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SubjectRe: Is it OK to release non-GPL network driver with source?
On Wed, 6 Sep 2000, Horst von Brand wrote:

>Experts on legal stuff and copyright you won't find here, I'm afraid.
>May I ask why not GPLing the driver? You could for example state that the
>code is under GPL for use in the Linux kernel only,

Not possible. The GPL explicitly states that you may NOT make
additional restrictions. You can release the code under GPL "for
the linux kernel", however if it is GPL, *NOTHING* prevents
someone from taking that GPL code and turning it into a GPL
Windows driver or GPL BeOS driver, etc...

You can not add additional requirements to GPL licenced code
without voiding the GPL licencing. Sure, you can state whatever
you like in your text files, and you can claim restrictions to
the GPL, but the GPL document itself (COPYING) will contradict
what you're saying, and explicitly states if there are
contradictions, that the GPL is void.

If someone makes something GPL, they put the COPYING file in, and
make comments in the code that it is GPL. Thats it. If they
need to clarify anything at all, then they should not consider
GPL at all because they are likely to make "additional
restrictions" which are expressly prohibited by the GPL.

They can take the GPL licence text, modify it how they see fit,
and call it the "Something Else Public License" if they like,
then it wont be subject to the GPL's wording. This however might
infringe upon GNU's copyright on the GPL document itself, so a
complete license rewrite may be in order.

In general however, people in the open source community tend to
avoid drivers and code for the kernel that are not GPL, due to
the air of questionability behind them, and other similar

>even distribute under the GPL and some other license at the
>same time. By giving the Linux community the right to modify
>and redistribute the result it will benefit from the general
>work on drivers to port them forward and fix bugs.

That is certainly possible, however I've seen other code put out
that states "This is the Linux version which is under the GPL
license. You may use this code with the GPL license in Linux

That just simply doesn't work. The GPL does not allow you to say
that code is "for Linux only". You can say it, but saying it
and using the GPL doesn't mean that the contradiction of wording
is allowed all of a sudden.


Mike A. Harris | Computer Consultant | Capslock Consulting
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