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SubjectRe: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers
On 2/15/07, Jeff Garzik <> wrote:
> Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> > Bzzzt. The whole point of the GPL is to "guarantee your freedom to
> > share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for
> > all its users."
> No, that's the FSF marketing fluff you've been taught to recite.

<chuckle> Didn't read far into that e-mail, did you? That's a quote
from the GPL preamble, which isn't part of the offer of contract but
is arguably legally relevant context. It's largely consistent with
the license as I read it. It's also consistent with the origins of
the GPL, as you can read anywhere that folk history is sold.

> In the context of the Linux kernel, I'm referring to the original reason
> why Linus chose the GPL for the Linux kernel.

Can't say; wasn't there. But I doubt that anyone truly "funnels
contributions back" to the kernel because of the letter of the GPL.
They do so because they think it will lower their costs, raise their
revenues, hedge their risks, earn goodwill from peers, enhance their
employability, stroke their egos, save the world, please their Author
and/or Linus, and so on and so forth.

The GPL tells us what is likely to happen in the event of a conflict
that gets as far as a courtroom. I think the smart money's on
conflict avoidance (that's kind of ironic, isn't it), and failing
that, on ignoring the FSF and other armchair lawyers and reading the
law (spelled A-P-P-E-L-L-A-T-E D-E-C-I-S-I-O-N-S) for yourself. That
is, after all, what judges have done and will continue to do, at least
until the Revolution comes.

- Michael
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