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SubjectRe: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?

Rob,

Help me out? Who is cloning what ?

I am talking about original works, to talking about talking somebody's
stuff out of the kernel, hacking it up and distributing the work as an
original (that is clearly a derived work).

So your arguement is bogus, try again.

Cheers,

Andre Hedrick
LAD Storage Consulting Group

On Thu, 11 Dec 2003, Rob Landley wrote:

> On Thursday 11 December 2003 02:11, Hua Zhong wrote:
> > > For one thing, the plugin was made by someone without access
> > > to Netscape or IE's source code, using a documented interface
> > > that contained sufficient information to do the job without access
> > > to that source code.
> > >
> > > Yes, it matters.
> >
> > _What_ matters?
> >
> > Open source? (if you write a plugin for an opensource
> > kernel/application, you are not plugin anymore and you are derived
> > work.) I am sure you don't mean it.
> >
> > Documented interface? Hey, there are sources which are the best
> > documentation. :-)
>
> If you write software by referring to documentation, the barrier for it being
> a derivative work is higher than if you write it by looking at another
> implementation.
>
> > Seriously, even if I accept that there is never an intent to support a
> > stable ABI for kernel modules, some vendor can easily claim that "we
> > support a stable ABI, so write kernel modules for the kernel we
> > distribute".
> >
> > Anything can prevent that? I cannot see GPL disallow it.
> >
> > So OK, Linus and other kernel developers never intended to provide a
> > stable ABI, but someone else could. The original author's intent is
> > never relevant anymore. This is the goodness of opensource, isn't it?
>
> Once upon a time, Compaq did a clean-room clone of IBM's BIOS. Group 1
> studied the original bios and wrote up a spec, and group 2 wrote a new bios
> from that spec, and group 1 never spoke to group 2, and all of this was
> extensively documented so that when IBM sued them they proved in court that
> their BIOS wasn't derived from IBM's. (Of course compaq used vigin
> programmers fresh out of college who'd never seen a PC before, which was a
> lot easier to do in 1983...)
>
> I didn't make this up. This was a really big deal 20 years ago. It happened,
> and it mattered, and people cared that they created a fresh implementation
> without seeing the original code, entirely from a written specification that
> was not a derivative work of the first implementation, so no matter how
> similar the second implementation was (hand-coded assembly performing the
> same functions on the same processor in the same amount of space), it could
> not be considered a derivative work.
>
> This was a strong enough defense to beat IBM's lawyers, who were trying to
> claim that Compaq's new BIOS WAS a derivative work...
>
> Rob
>

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