Re: GPL Violation?

From: Anonymous User
Date: Thu Aug 17 2006 - 10:55:46 EST

On 8/16/06, Anonymous User <anonymouslinuxuser@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I work for a company that will be developing an embedded Linux based
consumer electronic device.

I believe that new kernel modules will be written to support I/O
peripherals and perhaps other things. I don't know the details right
now. What I am trying to do is get an idea of what requirements there
are to make the source code available under the GPL.

I suspect the company will try to get away with releasing as little as
possible. I don't know much about the GPL or Linux kernel internals,
but I want to encourage the company I work for to give back to the

I understand that modifications to GPL code must be released under the
GPL. So if they tweak a scheduler implementation, this must be
released. What if a new driver is written to support a custom piece
of hardware? Yes, the driver was written to work with the Linux
kernel, but it isn't based off any existing piece of code.

I'm posting anonymously because the company probably wouldn't want me
discussing this at all :(

Thanks to everyone who has responded to my question so far.

It seems like the two issues that need to be addressed are:
1) Are the kernel modules being developed derived works? If they are,
they must be released along with the entire kernel source.
2) If they are not derived works, and shipped in a product, does the
fact that they are shipped in a product that uses the linux kernel
require that the new modules be licensed under the GPL?

Yes, I agree that the company I work for should talk to a lawyer. I
however, am not interested in picking up a big legal tab to satisfy my
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