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Re: kernel driver module with proprietary closed source piece.

On Wed, Nov 06, 2002 at 04:43:47PM +0000, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> Sven Luther <luther@dpt-info.u-strasbg.fr>:
> > Wemm, but the driver minus the user space thingy is GPLed, and can be
> > distributed with a standard kernel, and there is no breach of the GPL as
> > long as nobody use it, right ?
> > 
> > The same thing would apply if you simply moved the proprietary part into
> > a separate kernel module, with just minimal API or something such, isn't
> > it ? 
> I think there is general consensus that splitting stuff into separate
> components, distributed separately, is not a valid way of bypassing
> the GPL. If you distribute stuff whose only plausible purpose is to

Well, if it is separated and there is a public api that the proprietary
part uses, then i guess everyone could write their own free replacement,
could they not ? it is just that nobody has done so yet.

Also, if the proprietary part was separated, then i guess the it would
be easier for the GPLed part to go into the kernel, and only ship the
userland part with the board or something such.

> end up on someone's system as part of a program containing both GPL
> and GPL-incompatible parts, then you are infringing the copyright of
> the authors of the GPL parts (unless they gave you some additional
> permission).
> The distribution of GPL-incompatible kernel modules is possible
> because modules that communicate via the standard module interface are
> not considered to be part of the kernel, I think.

Erm, so it would be ok for Bewan to distribute the free part under the
GPL together with the proprietary part ? I think they still need an
exception or something such.

Would a BSD style licence be better in this case ?


Sven Luther

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