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Re: reiser4 non-free?

On Sat, 2004-05-08 at 11:56, Lewis Jardine wrote:
> 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?


The GPL doesn't pretend to regulate use. In fact, if I remember correctly
it explicitly excludes personal use from its aegis.

The GPL only comes into play when distribute. And I can't imagine we could
distribute proprietary NDIS drivers anyway. So if the user happens to get
hold of such, and uses it with GPL kernel, the user is acting legally
according to the GPL.


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