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SubjectRE: Linux GPL and binary module exception clause?

> On Fri, 05 Dec 2003 15:23:10 +1100, Peter Chubb said:
> > As far as I know, interfacing to a published API doesn't infringe
> > copyright.
> Well, if the only thing in the .h files was #defines and
> structure definitions,
> it would probably be a slam dunk to decide that, yes.
> Here's the part where people's eyes glaze over:
> % cd /usr/src/linux-2.6.0-test10-mm1
> % find include -name '*.h' | xargs egrep 'static.*inline' | wc -l
> 6288
> That's 6,288 chances for you to #include GPL code and end up
> with executable derived from it in *your* .o file, not the kernel's.

I'm sorry, but that just doesn't matter. The GPL gives you the unrestricted
right to *use* the original work. This implicitly includes the right to
peform any step necessary to use the work. (This is why you can 'make a
copy' of a book on your retina if you have the right to read it.) Please
tell me how you use a kernel header file, other than by including it in a
code file, compiling that code file, and executing the result.

> More to the point, look at include/linux/rwsem.h, and ask yourself
> how to call down_read(), down_write(), up_read(), and up_write()
> without getting little snippets of GPL all over your .o.

Exactly, it's impossible. So doing so is a necessary step to using the
header file.

> And even if your module doesn't get screwed by that, there's a
> few other equally dangerous inlines waiting to bite you on the posterior.

No problem. If you can't avoid them, then you're allowed to do them.

> I seem to recall one of the little buggers was particularly
> nasty, because it
> simply Would Not Work if not inlined, so compiling with
> -fno-inline wasn't an
> option. Unfortunately, I can't remember which it was - it was
> mentioned on
> here a while ago when somebody's kernel failed to boot because a
> gcc 3.mumble
> had broken inlining.....

So you're argument is that it's impossible to use the header file without
creating a derived work, hence permission to use the header file is
permission to create the derived work. This supports my argument that you
can create a derived work without agreeing to the GPL. Thanks.


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