Code is contributed to the Linux kernel under a number of licenses, but all
code must be compatible with version 2 of the GNU General Public License
(GPLv2), which is the license covering the kernel distribution as a whole.
In practice, that means that all code contributions are covered either by
GPLv2 (with, optionally, language allowing distribution under later
versions of the GPL) or the three-clause BSD license.
which are not covered by a compatible license will not be accepted into the
Copyright assignments are not required (or requested) for code contributed
to the kernel. All code merged into the mainline kernel retains its
original ownership; as a result, the kernel now has thousands of owners.
One implication of this ownership structure is that any attempt to change
the licensing of the kernel is doomed to almost certain failure. There are
few practical scenarios where the agreement of all copyright holders could
be obtained (or their code removed from the kernel). So, in particular,
there is no prospect of a migration to version 3 of the GPL in the