Non-GPL Linux Kernel Modules Banned Starting January 2008?

Non-GPL Linux Kernel Modules Banned Starting January 2008?

  • Pridružio: 02 Apr 2005
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From: Linus Torvalds <torvalds <at>>
Subject: Re: GPL only modules [was Re: [GIT PATCH] more Driver core patches for 2.6.19]
Newsgroups: gmane.linux.kernel
Date: 2006-12-14 04:15:59 GMT (7 hours and 12 minutes ago)

On Wed, 13 Dec 2006, Greg KH wrote:
> Numerous kernel developers feel that loading non-GPL drivers into the
> kernel violates the license of the kernel and their copyright. Because
> of this, a one year notice for everyone to address any non-GPL
> compatible modules has been set.

Btw, I really think this is shortsighted.

It will only result in _exactly_ the crap we were just trying to avoid,
namely stupid "shell game" drivers that don't actually help anything at
all, and move code into user space instead.

What was the point again?

Was the point to alienate people by showing how we're less about the
technology than about licenses?

Was the point to show that we think we can extend our reach past derived
work boundaries by just saying so?

The silly thing is, the people who tend to push most for this are the
exact SAME people who say that the RIAA etc should not be able to tell
people what to do with the music copyrights that they own, and that the
DMCA is bad because it puts technical limits over the rights expressly
granted by copyright law.

Doesn't anybody else see that as being hypocritical?

So it's ok when we do it, but bad when other people do it? Somehow I'm not
surprised, but I still think it's sad how you guys are showing a marked
two-facedness about this.

The fact is, the reason I don't think we should force the issue is very
simple: copyright law is simply _better_off_ when you honor the admittedly
gray issue of "derived work". It's gray. It's not black-and-white. But
being gray is _good_. Putting artificial black-and-white technical
counter-measures is actually bad. It's bad when the RIAA does it, it's bad
when anybody else does it.

If a module arguably isn't a derived work, we simply shouldn't try to say
that its authors have to conform to our worldview.

We should make decisions on TECHNICAL MERIT. And this one is clearly being
pushed on anything but.

I happen to believe that there shouldn't be technical measures that keep
me from watching my DVD or listening to my music on whatever device I damn
well please. Fair use, man. But it should go the other way too: we should
not try to assert _our_ copyright rules on other peoples code that wasn't
derived from ours, or assert _our_ technical measures that keep people
from combining things their way.

If people take our code, they'd better behave according to our rules. But
we shouldn't have to behave according to the RIAA rules just because we
_listen_ to their music. Similarly, nobody should be forced to behave
according to our rules just because they _use_ our system.

There's a big difference between "copy" and "use". It's exatcly the same
issue whether it's music or code. You can't re-distribute other peoples
music (becuase it's _their_ copyright), but they shouldn't put limits on
how you personally _use_ it (because it's _your_ life).

Same goes for code. Copyright is about _distribution_, not about use. We
shouldn't limit how people use the code.

Oh, well. I realize nobody is likely going to listen to me, and everybody
has their opinion set in stone.

That said, I'm going to suggest that you people talk to your COMPANY
LAWYERS on this, and I'm personally not going to merge that particular
code unless you can convince the people you work for to merge it first.

In other words, you guys know my stance. I'll not fight the combined
opinion of other kernel developers, but I sure as hell won't be the first
to merge this, and I sure as hell won't have _my_ tree be the one that
causes this to happen.

So go get it merged in the Ubuntu, (Open)SuSE and RHEL and Fedora trees
first. This is not something where we use my tree as a way to get it to
other trees. This is something where the push had better come from the
other direction.

Because I think it's stupid. So use somebody else than me to push your
political agendas, please.


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