article on GPLv3, Linux kernel, and Devices Rigged to Malfunction

Mark Brown broonie at
Mon Oct 23 11:50:02 UTC 2006

On Mon, Oct 23, 2006 at 11:26:47AM +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> On Mon, 2006-10-23 at 08:44 +1000, Ben Finney wrote:

> > Greg Kroah-Hartman, at least, is talking about the presumed illegality
> > of non-free drivers in Linux at every opportunity. (Why he's not
> > chosen to take legal action against infringers, I'm not sure.)

> And it's not like he's the only one. But there are only a couple of
> developers taking action over the GPL, and usually over the grossest
> infringement (e.g., distribution without source).

There's also things like EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL, kernel tainting when
proprietary modules are loaded and an advertised (and regularly used)
lack of stability in internal kernel APIs.

> Because of that, there will always be ways around the restrictions of
> the GPL. The anti-Tivo-isation clause is actually incredibly limited: I
> have no doubt it wouldn't prevent Tivo _at all_. For one, it applies
> only to source code, and only talks of a couple of specific
> technologies: basically, unless the binary encodes a secret key (e.g.,
> DVD CSS) or is digitally signed (I don't know of anyone doing this -
> maybe Xbox?), it doesn't apply.

Requiring signed binaries is exactly what TiVo are doing.

"You grabbed my hand and we fell into it, like a daydream - or a fever."

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