Re: The end of embedded Linux?

From: David Lang (
Date: Tue Oct 08 2002 - 10:52:49 EST

note that you are allowed to distribute a binary-only module as long as
you don't use the GPL-only kernel symbols. Linus has stated that he
doesn't view use of the header files as enough to make a module a
dirivitive work (others disagree, but there are a number of binary modules
out there)

check the archives for the various flame wars over this issue.

David Lang

On Tue, 8 Oct 2002 wrote:

> Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 11:11:44 +0100
> From:
> To: Alan Cox <>
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: The end of embedded Linux?
> On 7 Oct 2002, at 21:22, Alan Cox wrote:
> > On Mon, 2002-10-07 at 18:15, wrote:
> > > a serial port and an interupt controller. What I was trying to explain
> > > was that I would not mind making my code available for these
> > > kernel changes. Although I don't understand why anyone would
> > > want it. Apart from API changes, why do this ? The kernel is not
> > > easily or frequently changed on this type of system. It would bloat
> > > the kernel and I would expect to have to address problems of this
> > > nature myself. However I would not like to make code available for
> > > the more specialised hardware.
> >
> > That depends how specialized the hardware actually is. I think I've see
> > six different non free implementations of 68360 sync serial code around
> > all proprietary for example.
> >
> The UART and Interrupt controllers in question are built into a gate
> array. I can't see how any external or parts from other vendors
> would be compatible. To get the board to boot Linux I have to
> modify the kernel and lilo. I understand that under the GPL rules I
> would have to make this code available. I am willing to do this but I
> don't see the point.
> There is also more specialized hardware for which I have written
> modules. Although there appears to be some unwritten rule about
> releasing objects, I believe that the GPL rules state that these
> modules must conform to the GPL also, as they contain header
> files. I cannot see how any module can not contain Linux headers
> or headers derived from Linux headers if it is to be loaded on a
> Linux kernel.
> These modules again drive gate array hardware for which nobody
> else will ever have a compatible. Although I would dearly love to
> use Linux as the platform for my project I feel I cannot release this
> code under the GPL.
> This is my dilemma and I am sure it is shared by others. For this
> reason I cannot see how anything but an embedded PC with
> applications or a perhaps a very simple hardware device could be
> considered as an opportunity for embedded Linux.
> I have based these thoughts on my experiences so far. If you feel I
> have drawn an incorrect conclusion I would be grateful for your
> input.
> Many Thanks
> Simon.
> > Also my original comments were much more aimed at the core stuff. People
> > who made existing and especially core stuff smaller could send the stuff
> > out. Several of us want to compile a CONFIG_TINY option, and suprisingly
> > enough small is good on high end boxes. My L1 cache is 8 times faster
> > than my L2 cache is 7 times faster than my memory. Or to put it another
> > way, going to main memory costs me maybe 100 instructions.
> >
> > My Athlon thinks small is good too!
> >
> __________________________
> Simon Haynes - Baydel
> Phone : 44 (0) 1372 378811
> Email :
> __________________________
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