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SubjectRe: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?

Hello Linus,

Linus Torvalds wrote:
> Similarly, historically there was a much stronger argument for things like
> AFS and some of the binary drivers (long forgotten now) for having been
> developed totally independently of Linux: they literally were developed
> before Linux even existed, by people who had zero knowledge of Linux. That
> tends to strengthen the argument that they clearly aren't derived.
>
> In contrast, these days it would be hard to argue that a new driver or
> filesystem was developed without any thought of Linux. I think the NVidia
> people can probably reasonably honestly say that the code they ported had
> _no_ Linux origin. But quite frankly, I'd be less inclined to believe that
> for some other projects out there..

Since the last time this was mentioned, I have been thinking that this
argument can really be read as an invitation to do just what's being
described: first implement a driver/module in a non-Linux OS (this may even
imply requiring that whoever works on the driver/module have NO Linux
experience whatsoever; yes there will always be candidates for this) and then
have this driver/module ported to Linux by Linux-aware developers.

Sure, one could argue about "intent", but that's going to be really
difficult, especially if the right-hand doesn't know what the left-hand
is doing. IOW, can't this position be abused as much as, if not more
than, publishing an "approved" set of characteristics for non-GPL modules?
Just thinking aloud,

Karim
--
Author, Speaker, Developer, Consultant
Pushing Embedded and Real-Time Linux Systems Beyond the Limits
http://www.opersys.com || karim@opersys.com || 514-812-4145
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