Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: Valdis . Kletnieks
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 04:52:42 EST

On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 22:25:12 PST, v j said:
> > It's written in black and white, in the license.
> Please point me to where it says I cannot load proprietary modules in
> the Kernel.

Nobody can point you there, because it doesn't say that anywhere.

What you do to *your* kernel is *your* business.

The question is what the code you *distribute* to *other* people does. It's
perfectly legal to load proprietary modules into the kernel. The open question
is whether you're allowed to ship a proprietary module to somebody else.

And that will depend in *great* detail on *exactly* what your module does,
what code it uses, and how it does it. As others have pointed out, NVidia
and ATI think they're in an OK spot with the way *they* do *their* module,
while many embedded companies, shipping a much different product, have almost
unanimously given in rather than risk a court fight about the GPL.

Of course, most companies will cave in and license rather than fight a
patent troll as well - so you *really* need to discuss *your* case with
a clueful lawyer.

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