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SubjectRe: GPL only modules
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On Dec 17, 2006, at 08:54:17, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Dec 16, 2006, Linus Torvalds <torvalds@osdl.org> wrote:
>> Do you REALLY believe that a binary becomes a "derived work" of
>> any random library that it gets linked against? If that's not
>> "fair use" of a library that implements a standard library
>> definition, I don't know what is.
>
> Some disregard the fact that header files sometimes aren't just
> interface definitions, but they also contain functional code, in
> the form of preprocessor macros and inline functions, that, if
> used, do make it to the binary.

I would argue that this is _particularly_ pertinent with regards to
Linux. For example, if you look at many of our atomics or locking
operations a good number of them (depending on architecture and
version) are inline assembly that are directly output into the code
which uses them. As a result any binary module which uses those
functions from the Linux headers is fairly directly a derivative work
of the GPL headers because it contains machine code translated
literally from GPLed assembly code found therein. There are also a
fair number of large perhaps-wrongly inline functions of which the
use of any one would be likely to make the resulting binary
"derivative".

On the other hand, certain projects like OpenAFS, while not license-
compatible, are certainly not derivative works. The project was
created independently of Linux and operates on several different
operating systems, so even though it uses the very-Linux-specific
keyring interfaces under 2.6, no GPL licensing could possibly apply.

> The gray area between what is clearly permitted by a license and
> the murky lines that determine what constitutes a derived work, and
> what is fair use even if it's a derived work, is not for any of us
> to decide. The best we can do is to offer interpretations on intent
> of license authors and software authors, and of laws. Even though
> we're not lawyers or judges, such interpretations may be taken into
> account in court disputes.

I agree, and I think that this thread has outlived its useful life.

Cheers,
Kyle Moffett


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