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SubjectRe: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?
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On Thursday 11 December 2003 15:20, Andre Hedrick wrote:
> 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.

If you'd read the message, you might have noticed that I was talking about why
web browser plugins may be considered to be different from kernel modules.

The fact you personally were off in a corner talking about little green men
from mars is remarkably irrelevant to what I wrote to Hua Zhong (who I'm
fairly certain is not you. His english is better.)

I have no intention of "trying again" because I wasn't talking to you in the
first place. (I don't find what you have to say on IP issues particularly
interesting, and don't read the ones that aren't cc'd to me...) Neither of
us are lawyers. The difference is that I know it.

Rob

> 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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