Re: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?

From: Karim Yaghmour
Date: Thu Dec 04 2003 - 01:23:24 EST

Hello Linus,

Linus Torvalds wrote:
Similarly, historically there was a much stronger argument for things like
AFS and some of the binary drivers (long forgotten now) for having been
developed totally independently of Linux: they literally were developed
before Linux even existed, by people who had zero knowledge of Linux. That
tends to strengthen the argument that they clearly aren't derived.

In contrast, these days it would be hard to argue that a new driver or
filesystem was developed without any thought of Linux. I think the NVidia
people can probably reasonably honestly say that the code they ported had
_no_ Linux origin. But quite frankly, I'd be less inclined to believe that
for some other projects out there..

Since the last time this was mentioned, I have been thinking that this
argument can really be read as an invitation to do just what's being
described: first implement a driver/module in a non-Linux OS (this may even
imply requiring that whoever works on the driver/module have NO Linux
experience whatsoever; yes there will always be candidates for this) and then
have this driver/module ported to Linux by Linux-aware developers.

Sure, one could argue about "intent", but that's going to be really
difficult, especially if the right-hand doesn't know what the left-hand
is doing. IOW, can't this position be abused as much as, if not more
than, publishing an "approved" set of characteristics for non-GPL modules?

Just thinking aloud,

Author, Speaker, Developer, Consultant
Pushing Embedded and Real-Time Linux Systems Beyond the Limits || karim@xxxxxxxxxxx || 514-812-4145

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