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SubjectRe: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?
On Wed, Dec 10, 2003 at 11:48:45AM -0800, Kendall Bennett wrote:
> Linus Torvalds <> wrote:
> > In fact, a user program written in 1991 is actually still likely
> > to run, if it doesn't do a lot of special things. So user programs
> > really are a hell of a lot more insulated than kernel modules,
> > which have been known to break weekly.
> IMHO (and IANAL of course), it seems a bit tenuous to me the argument
> that just because you deliberating break compatibility at the module
> level on a regular basis, that they are automatically derived works.

Not only that, I think the judge would have something to say about the
fact that the modules interface is delibrately changed all the time
with stated intent of breaking binary drivers. In fact, Linus pointed
out his thoughts on what the judge would say:

In fact, I will bet you that if the judge thinks that you tried to
use technicalities ("your honour, I didn't actually run the 'ln'
program, instead of wrote a shell script for the _user_ to run the
'ln' program for me"), that judge will just see that as admission
of the fact that you _knew_ you were doing something bad.

Why is it that the judge wouldn't see the delibrate changing of the
interfaces, the EXPORT_GPL stuff, all of that as a way to delibrately
force something that wouldn't otherwise be a derived work into a
derived work category?
Larry McVoy lm at
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