RE: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?
From: Gerhard Mack
Date: Fri Dec 05 2003 - 12:36:11 EST
Those views are scary when you consider that webmaster Inc sells closed
source software that works exactly like IRC (wich is GPL)
On Thu, 4 Dec 2003, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 22:58:09 -0800 (PST)
> From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@xxxxxxxx>
> To: David Schwartz <davids@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Cc: Valdis.Kletnieks@xxxxxx, Peter Chubb <peter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>,
> Subject: RE: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?
> On Thu, 4 Dec 2003, David Schwartz wrote:
> > The GPL gives you the unrestricted right to *use* the original work.
> > This implicitly includes the right to peform any step necessary to use
> > the work.
> No it doesn't.
> Your logic is fundamentally flawed, and/or your reading skills are
> The GPL expressly states that the license does not restrict the act of
> "running the Program" in any way, and yes, in that sense you may "use" the
> program in whatever way you want.
> But that "use" is clearly limited to running the resultant program. It
> very much does NOT say that you can "use the header files in any way you
> want, including building non-GPL'd programs with them".
> In fact, it very much says the reverse. If you use the source code to
> build a new program, the GPL _explicitly_ says that that new program has
> to be GPL'd too.
> > Please tell me how you use a kernel header file, other than by including
> > it in a code file, compiling that code file, and executing the result.
> You are a weasel, and you are trying to make the world look the way you
> want it to, rather than the way it _is_.
> You use the word "use" in a sense that is not compatible with the GPL. You
> claim that the GPL says that you can "use the program any way you want",
> but that is simply not accurate or even _close_ to accurate. Go back and
> read the GPL again. It says:
> "The act of running the Program is not restricted"
> and it very much does NOT say
> "The act of using parts of the source code of the Program is not
> In short: you do _NOT_ have the right to use a kernel header file (or any
> other part of the kernel sources), unless that use results in a GPL'd
> What you _do_ have the right is to _run_ the kernel any way you please
> (this is the part you would like to redefine as "use the source code",
> but that definition simply isn't allowed by the license, however much you
> protest to the contrary).
> So you can run the kernel and create non-GPL'd programs while running it
> to your hearts content. You can use it to control a nuclear submarine, and
> that's totally outside the scope of the license (but if you do, please
> note that the license does not imply any kind of warranty or similar).
> BUT YOU CAN NOT USE THE KERNEL HEADER FILES TO CREATE NON-GPL'D BINARIES.
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<>< As a computer I find your faith in technology amusing.
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