Kernel developers' position on GPLv3

Alfred M. Szmidt ams at
Sat Sep 23 12:14:30 UTC 2006

   > Then, you think that the "Balkanisation menace" is only smelly
   > FUD, and that GPLv2 and v3 can cohesist without problems ???
   > I'm not an expert, but we can have a GNU toolchain v3 and a
   > Kernel v2 ???

   Man I can't believe what I see. On what platform do you think the
   gcc, emacs, glibc, etc.. has been developed on before Linux

It is a honest question.

   Kernel space and user space are 2 very well separated world with
   very clear boundaries and public interfaces.

They aren't as clear as you might think, the "public interfaces" can
be copyrightable.  Many people think that using a GPLed library with a
GPL incompatible program is ok, for the exact same reason, it has
nothing to do with clear bounders or public interfaces, but what
actually constitutes a deriviate work, and that simply means if you
use some copyrightable bits.

In the case of Linux, there is a special exeption for these "public

|   NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use
| kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered
| normal use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of
| "derived work".  Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the
| Free Software Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to
| (the Linux kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually
| wrote it.

Just like there is a specical execption for
GCC/Bison/autoconf/... that allow the output to be used in/with
non-free programs.  For example, take a look at

In short, just because there might be clear bounderies, and public
interfaces, doesn't mean that copyright will magically vanish.

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