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Re: Does GPL allow that? (not theorhetical)


There's been a lenghty (but in my opinion more fruitful) discussion of
similar matters on the Linux kernel mailing list.  We all know that FSF
might be sometimes seen as interpreting its licenses very strictly, but
we also know that OTOH Linus has much more permissive approach.

Yet, if you follow the link below you'll see Linus reply to somebody
trying to impose his own interpretation of GPL for something
functionally identical to what we're discussing here.

The guy claimed that usage of kernel headers (which define kernel
interfface) to create binaries does not create a derivative work
of GPLed kernel.  [the only java-specific thing here is that in .java
the role of headers, ie. definition of interfaces can be fulfilled
either by full .java sources or compiled .class files]

The full email can be found at:


And here are some fragments:

The GPL expressly states that the license does not restrict the act of 
"running the Program" in any way, and yes, in that sense you may "use"
the program in whatever way you want. 

But that "use" is clearly limited to running the resultant program. It 
very much does NOT say that you can "use the header files in any way
you want, including building non-GPL'd programs with them". 

In fact, it very much says the reverse. If you use the source code to 
build a new program, the GPL _explicitly_ says that that new program
has to be GPL'd too.

In short: you do _NOT_ have the right to use a kernel header file (or
any other part of the kernel sources), unless that use results in a
GPL'd program.

Grzegorz B. Prokopski           <gadek@sablevm.org>
SableVM - Free, LGPL'ed Java VM  http://sablevm.org
Why SableVM ?!?                  http://sablevm.org/wiki/Features
Debian GNU/Linux - the Free OS   http://www.debian.org

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