Re: Kernel modul licensing issues

From: john smith
Date: Mon Dec 01 2003 - 05:59:49 EST

Hi Valdis

> You're probably "in the clear" if that's what's really going on, and
> can probably go a route similar to NVidia (GPL interface to a binary
> module).

I just had a quick look at the current version of nvidia's linux driver

The source code of the kernel front-end is _not_ GPL.

It provides both definition for the OS independent symbols used in the
binary object (!= kernel module) nv-kernel.o and the necessary linux
kernel module code (and of course it makes use of the API nv.h
provided by the binary object).

So, the nvidia kernel module consists of the binary object directly
linked to the objects compiled from the _non-GPL_ sources.

> The part I'm not having warm fuzzies about is that the only
> application that comes to mind that could take a char[] and be totally
> kernel-independent and that would make sense in the kernel rather than
> out in userspace is a crypto transform - and that's because closed
> source crypto is usually not taken seriously.

I totally agree with you and I can reassure you that the algorithm
has nothing to do with crypto.

> Of course, if you're not doing crypto, then you can apply the usual
> cost/benefit analysis of doing it closed source versus the payoff for
> an attacker to crack it....

Hm, not sure what you mean by "crack it". Maybe you mean that
it's possible to apply "binary analysis methods" against the implementation
provided in the binary and then reimplement the algorithm as open source?
Well, in that case we have to deal with it but that's not my job :)



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