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Re: non-free firmware in kernel modules, aggregation and unclear copyright notice.

On Thu, Apr 14, 2005 at 11:43:09PM -0700, Ken Arromdee wrote:
> > > Hmmm. One can argue that the EXPORT_SYMBOL* are copyright
> > > grants, and as such can't be "freely edited", just like the
> > > comments as
> > >
> > > /* this module (C) 1999 Fulana Perez */
> > >
> > > that are in the code. Removing such comments *is* illegal, and
> > > editing EXPORTs can be, too...
> Wouldn't this, if true, make the GPL non-free?  Requiring someone to keep
> names of anything in the executabe affects compatibility; what if in 2010 the
> newest Microsoft Windows decides to check for EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL on all your
> software and shut itself down if it detects any?  Or suppose you have two
> programs that use the symbol in different ways and both are under GPL and
> you're not allowed to change the name used in either one?

Well, strictly speaking, software could check for the GPL blurb, which
you may be required to preserve due to GPL 2c.  (But, as far as I can tell,
these symbols are *not* "copyright grants" or "licenses" or "copyright
notices" of any kind, and claiming it's so doesn't make it so; one could
have a license restriction prohibiting their removal, perhaps, but that's
obviously GPL-incompatible and non-free.)

Glenn Maynard

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