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SubjectRe: Can't use SYSFS for "Proprietry" driver modules !!!.
On Mon, 28 Mar 2005, Steven Rostedt wrote:

> On Mon, 2005-03-28 at 19:56 -0500, Kyle Moffett wrote:
>> On Mar 28, 2005, at 19:21, Steven Rostedt wrote:
>>> So you are saying that a stand alone section of code, that needs
>>> wrappers to work with Linux is a derived work of Linux? If there's
>>> some functionality, that you make, and it just happens to need
>>> some kind of operating system to work. Does that make it a derived
>>> work of any operating system?
>> It depends on how special and different the wrappers for Linux are
>> from the wrappers for other operating systems. Like, for example,
>> the sysfs stuff is so radically different from the APIs that other
>> operating systems provide that anything using it is most likely
>> copied from other in-kernel sysfs code, and is therefore derived
>> from the Linux kernel.
> If your stand alone code has it's own API and your GPL wrapper handles
> the sysfs interface, then this might get around it.
>>> OK, I took your advise and found this from googling:
>> Mmm, good reference, thanks!
> You're welcome!
>>> Unless you misunderstood me, and thought that I was talking
>>> about taking some part of Linux and making it work under another
>>> OS, I still stand by my statement.
>> I think it really depends on the APIs implemented. Anything based
>> on the sysfs code, even if only using the APIs, will probably be
>> found to be a derivative work (NOTE: IANAL) because the sysfs API
>> is so very different from everything else. Other interfaces like
>> PCI management, memory management, etc, may not be so protectable,
>> because they are standard across many systems. If Linux got a
>> new and unique memory hotplug API, however, that might be a very
>> different story. Similar things could be said about integration
>> between drivers and the new Unified Driver Model, which appears to
>> be quite original.
> Yes, but as the article states, ideas are not protected under copyright
> law. So an unique idea to handle hotplug then it may still not be
> covered. This is all very ambiguous, and is too confusing. I'll leave
> it up to the lawers!
> -- Steve

In the United States there is something called "restraint of trade".
Suppose there was a long-time facility or API that got replaced
with one that was highly restrictive. To use the new facility, one
would have to buy a license or kiss somebody or something that
was not previously required. If an action was brought against the
person(s) who replaced the old facility with the new one, it
is likely that the plaintiff would prevail.

If there is documented proof that those symbols were previously
available and then they were changed to something more restrictive,
I think one would prevail if a complaint were brought in court.

If course, you need to convince the person(s) who changed them
that the action was unconscionable and therefore force them to
change them back without making money for the lawyers by suing
them. And, yes, somebody who modifies software in that manner
can be sued. They could also be charged with criminal behavior
(malicious mischief) in the State of Massachusetts or charged
under federal law with restraint of trade. Modifying an existing
policy to further an individual's ambitions can be fraught
with consequences.

Dick Johnson
Penguin : Linux version 2.6.11 on an i686 machine (5537.79 BogoMips).
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98.36% of all statistics are fiction.
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