If loadable modules are covered by Linux GPL?

From: Morris Chen (Morris_Chen@iptrend.com.tw)
Date: Wed Aug 30 2000 - 02:54:17 EST

Dear Sirs,

Since GNU guys wrote like follows that there were some exceptions of GPL for loadable kernel modules provided by Linux developers, could you please provide some comments on our question? Your prompt reply is greatly appreciated.

Loadable modules that are specifically designed to work with a GPL'ed
program are considered legally to be derived works of that program. Thus,
if you make a loadable module for GPL'ed program, and distribute it, you
must distribute the source code with it under a GPL-compatible license.
We never consider a module of this nature a separate work.

However, the developers of the kernel named Linux have sadly granted special
exceptions to the GPL for the case of loadable modules. This exception has
nothing to do with the GPL; the copyright holder of a program has the right
to grant additional exceptions outside the license itself. Thus, if you
want to take advantage of such an exception, you should contact the
developers of Linux, <linux-kernel@vger.kernel.org>.

Thanks in advance.
Best regards,

Morris Chen

My previous mail ----------

Dear Sirs,

We are a leading anti-virus solution provider on Unix. Currently we are trying to port our products to Linux. Our products consist of some loadable kernel modules and daemons as well on Linux. The loadable kernel modules are called 'hooks', which will change the runtime values of sys_call_table[] of arch/i386/kernel/entry.S but never modify the copy of entry.S file on the hard disk. According to the following 'exceptions' of GPL, we want to know whether they won't be covered by GPL or not if we distribute the Linux kernel and then our products at different timepoints on the same host. Or is there any way else that they won't be covered by GPL? Your prompt reply is greatly appreciated.

These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.

Thanks in advance.

Best regards,

Morris Chen

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