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SubjectRe: Developing non-commercial drivers ?
Thanks for the prompt respons.

I do agree that it would be better for everyone to release it under
GPL and I have already expressed that to our customer.

At this point I feel that we have two possibilities, help our customer
violate GPL or say no to the project. I'd prefer a third option where
I could tell the customer that we can setup the project in a certain
way (some "cleanroom" setup ?) to ensure that the results can not be
considered derived work.

Is your short answer also the definite answer considering this ?


2008/11/18 Robert Hancock <>:
> Fredrik Markström wrote:
>> Linus, others...
>> I'm working for as a consultant for a large hardware company porting
>> Linux to their new cpu-architecture and everything is pretty much
>> up and running. Now they want us to develop a closed-source (to
>> protect their IP) ethernet driver for their proprietary Ethernet MAC.
>> My question is: Is there a fair way to do this and still comply to
>> the intent and spirit of the Linux licensing ?
>> If yes, how ?
> In a word, I would say: no.
> When developing a non-GPL kernel driver, one finds themselves on very shaky
> legal ground. Unless one is 100% sure their code is not legally considered a
> derived work from the kernel, it's likely a GPL violation.
> One could point out the pile of other Ethernet drivers in the kernel from
> the likes of Intel, Broadcom, etc. and ask why those companies did not feel
> the need to "protect their IP" in this manner.. as well as the significant
> advantages of having their driver in the mainline kernel, and the horrible
> disadvantages of trying to manage closed-source drivers..
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