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You mean routers?

You mean routers?

Posted Mar 10, 2011 1:14 UTC (Thu) by butlerm (guest, #13312)
In reply to: You mean routers? by khim
Parent article: Red Hat and the GPL

To claim that WiFi driver and GPLed kernel are "mere aggregation" in this case you must do a lot of squinting.

The problem is that the "one program" here isn't actually constructed (at best) until the router boots up, and then only in ram. So you have a proprietary driver that implements some sort of API - it doesn't even have to be the Linux API, but even if it was there is nothing stopping someone else from implementing a compatible API support.

So you look at this driver, on the same flash filesystem or whatever, and there is no reliable way to determine whether it is part of a "mere aggregation" or not, because there is no reliable definition of "mere aggregation" that includes other proprietary software in the device while excluding something that just happens to implement a compatible API. That means, as I said, that the only reliable way to do this is to make the license prohibit all joint distribution of GPL and proprietary software on the same media or on the same device, period. If the FSF is not willing to be so purist as that, it is hard to see how they are going to be successful grasping at metaphysical straws trying to decide what proprietary software can be included in a device and what can't.

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