Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

From: Valdis . Kletnieks
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 05:30:52 EST

On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 22:25:12 PST, v j said:

(Damn, hit send too soon)

> No, just that the trend is disturbing. If enough Kernel Developers
> choose to write their Software in a way that prevents others from
> using it freely, then that is troubling. Especially when these Kernel
> Developers are substituting existing interfaces in the Kernel with
> ones that are NEW and require specific licenses.

Again - there's nothing stopping you from fixing *your* copy to work
any way you want. I freely admit that *my* kernel is quite often running
code that I don't want to release under the GPL (usually because it's too
ghastly for submission in-tree :) - but that's OK, because I don't let that
sort of code escape. :)

There's nothing stopping you from shipping a GPL'ed patch that fixes it the way
you want it to work, to any and all who want to install your patch. I've done
that too - posted "provably incorrect, but works for me" patches for bugs I've
hit. Once in a while, my "provably incorrect" assertion even turns out to be
itself incorrect. ;)

There's nothing stopping you from shipping GPL'ed code that lies about
its MODULE_LICENSE. But if you're shipping *non*-GPL'ed code that does
that sort of thing, you demonstrate that you *knew* what the author thought
about derivative works.

So you really have 4 options:

0) Don't ship code. Send a board and a spec sheet to Greg KH. :)
1) Release it properly under the GPL.
2) Consult a lawyer, and decide to risk shipping it non-GPL.
3) Rebase your code so it runs on a *BSD or vxworks or other OS where
your code's licence and the OS license are known to be compatible.

Pick one, and live with it.

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