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    SubjectRe: embedded linux products && GPL && non-GPL'ed stuff
    >>>>> "Bjorn" == Bjorn Wesen <> writes:

    Bjorn> Scenario:

    Bjorn> Joe manufactures and sells a product, lets say a firewall,
    Bjorn> around an x86 CPU or whatever, and a flash-rom disk containing
    Bjorn> software. The software consists of the linux-kernel (maybe with
    Bjorn> some changes), some kernel modules containing drivers for
    Bjorn> hardware in the box, some applications he got from the net
    Bjorn> under GPL, and some of his own applications (not based on
    Bjorn> anything else).

    Bjorn> Joe obviously makes his kernel changes public, and any changes
    Bjorn> in GPL'ed applications he has used.

    Bjorn> However that leaves ambiguity regarding the modules, and his
    Bjorn> own applications.

    There is nothing ambigous about this as long as Joe does not copy a
    single line of GPL'ed code into his driver modules and his own

    Bjorn> Lets say that he really cannot make OSS of one of his own
    Bjorn> applications because he got it for use in his product under a
    Bjorn> restrictive license. And he cannot make OSS out of one of the
    Bjorn> kernel modules because he got the driver under a weird license
    Bjorn> from the guys he bought one of the HW interfaces from, and
    Bjorn> added some linux wrapping code around it. This is unfortunately
    Bjorn> a realistic scenario, speaking from own experience.

    In this case you just make sure your wrapper code is not covered by
    the GPL.

    Bjorn> Is Joe in trouble ? I can't see any real reason for him not to
    Bjorn> being able to keep his application "secret", since the kernel
    Bjorn> GPL explicitely doesn't affect applications running on top, and
    Bjorn> the other GPL'ed applications can't contaminate because they
    Bjorn> are a "mere aggregation" (just a collection of programs doing
    Bjorn> what they are intended to do).

    There is no problem here as far as I can tell. The important bit is to
    make sure no GPL'ed code was copy-pasted into the proprietary code.

    Bjorn> As for the driver module, I know that Linus has expressed (with
    Bjorn> some reluctancy) that drivers that can be considered
    Bjorn> sufficiently stand-alone works (like Joe's driver) can be
    Bjorn> released in a binary fashion. HOWEVER, in this case it's not a
    Bjorn> case of just releasing the driver, Joe is actually shipping it
    Bjorn> in a product that runs out of the box with it. What is your
    Bjorn> interpretation of this ?

    I don't see the problem, people are also shipping pre-installed PC's
    with proprietary software added, nobody's complaining about those as
    long as the license of the GPL'ed parts of the product is respected
    (and other licenses).


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