy, independent of the legal facts.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Nov 3, 2006 1:17 UTC (Fri) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

As reported on this very site, that was an accident. No hypocrisy here.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Nov 3, 2006 1:44 UTC (Fri) by jschrod (subscriber, #1646) [Link]

Please click on the link in your post, then click on "Thread", and then read the comments of Alan Cox, Adrian Bunk, and others. Also Arjan van de Ven to some extent (he wants to patch it now, but doesn't acknowledge the USB problem). Please note as well that the thread states that the kernel developers think seriously about reintroducing the problem in 6 months again, just to give ndiswrapper developers and users more time to plan some action until then. (Well, but what action? Maybe installing Windows because Linux won't support their exotic USB hardware any more? 0.5 ;-) )

I didn't want to imply that all kernel developers have the opinion that ndiswrapper is illegal, but important and well known people have, as shown in the thread from your link.

Btw, I don't even use ndiswrapper myself. So my opinion is not connected to any influence on my own usage of Linux. It is a general observation about a behavior of kernel developers that I don't understand.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 3:18 UTC (Thu) by interalia (subscriber, #26615) [Link]

It depends on the ability to link with proprietary stuff in order to do what it is intended to do.

This same assertion about ndiswrapper happened on the Debian mailing lists, regarding whether it was non-free. Some people argued that nothing prevented you using ndiswrapper to load a GPL-licensed Windows driver, were such a beast to exist. Since ndiswrapper's own license doesn't preclude the loading of a GPL (or otherwise DFSG-free) driver, it didn't therefore deserve to be in non-free. Or, indeed, you might be writing Windows drivers and want to try loading them in ndiswrapper.

This was a contentious point, and although I personally feel the logic makes sense, others felt the practical reality that there is currently no free driver overruled this and consigned ndiswrapper to non-free. I seem to recall a slim majority holding to that latter viewpoint, though the maintainer himself felt it was suitable for main and no-one requested Debian's Technical Committee override his decision.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 3:44 UTC (Thu) by josh_stern (guest, #4868) [Link]

Personally, I would have supported the decision that Debian made and I would also support people who wanted to remove GPL-only symbols from the kernel. Here I'm just saying that I also support the decision of other kernel developers not to allow unintended workarounds for using GPL-only symbol code once they've already accepted that way of doing things.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 26, 2006 10:47 UTC (Thu) by syntaxis (subscriber, #18897) [Link]

Currently ndiswrapper is in Debian main, not non-free. http://packages.debian.org/cgi-bin/search_packages.pl?searchon=sourcenames\ &version=all&exact=1&keywords=ndiswrapper

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 27, 2006 2:12 UTC (Fri) by interalia (subscriber, #26615) [Link]

<blockquote>Currently ndiswrapper is in Debian main</blockquote>

Yes, that's what I said :) I probably wasn't very clear, but I said the maintainer felt it was OK for main and no-one tried to override his decision, implying that the maintainer's decision held.

GPL-only symbols and ndiswrapper

Posted Oct 31, 2006 4:45 UTC (Tue) by proski (subscriber, #104) [Link]

I believe you misunderstood the discussion. I don't think moving ndiswrapper to non-free was even considered. It was discussed whether to put ndiswrapper to contrib. Software in contrib is required to follow the DFSG, but it's allowed to depend on non-free software. In other words, nobody challenged the notion that ndiswrapper was free software per se.

All "linking" is happening in the kernel memory on the end user system. There is no such thing as ndiswrapper "linked" to a non-free driver for the purpose of distribution.


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