[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: reiser4 non-free?

Richard Stallman wrote:
> On Thu, 06 May 2004 16:56:23 -0300, Humberto Massa said:
> It's the same case as Windows NDIS drivers loading on linux. They were > created in a different environment, and would exist as they are even if > linux did not exist. Provided GPL'd glue code, you can load them in the > linux kernel, and they are _not_ derivative works.

The idea that "glue code" makes it ok to combine GPL-covered code with
non-free code has no basis in the GPL.  The GPL applies to the entire
combination of code that is combined into a larger program.  If a.o is
under the GPL and talks to b.o which talks to c.o, the GPL covers all
three files, if all three are combined as one program.

Linus has implicitly and sometimes explicitly given permission for
some kinds of non-free dynamically loaded modules; perhaps the concept
of "glue code" is relevant in terms of the permission he has given.
I'm not the one to ask about that kind of issue.

But presumably only if you modify a.o, or distribute a.o, b.o and c.o together?

NDIS is a static interface, so if kernel+NDIS glue code (a.o and b.o) were distributed under the GPL, and the NDIS driver(s) were distributed separately, would it not be perfectly legal for the user to use a.o and b.o together to load a proprietary NDIS driver? It's my understanding that the GPL does not apply, as the work is being neither modified or distributed? The NDIS driver is not a derived work of either a.o or b.o, as it was originally written for windows/dos, and has nothing to do with the kernel.

Presumably this situation changes if the proprietary code implements some interface peculiar to a.o or b.o, as it then becomes a derived work of a.o or b.o .

Do I understand this correctly?

Lewis Jardine

Reply to: