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Re: GPL, yet again. (The kernel is a lot like a shared library)

On Wed, Sep 07, 2005 at 04:08:51PM -0700, Mark Rafn wrote:
> On Wed, 7 Sep 2005, Joe Smith wrote:
> >It is generally belived that the GPL 'derivative' clauses may actually be 
> >upheld in the case of static libraries. The fact that linking the .o's of 
> >the library directly with your program is equivelent to linking the 
> >library with the object files of your program, seems to verify this.
> >
> >The question still debated is whether Shared libraries are like this also.
> I haven't heard it debated very hotly in recent memory.  General 
> acceptance seems to be that it applies equally to static and dynamic 
> linking.  Dynamic linking DOES open up the possibility of distributing the 
> using code and not distributing the library itself.  The combination of 
> the two may be un-distributable, however.

Notice that the important thing here is not wheter the files are linked
together and how, but wheter the combined work of them results in a derivative
work, the way things are linked is only a technical detail of it, and the
barrer to derivative works is a well defined interface between them or
something such.

> >The linux kernel 'copying' file states this:
> >  NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
> >  services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use
> >  of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
> >If that statement is true and if it does not qualify as a licence 
> >exception, then the following argument would hold:
> I think this is a license exception (or at least a clarification that 
> applies specifically to this work).  It is not a statement about 
> GPL-licensed work in general.

To quote RMS (this morning on the OpenSolaris list :

  The user programs link with libc but not directly with the kernel.
  People generally consider the kernel and libc not to be one combined
  program, so the GPL will not have effects across that boundary.


Sven LUther

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