Re: GFDL in the kernel tree

From: David Brownell (
Date: Sun Jun 15 2003 - 11:05:26 EST

Christoph Hellwig wrote:
> 2.5.71 introduces two GFDL-licensed files in the kernel tree...

A "grep" in Documentation/DocBook shows me three GFDL files,
last time I grepped there were none. So I was aware that
adding one would likely raise some issues ... evidently
a variety of people have noticed that GPL for docs/specs
isn't the best solution.

> (2) Documentation/DocBook/gadget.tmpl, one of the files, includes
> extracted from source files licensed under GPL, making this
> a GPL license violation.

Almost all of that is covered by a "GFDL Exception"; see the
top of <linux/usb_gadget.h>. I can submit a patch to do the
same for one other file (usbstring.c, one function).

But there's a potential issue for kerneldoc for one particular
structure, "usb_ctrlrequest", which was merged into 2.5 from a
patch on 2/2/2002 ... I think I know who contributed that patch.
If that author isn't willing to let that text be covered by
GFDL, and for some reason I can't replace it with similar text
that is (mostly pointing to the USB spec for details), I'll pull
that bit out. In short: This particular issue is fixable.

> And of course there's still all those nasty issue with GFDL like
> invariant sections and cover texts that make at least the debian-devel
> list believe it's an unfree license..

Only when those sections are used. Which none of those three
files do; all that doc is Free (GPL-compatible) by Debian terms.
(Modulo minor issues to be worked.)

- Dave

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