Remind yourself of FREEDOM!
I think "GPL nazis" is a very fitting description in this case. Actually I really like the GPL license because it lets software be free and remain free. However I think that these accusations would neither be in the sense of the Free Software Foundation - or at least my understanding of freedom, nor will Linux benefit from such extremistic behaviour. The GPL was made for freedom - not for restriction, or even hindering development as is the case here. I think it is obvious that VMware uses this code for compatibility reasons: they need this code to better interact with the kernel. In the USA and Europe, there is a clause assuring that decompiling proprietary software (even if forbidden explicitly in the license) is legal, as long as the code is used to assure interoperability with the decompiled software. I think this exeption also very similary applies to the situation VMware is in. However in this case, the software (the kernel) isn't even proprietary but claimed to be free.
But isn't that shocking?! On and on, free software fanatics critisize Microsoft for their immoral, restricting policy. But now, they are doing the exact same thing to VMware: Hindering proper development. They are dissapointing my dreams
The GPL is not meant to be used as a "patent" - meaning hindering proprietary softwares development, but rather supporting free software.
Unfortunately some people always get it wrong, people that do not see the world from human (social) eyes, but lawyers (cold, merciless, unbending) eyes and the consequences are plain -> Oracle, GPL licensed "Liberation" fonts, patent accusations all over the world .......... Well, but thats a social problem.
Should this really come in before court, I hope that the Free Software Foundation comes to similar conclusion and in this case makes an exception, as they are allowed to do (aren't they?).
I think it's pretty clear.. The company *OWNS* the copyright over the code. Just because they released a GPL license of it, doesn't mean that their internal proprietary version which contains part of their GPL version needs to be open source.
Originally Posted by ryao
The Red Hat developer made a mistake in his claim.
QT was dual-licensed for a long time, they had a proprietary license and a GPL license. If you didn't want to deal with the restrictions of the GPL license, you could pay money and get a proprietary license which, ironically, gave you more freedom to do whatever you liked with the code. Specifically including, keeping derivative works CLOSED source which the GPL does NOT allow you to do.
If you own the copyright to something, you're welcome to license it out any way you like, under as many licenses as you like. *INCLUDING* keeping a proprietary licensed version in house that they have no obligation to release the source code to.
The GPL has no strength against the original copyright owners of the work. This is where the Red Hat developer goofed up his claim.. The GPL only applies to people who DO NOT have copyright over the work. That is why it is called a "license". If you have a sole copyright over the work, then you sure as hell don't need a license as you can do whatever you like with it since it's yours.
Last edited by Sidicas; 11-13-2012 at 03:05 PM.
There is also an explicit exception in the Linux kernel's GPL license allowing applications to access kernel functions via normal system calls without being considered derivative works of the Linux kernel.
Originally Posted by pingufunkybeat
Ah good a GPL expert in the house. not one thing you said in that is true. No wonder people are confused about the GPL with idiots like you trying to explain it.
Originally Posted by Sidicas
If I take the Linux kernel and I write any code that requires the Linux kernel, then that code needs to be under the GPL. It doesn't matter a shit if I have all the copyrights or not.
This isn't like QT, or mysql.
The GPL has plenty of strength against the original copyright owners of *derived* works. Could you shut up now and stop thinking you understand something you clearly have no idea about.
No nothing to do with generic kernel, or products.
Originally Posted by bug77
If they write code that the kernel userspace GPL exception applies to, all good, if they write code that links to the kernel via modules, then they are in derived work territory. If they then distribute that work (GPL only applies to distribution), you have the makings of a GPL violation.
The userspace syscall interface in Linux has an exception that anything using it isn't a derived work, and is free from GPL obligations. It doesn't have this exception for the module interface.
Originally Posted by ryao
whether its logical or not doesn't matter.
Anyone who shops a prebuilt kernel distributes it, if you build a livecd and give it to your friend you have distributed the Linux kernel.
Originally Posted by TAXI
The debate on the nvidia driver and AFS stuff is borderline, since derived works aren't clearly defined, and generally only a court can decide, and they may take a completely different method of defining it than me or anyone else. Even kernel devs disagree on what constitutes a derived work, and some believe the nvidia driver definitely does.
People have stopped distros and live cd from shipping the nvidia driver on the same media, distros only ship the binary driver separate from the kernel, and cause the user to do the final linking which violates the GPL on that users machine. Also nvidia never distribute the binary driver with a linux kernel attached.
You'll notice for ARM systems most of the kernel drivers are open source for this reason, since they ship them all on one media.
Its not allowed to use the non _GPL symbols unless you are sure your work isn't a derived work, i.e. you have good lawyers who aren't just telling you what you want to hear.
They implement a lowlevel GPL driver to control the hardware, and put the major pieces in userspace, to which the GPL doesn't apply.
Originally Posted by 89c51
But thats pretty much how all GPU drivers are done on any OS, in terms of functionality placement.
There are arguments that the userspace driver in a lot of these situations could still be considered a derived work of the kernel, and a good lawyer might even convince a judge.
(the userspace exception clearly states things that interact via normal syscall interface, drivers generally use driver specific ioctls that could be argued to be non part of the standard syscall interface).
So far so good...
Originally Posted by Sidicas
But as soon as they distribute a combination linking the GPL-ed Linux kernel together with their closed module, they are in violation of the GPL.