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SubjectRe: incorrect taint of ndiswrapper
On Wed, 2006-10-25 at 21:30 +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
> Ar Mer, 2006-10-25 am 16:11 -0400, ysgrifennodd Pavel Roskin:
> > I don't see any legal reasons behind this restriction. A driver under
> > GPL should be able to use any exported symbols. EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL is a
> > technical mechanism of enforcing GPL against non-free code, but
> > ndiswrapper is free. The non-free NDIS drivers are not using those
> > symbols.
> The combination of GPL wrapper and the NDIS driver as a work is not free
> (in fact its questionable if its even legal to ship such a combination
> together).

So, the problem is on the legal side.

But I have to ask - which NDIS driver? I can write a free NDIS driver
and use it with ndiswrapper. You can say it's a stupid thing to do, but
once you talk about the legality, the only argument should be
legal/illegal. Besides, it may be a not such a bad idea for a ReactOS
developer writing a ReactOS driver to test it with Linux.

Also, nothing should prevent me from combining ndiswrapper with any
Windows driver in the privacy of my home as long as I don't distribute
anything. GPL doesn't have use restrictions (although the driver may
have an EULA).

Since the problem is with USB symbols, I can split the USB part from
ndiswrapper and call it ndiswrapper-usb. Then ndiswrapper-usb will be
calling the GPL-only symbols while ndiswrapper will be loading the
non-free modules. Good luck catching that! It's actually a change that
makes sense technically. Imagine what a change specifically intended to
fool Linux would do!

I don't see how the kernel can detect the cases where GPL is actually
violated without creating problem for honest users. Kernel code is not
a police department, let alone a court of law. Let's not create out own
DRM right in the kernel!

Companies that ship ndiswrapper with non-free modules may be breaking
copyright laws already. But it's not something that should be fought by
kernel patches.

Pavel Roskin

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