[linux-elitists] I am a polite person. I am a polite person.

Greg KH greg@kroah.com
Wed Jun 12 09:39:12 PDT 2002


On Wed, Jun 12, 2002 at 08:35:13AM -0600, Jonathan Corbet wrote:
> Sez Greg:
> 
> > In speaking with some _very_ knowledgable IP lawyers, they seem to all
> > agree that 99% of the binary kernel modules out there infringe on the
> > GPL and wouldn't stand up to any kind of legal challenge.
> 
> Some day, I fear, some kernel hacker is going to say "Linus can do what he
> wants, but I didn't license *my* code to be linked with proprietary
> modules."  It could be a most interesting court case, and sure wouldn't do
> Linux any good...  Spreading licensing FUD to companies wanting to get into
> Linux is not generally a good idea, but companies wanting to do binary-only
> modules probably should be aware that there is a potential trap here.

I agree, there has been cases of this happening in the past (a number of
closed source serial drivers), and luckly for the vendor, the developer
was very understanding.  I don't think this is FUD, but a very real
issue.

The 1% number above means that there are a few companies who do
understand all of the issues, and they have taken the proper precautions
when writing their closed source driver.  nVidia seems to be one of
these companies, proving that it can be done, albet at a high dollar
cost.

greg k-h



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