GPL Issue and the linux kernel

Alex Hudson home at
Tue Feb 25 10:12:48 UTC 2003

On Tue, Feb 25, 2003 at 10:03:28AM +0100, Jerome Alet wrote:
> If they distributed the binary of a GPLed software to you, then you 
> can ask them for the source which they *must* give you (eventually for 
> a fee to cover physical reproduction costs) to comply with the terms
> of the GNU GPL. If they refuse then they must stop from distributing
> the binary.

I agree - I don't think they have a leg to stand on in that respect.

> However IIRC Linus, in his great wisdom :-((, chose to allow 
> proprietary "modules" in the Linux kernel

I don't think that's the case. There are obviously problems with the Linux
licence - the version 2 only thing, for example - but there isn't anything
which says you can link proprietary modules with the kernel.

He did say that he thought it would be possible to write a module that
was not derived from the kernel, and therefore it's likely that it a) 
wouldn't infringe itself, and b) wouldn't infringe by contribution - I 
think in the case of nVidia drivers, etc., that might well be the case.
I can't say that I think it would be common, though.




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