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SubjectRe: [ANNOUNCE] Generalised Kernel Hooks Interface (GKHI)
On Thu, 9 Nov 2000, Paul Jakma wrote:

> On Thu, 9 Nov 2000, Michael Rothwell wrote:
>
> > Well, then, problem solved.
> >
>
> :)
>
> > > afaik linus allows binary modules in most cases.
> >
> > And since an "Advanced Linux Kernel Project" wouldn't be a Linus kernel,
> > what then? Would they have the same discretion as Linus? Would Linus'
> > exception apply to them?
>
> don't know. you'd have to ask him...
>
> I actually think Linus has been too loose/vague on modules. The
> official COPYING txt file in the tree contains an exception on linking
> to the kernel using syscalls from linus and the GPL. nothing about
> binary modules, and afaik the only statements he's ever made about
> binary modules were off the cuff on l-k a long time (unless someone
> knows a binary module whose vendor can show a written exception from
> Linus et al).
>
> The result of all this is that we've had plenty of vendors ignoring
> the GPL as it applies to linux and release binary modules all because
> linus said on a mailling list that he doesn't mind too much. not a
> very strong affirmation of the conditions under which linux is
> licensed.

Well, HW vendors may provide a binary module as a timid attempt to
support Linux. A few have already understood that providing an Open Source
one is far a better attitude: they can *get* support for it from the
kernel community. They end up with a better driver, and they can even
learn something useful for their W98/NT/Sco/whatever drivers, too.
If they don't abuse of it (they are sicerely willing to "provide" something)
it's clearly a winning move.
Other vendors are just scared of the two words "Open Source" so they make
a little first step in releasing a binary only driver, which they are
more used to. I believe that sooner or later they'll realize the advantages
of the Open Source attitude, and they'll make the move.

A binary only file-system module is a completely different matter.
Legally, it may have the same "status" of a binary only driver.
Technically, it's just another module. But it seems to me a much clearer
violation of GPL. If you want to hide the internals of your software,
you're not GPL-compatible (a driver is slightly different in that
a HW company is probably worried about the internals of their HW).

>
> be nice if the binary module thing could be clarified by the copyright
> holders.

Of course.

>
> --paulj
>
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.TM.
--
____/ ____/ /
/ / / Marco Colombo
___/ ___ / / Technical Manager
/ / / ESI s.r.l.
_____/ _____/ _/ Colombo@ESI.it

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