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SubjectRe: People, not GPL [was: Re: Driver Model]


David Schwartz wrote:

> However, some people seem to be arguing that the GPL_ONLY symbols are in
> fact a license enforcement technique. If that's true, then when they
> distribute their code, they are putting additional restrictions not in the
> GPL on it. That is a GPL violation.

Agreed. GPL_ONLY is not a license restriction. It is a technical issue.

Binary-only modules are inherently untrustworthy (no open code review)
and undebuggable. It is therefore of technical merit to restrict both
what they can access in the kernel (GPL_ONLY) and limit how much kernel
developers should have to tolerate when they're involved.

But beyond this, there are some social issues. If someone finds a way
to work around this mechanism, they are breaking things to everyone
else's detriment. For a commercial entity to violate the GPL_ONLY
barrier is an insult to kernel developers AND to their customers who
will have trouble getting problems solved.

So, if a company works around GPL_ONLY, are they violating the GPL
license? Probably not. Does that make it OKAY? Probably not.

This is like finding a way to give a user space program access to kernel
resources. There are barriers put in place for a REASON because people
make mistakes when they write software. If no one did, we wouldn't have
any need for memory protection, would we.


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