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    SubjectRe: Would I be violating the GPL?
    Amongst the various arguments here for declaring a binary kernel
    module a drived work based on including kernel headers, please
    take a step back and remember that what's sauce for the goose is
    sauce for the gander.

    The basic question is, does the user of the headers require the permission
    of the author of the headers to distribute the resultant object code?
    If the answer is "no", then the question of the terms of that permission
    (the GNU GPL or otherwise) doesn't arise.

    I'd like to argue that people interested in free software should want
    the answer to be "no", and should not try to establish precedents to
    the contrary, and that asserting the claim could boomerang unpleasantly.

    Suppose EvilCo produces an EvilOS and provides a series of headers for
    interfacing to EvilOS. Further suppose that EvilOS is not very good
    about enforcing user/kernel separation and a lot of the headers describe
    kernel-internal data structures that a user might nonetheless want to
    hook into.

    Now, if I write a piece of software that runs on EvilOS, or even a
    device driver to connect some hardware to EvilOS, do I want to need
    EvilCo's permission to distribute a percompiled version? Do I want
    them to claim proprietary rights in the source code because it refers
    to symbols defined in their headers?

    Or would I rather that such names and references are considered "Scenes
    a faire" (standard boilerplate) for software that runs on EvilOS, and
    as such not subject to copyright law?

    Looking at all the crap companies are trying to impose about publishing
    benchmarks, think before claiming that copyright law gives you some
    authority, lest that claim be used against you. I don't see such claims
    being widely asserted by commercial companies, so I'm strongly disinclined
    to try to start an arms race in that direction.

    (There is a bit of that in the game console market, but that's enforced by
    not giving you the headers until you agree to an NDA with lots of conditions.)

    In particular, it's a lot harder to argue that such a claim is ridiculous
    if you're making the same claim yourself. And it's not at all clear to me
    that the benefit is worth that cost.

    Feel free to argue that the cost is worth it; what worried me was that it
    wasn't clear that people were considering the flip side of the arguments
    at all. (Of course, there are a lot more mailing list archives than I've
    read; I may just have missed it.)
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      Last update: 2005-11-02 23:23    [W:0.021 / U:6.740 seconds]
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