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

Alex Hudson home at
Mon Oct 23 13:19:49 UTC 2006

On Mon, 2006-10-23 at 12:50 +0100, Mark Brown wrote:
> On Mon, Oct 23, 2006 at 11:26:47AM +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > 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.

I would say all those things are driven mostly by technical concerns
rather than legal ones necessarily, and that in general they do not
impact those who are writing non-free drivers, nor do they constitute
"action" per se. 

For example, a number of companies have made a case for a consistent API
if not ABI, and that has generally been rejected on the grounds of
freedom to code, not freedom of code (which I think is a concise
description of the difference between open source-thinking people and
free software-thinking people).

> Requiring signed binaries is exactly what TiVo are doing.

Ok, I didn't know that. I think, though, that the rest of the points
stand - primarily that requiring signed binaries doesn't seem to me to
be a terribly common tactic, even though it would be relatively simple
(and is already pretty common on other platforms, like w32, esp. in
areas such as driver development).



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