Using GPL'd Linux drivers with non-GPL, binary-only kernel

Using GPL'd Linux drivers with non-GPL, binary-only kernel

Post by Dean McEwa » Wed, 14 May 2003 11:20:04



Quote:>Jamie Lokier wrote :

>> What's the position of kernel developers towards using the GPL'd Linux
>> kernel modules - that is, device drivers, network stack, filesystems
>> etc. - with a binary-only, closed source kernel that is written
>> independently of Linux?

First much kudos goes to Jamies V. modem work which sped up my V.34 devel
quite a lot.

companies who use complex kernel functions are supposed to GPL, it doesn't mean they
do, and lets not tread down that path,lest Andre see me, proprietary modules suck
everybody knows it, they just keep quiet,
dare it desturb them making money.

Linus says in the credits file his position, although such a position is supposed to be taken
from the majority of users and not a few kernel hackers.

Anyway, as im selling a no license version of my software for 13,000 I can hardly complain.

The best opinion on their legality comes from RMS, and although im not a zealot, he did
write the license, Trawl MARC for lawyers, GNU, and RMS and see if you can find it.

Thanks for your help by working on V.

Cheers, Deano.

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1. Using GPL'd Linux drivers with non-GPL, binary-only kernel

I was mulling over a commercial project proposal, and this question
came up:

What's the position of kernel developers towards using the GPL'd Linux
kernel modules - that is, device drivers, network stack, filesystems
etc. - with a binary-only, closed source kernel that is written
independently of Linux?

I realise that linking the modules directly with the binary kernel is
a big no no, but what if they are dynamically loaded?

There seems to be a broad agreement, and I realise it isn't unanimous,
that dynamically loading binary-only modules into the Linux kernel is
ok.  Furthermore, there are some funny rules about which interfaces a
binary-only module may use and which it may not, before it's
considered a derivative work of the kernel.

So, as dynamic loading is ok between parts of Linux and binary-only
code, that seems to imply we could build a totally different kind of
binary-only kernel which was able to make use of all the Linux kernel
modules.  We could even modularise parts of the kernel which aren't
modular now, so that we could take advantage of even more parts of Linux.

What do you think?

-- Jamie

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