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    SubjectRe: Honest does not pay here ...
    I wrote:
    > I believe that the illegality of proprietary kernel modules
    >has resulting in more GPL-compatible kernel code than without such
    >a restriction.

    Andre has informed me of a posting made by Linus to the
    gnu.misc.discuss newsgroup (Message-ID
    "4b0rbb$") on December 17, 1995 where he
    basically gave his permission for the EXPORT_SYMBOL
    vs. EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL system hereby proprietary modules that call only
    EXPORT_SYMBOL symbols are allowed:

    I am not a lawyer, so don't take this as legal advice. What
    follows is just my layman's opinion.

    I think the permission in Linus's gnu.misc.discuss cannot
    apply retroactively to the contributions of others that were
    contributed before that message was posted without those copyright
    holders agreeing. It might help one argue that contributions by
    others after that time included that implicit grant, but I wonder to
    what degree you one can expect that contributors should have been
    aware of a gnu.misc.discuss posting (for example, compared to being
    aware of /usr/src/linux/COPYING). I wasn't aware of it until today.

    I also doubt the theory that calling only through the
    EXPORT_SYMBOL functions that Linus wrote makes Linus's permission
    sufficient for binary modules as is theorized at the bottom of this URL:

    Running Linux still involves using a lot of other people's
    contributions in ways restricted by copyright, generally requiring one
    follow the conditions under which permission to do these things will
    be granted (usually the GNU General Public License; some are less
    restricted). Arguing that a compatability layer allows you to do
    something with the software underneat that is forbidden by copyright
    and not a permission granted by the copyright holder sounds to me like
    saying that Netscape's compatability layer gives you permission to
    make copies of Microsoft Windows (software potentially behind the
    layer) beyond the restrictions of copyright and whatever permission
    you already have from microsoft. I know the anaology isn't perfect,
    but I believe the relevant aspects are.

    Anyhow, I thought I should post this information, as it was
    news to me, and I my posting of a few hours aga alone would otherwise
    propagate my own previous ignorance of an important element of this

    Adam J. Richter __ ______________ 575 Oroville Road \ / Milpitas, California 95035
    +1 408 309-6081 | g g d r a s i l United States of America
    "Free Software For The Rest Of Us."
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