Re: Is it OK to release non-GPL network driver with source?

From: Linus Torvalds (
Date: Thu Sep 07 2000 - 16:59:20 EST

In article <>,
Dave Allen <> wrote:
>My company is currently working on a linux network driver (I'm sorry,
>but I can't disclose which company or the nature of the driver right
>now). However, recent discussions on this list have made me grow
>concerned about licensing problems with the GPL.
>The source code for the driver _is_ going to be available, but it will
>not be GPL'd.

Note that whenever it's not GPL'd, all the module restrictions kick in.
So it's going to be "legal" the same way any binary only module is
"legal" - assuming all the nasty requirements are met. For something as
simple (from a conceptual standpoint, not necessarily an implementation
standpoint) as a network driver, doing that is not likely to be a big

It obviously cannot be linked into the kernel, but as a loadable module
it's ok as long as it uses the standard interfaces and nothing more.

And sure, having source available might make it easier for people to
help you: it can't become part of the standard kernel, and as such it
will never be supported, but that's true of binary-only modules too.

I wouldn't recommend it, but I don't see that it would be an
insurmountable problem.

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