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Re: changing upstream's MODULE_LICENSE string in module source

On Fri, 24 Feb 2006, Eduard Bloch wrote:

> The drivers do not load. They compile fine, but they do not load
> because some kernel developers think that they must throw stones
> into way of users (for whose sake?!).
> I have set the MODULE_LICENSE string to "Dual BSD/GPL" because I
> honestly think that this is appropriate in this case. And after all:
> I did not change the license, I changed one line in the source, so
> the Subject was incorrect.

It seems clear that the license in the source is BSD, with the
exception of patches/alsa-linux-2.6.0.patch and
ungrab-winmodem/ungrab-winmodem.c which are GPLed.

From this, it seems that claiming that it's dual licensed under the
BSD and GPL seems improper, it should be something like BSD+GPL or
similar. [I have no idea how to express this in the MODULE_LICENSE
format, but whatever is closest is probably the right way forward.]

Next, the presence of the binary blobs, if they're actually needed,
preclued this work from being compatible with the GPL. If we assume
that the combination of this work with a GPL forms a derived work
based on the GPLed one, that should preclude the casual linking of the
work with the kernel. (Obviously, these binary blobs don't cause any
problem with the BSD part of the module.)

If these binary blobs aren't actually needed, then it would probably
be ideal to expunge them from the tarball so that this work can be
distributed in main instead of non-free.

Finally, it appears that we do not have permission to distribute the
Makefile in this module, which is probably more damaging than the

#       Makefile  --  modem Makefile.
#       Copyright(c) 2003, Smart Link Ltd. (www.smlink.com)
#       All rights reserved.
#       Author: Sasha K (sashak@smlink.com)

[Unless it seems clear that the COPYING file was meant to cover this
also... but since they've labeled all the other files properly, that
seems to be a bit more difficult of a case to make.]

As a parting note, it's unclear to me if the MODULE_LICENSE actually
matters as far as the presumed license state of the code goes. It's
clearly not a valid copyright statement, licensing statment, or a
modification of one, so I don't see why you couldn't just put
MODULE_LICENSE("jelly donut"), chagrin of kernel contributors

Don Armstrong

It has always been Debian's philosophy in the past to stick to what
makes sense, regardless of what crack the rest of the universe is
 -- Andrew Suffield in 20030403211305.GD29698@doc.ic.ac.uk

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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