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    SubjectRE: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?

    On Fri, 5 Dec 2003, Kendall Bennett wrote:
    > Right, and by extension of the same argument you cannot use kernel
    > headers to create non-GPL'ed binaries that run IN USER SPACE!

    This was indeed one of the worries that people had a long time ago, and is
    one (but only one) of the reasons for the addition of the clarification to
    the COPYING file for the kernel.

    So I agree with you from a technical standpoint, and I claim that the
    clarification in COPYING about user space usage through normal system
    calls covers that special case.

    But at the same time I do want to say that I discourage use of the kernel
    header files for user programs for _other_ reasons (ie for the last 8
    years or so, the suggestion has been to have a separate copy of the header
    files for the user space library). But that's due to technical issues
    (since I think the language of the COPYING file takes care of all
    copyright issues): trying to avoid version dependencies.

    > This exact reasoning is what RedHat (aka Cygnus) has been using for years
    > with the Cygwin toolkit for Windows. Although 99% of the code built with
    > the GNU compilers and Cygwin includes the glibc runtime library that is
    > LGPL, every program *must* include the C runtime library startup code or
    > it cannot function. *That* code is pure GPL, and by extension any program
    > using the Cygwin libraries is a derived work and must be GPL. If you
    > don't like that, by a commercially licensed version of Cygwin from
    > RedHat/Cygnus instead.

    And this is an area where I think the GPL just isn't the right license to
    use - but on the other hand it obviously isn't my decision to make. I'm
    not touching Cygwin with a ten-foot pole, and that has nothing to do with
    licensing ;)

    The GPL just doesn't make a lot of sense for library-like infrastructure.

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