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SubjectRe: Kernl module ethics.
On Thu, Feb 28, 2002 at 10:25:36AM -0800, Jeffrey W. Baker wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 28, 2002, Jeff V. Merkey wrote:
> >There is a belief that the GPL can contaminate upward and
> >downward any driver or kernel module written that runs on Linux.
> >This statement, irregardless of what language is in the GPL, is
> >total bullsh_t, **EXCEPT** in those states who have adopted
> >UCITA. UCITA is an evil body of legislation approved by
> >representatives of various state legislatures that in essence
> >makes anything written into a software license (like the GPL)
> >enforceable and potentially criminal in those states who adopt
> >UCITA for any use of a particular software program. By way of
> >example, UCITA makes reverse engineering an illegal act if
> >the software owner writes into the license that reverse engineering
> >is not allowed. UCITA will also give the GPL enormous "teeth"
> >to actually enforce this up/down contamination of code written
> >on the Linux kernel.
> Jeff, you are WAY off in left field. The GPL is fundamentally different
> from any other software license. The so-called license that comes with
> Windows seeks to limit the rights of the Windows buyer. It limits your
> right to fair use, criticism, and so forth. The GPL is different
> because it actually grants you rights you would not have other wise had:
> the right to redistribute the software product.
> UCITA seeks to make Microsoft's license -- which cannot be a contract
> because it provides no benefit for the software user and no obligation
> for the software maker -- enforceable as a contract. Again the GPL is
> fundamentally different because people assent to its terms for their own
> benefit. Microsoft's license provides no benefit and no person would
> ever agree to it, nor do they need to: their rights are secured as the
> buyer of goods[1] and they can throw the license in the recycling pile.
> -jwb
> 1: "The Court understands fully why licensing has many advantages for
> software publishers. However, this preference does not alter the Court's
> analysis that the substance of the transaction at issue here is a sale
> and not a license." Judge Dean D. Pregerson, United States District
> Court for the Central District of California.

The GPL could be enforced under UCITA. Whether someone would succeed
or not is another matter, but a claim could be brought. The GPL is
a "contract" and it's not "fundamentally different" in any significant
way from any other software license. It defines how someone may use
software and what obligations they have. In fact, it's exactly the
type of contract UCITA addresses. disagree.



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