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From: rac...@vespucci.iquest.com (Chris Adams)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 31 May 1994 23:44:20 -0500
Organization: interQuest: Fuel for the Mind
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Well, PC Week has Novell using Linux again in the Corsair/Expose operating
system.  Only problem is that the editorial mentions that Novell is "Basing
the software on the public-domain Linux version of Unix...".  Linux is NOT
public-domain, at least as I understand it.
-- 
Chris Adams
rac...@vespucci.iquest.com

Don't touch that!  It's the history eraser button!

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From: patr...@sdd.hp.com (Patrick Chase)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 5 Jun 1994 06:56:31 GMT
Organization: Hewlett-Packard, San Diego Division
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In article <2sh3n4$...@vespucci.iquest.com>, rac...@vespucci.iquest.com 
(Chris Adams) writes:
|> Well, PC Week has Novell using Linux again in the Corsair/Expose operating
|> system.  Only problem is that the editorial mentions that Novell is "Basing
|> the software on the public-domain Linux version of Unix...".  Linux is NOT
|> public-domain, at least as I understand it.

Linux is not PD. It is, however, distributed under the standard GNU licensing
terms. The difference is that under the GNU license, any redistribution or
modification must:
	a.) Be freely available
	b.) Include full cource code
	c.) Also be distributed under the GNU licensing agreement
Truly PD software is modifiable and redistributable without restrictions.
I fail to see how Novell can possibly distribute an operating system based
on Linux. They'd have to offer any directly modified portions (such as the 
kernel...) for free, and with source. I suppose they could put the modified 
Linux components on an anonymous ftp site, available per the GNU license, and 
then sell a CD-ROM version with additional programs/utilities of their own 
creation (or licensed stuff like Looking Glass). 

|> -- 
|> Chris Adams
|> rac...@vespucci.iquest.com
|> 
|> Don't touch that!  It's the history eraser button!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Patrick Chase		I speak for myself, not H-P
H-P San Diego

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From: rac...@vespucci.iquest.com (Chris Adams)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 6 Jun 1994 09:49:56 -0500
Organization: interQuest: Fuel for the Mind
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In article <2srsuvINN...@hpsdlss3.sdd.hp.com> patr...@sdd.hp.com (Patrick Chase) 
writes:
>In article <2sh3n4$...@vespucci.iquest.com>, rac...@vespucci.iquest.com 
>(Chris Adams) writes:
>|> Well, PC Week has Novell using Linux again in the Corsair/Expose operating
>|> system.  Only problem is that the editorial mentions that Novell is "Basing
>|> the software on the public-domain Linux version of Unix...".  Linux is NOT
>|> public-domain, at least as I understand it.

I also sent a message to the author of the article, and he sent me a
message back thanking me for "setting me straight on GPL licensing".

>Linux is not PD. It is, however, distributed under the standard GNU licensing
>terms. The difference is that under the GNU license, any redistribution or
>modification must:
>	a.) Be freely available

This is wrong.  the GNU Public License (GPL) does not limit software to
being distributed for free.  If you had ever read it, one of the first
lines says specifically that "When we speak of free software, we are
referring to freedom, not price." 

>	b.) Include full cource code
>	c.) Also be distributed under the GNU licensing agreement
>Truly PD software is modifiable and redistributable without restrictions.
>I fail to see how Novell can possibly distribute an operating system based
>on Linux. They'd have to offer any directly modified portions (such as the 
>kernel...) for free, and with source. I suppose they could put the modified 
>Linux components on an anonymous ftp site, available per the GNU license, and 
>then sell a CD-ROM version with additional programs/utilities of their own 
>creation (or licensed stuff like Looking Glass). 

The GPL simply says that you must let the buyer know their rights, and
that the source code be available.  You don't even have to give it to
them when they buy something, just when they ask for it you must provide
it for free (I think that you can charge a small media distribution fee,
but I'm not sure about that).
-- 
Chris Adams
rac...@iquest.com

Don't touch that!  It's the history eraser button!

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gallifrey!newcombe
From: newco...@aa.csc.peachnet.edu (Dan Newcombe)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 13:21:06 UNDEFINED
Organization: Clayton State College
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>I also sent a message to the author of the article, and he sent me a
>message back thanking me for "setting me straight on GPL licensing".

Which means they'll mess it up the next time they refer to it :)

>>terms. The difference is that under the GNU license, any redistribution or
>>modification must:
>>       a.) Be freely available

No No no - as has been discussed...just wanted to emphasize :)

>>       b.) Include full cource code

No No No.  They don't have to give you one line of source code when they give 
you the distribution.  Could you imagine the size of the Slackware dist. if 
every Gnu'd piece in there also had the source?  There would be a few more 
disks.   What the GNU liscence says is that they must make the source code 
availiable for free.  It does say they can charge you a fee for stuff like 
S&H, distribution medium.  

>>       c.) Also be distributed under the GNU licensing agreement

No No No -well, maybe...depending on what you mean.  True...any modification 
to a GNU program must be redistributed under the Gnu liscence.  If I were to 
ship a product that included a GNU program, say Gnu's version of sort, then 
that doesn't mean my whole product must be Gnu'd.  

>>Truly PD software is modifiable and redistributable without restrictions.
>>I fail to see how Novell can possibly distribute an operating system based
>>on Linux. They'd have to offer any directly modified portions (such as the 
>>kernel...) for free, and with source. I suppose they could put the modified 
>>Linux components on an anonymous ftp site, available per the GNU license, and 
>>then sell a CD-ROM version with additional programs/utilities of their own 
>>creation (or licensed stuff like Looking Glass). 

Now this brings up interesting points:
	a) If what Novell add's doesn't require a kernel change, then they can charge 
as much as they want and you can't redistribute it, and no source needs to be 
included.  There is a debate on whether a loadable module counts as a derived 
work.
	b) If they did make kernel changes, yes...the must make the changes 
availiable for free (with nominal charge).  Now here's where they could have 
fun.  Suppose they made some kernel changes to allow the kernel to do IPX real 
nice.  Is there anything that says when you request the source to the changes, 
that they can't just print out the changes and ship that to you, and let you 
type them in?
	c) The changes they make to the kernel, or any of their stuff that get's 
GPL'd will be freely redistibutable.  Therefore, if one person got their CD 
with this GPL'd stuff, they could upload it to sunsite (only the GPL'd stuff) 
and then the world could get it, and novell would be powerless.

Now the trick is to somehow get the Wabi stuff under the GPL  :)

--
Dan Newcombe                    newco...@aa.csc.peachnet.edu
Clayton State College           Morrow, Georgia
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
"And the man in the mirror has sad eyes."       -Marillion

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From: l...@slip-5-16.ots.utexas.edu (lilo [Dances With Geeks])
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 9 Jun 1994 20:14:59 GMT
Organization: The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas
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On 5 Jun 1994 06:56:31 GMT, Patrick Chase (patr...@sdd.hp.com) wrote:

> I fail to see how Novell can possibly distribute an operating system based
> on Linux. They'd have to offer any directly modified portions (such as the 
> kernel...) for free, and with source. I suppose they could put the modified 
> Linux components on an anonymous ftp site, available per the GNU license, and 
> then sell a CD-ROM version with additional programs/utilities of their own 
> creation (or licensed stuff like Looking Glass). 

I guess you didn't realize that the GNU license allows one to sell one's
program for any price desired, as long as source is made available and a
license to redistribute (including source) is granted.

The "free" doesn't mean without cost.  And, if they distribute source, there
is no requirement to make the program(s) available over the Internet (though
someone not affiliated with them almost certainly would end up doing so,
since the GNU license allows it).


lilo

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From: l...@slip-5-16.ots.utexas.edu (lilo [Dances With Geeks])
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 9 Jun 1994 20:19:01 GMT
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On Mon, 6 Jun 1994 13:21:06 UNDEFINED, Dan Newcombe (newco...@aa.csc.peachnet.edu) 
wrote:

> 	a) If what Novell add's doesn't require a kernel change, then they can charge 
> as much as they want and you can't redistribute it, and no source needs to be 
> included.  There is a debate on whether a loadable module counts as a derived 
> work.

Only among lawyers (they make their money by harassing people ;)....the rest
of us can be pretty certain that a loadable module is not a derived work in
any meaningful way.  It's derived from the *standard* for loadable modules,
not from the copyrighted *source code* that implements the kernel interface.
Unless you are silly enough to use a GNU-licensed sample loadable module
source as your starting point.... :)


lilo

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
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From: p...@myrddin.isl.cf.ac.uk (Paul)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1994Jun10.155151.26348@cm.cf.ac.uk>
Sender: p...@myrddin.isl.cf.ac.uk (Paul)
Organization: ELSYM, University of Wales, College of Cardiff, UK.
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<2t7t83$2b2@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 1994 15:51:50 +0000
Lines: 32

In article <2t7t83$...@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu>,
lilo [Dances With Geeks] <l...@slip-5-16.ots.utexas.edu> wrote:
>On 5 Jun 1994 06:56:31 GMT, Patrick Chase (patr...@sdd.hp.com) wrote:
>
>> I fail to see how Novell can possibly distribute an operating system based
>> on Linux. They'd have to offer any directly modified portions (such as the 
>> kernel...) for free, and with source. I suppose they could put the modified 
>> Linux components on an anonymous ftp site, available per the GNU license, and 
>> then sell a CD-ROM version with additional programs/utilities of their own 
>> creation (or licensed stuff like Looking Glass). 
>
>I guess you didn't realize that the GNU license allows one to sell one's
>program for any price desired, as long as source is made available and a
>license to redistribute (including source) is granted.

Umm, not true because Novell's code would be a derived work and
not something wholly developed by themselves. The relevant part of the GPL
states: 2b)

    b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
    whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
    part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
    parties under the terms of this License.

Makes sense, otherwise any company could grab Linux and start selling it
for large sums of money. You can't actually do that, you can only charge
for the distribution and support of GPL'd software.

-- 
  Paul Richards, FreeBSD core team member.
  Intelligent Systems Laboratory, ELSYM ,University of Wales, College Cardiff
  Internet: p...@isl.cf.ac.uk,  JANET(UK): RICHARD...@UK.AC.CARDIFF

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
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From: iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1994Jun10.162607.16558@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
References: <2srsuvINNbju@hpsdlss3.sdd.hp.com> <2t7t83$2b2@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu> 
<1994Jun10.155151.26348@cm.cf.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 1994 16:26:07 GMT
Lines: 19

In article <1994Jun10.155151.26...@cm.cf.ac.uk> p...@myrddin.isl.cf.ac.uk (Paul) 
writes:
>Umm, not true because Novell's code would be a derived work and
>not something wholly developed by themselves. The relevant part of the GPL
>states: 2b)
............
>Makes sense, otherwise any company could grab Linux and start selling it
>for large sums of money. You can't actually do that, you can only charge
>for the distribution and support of GPL'd software.

No because you charge for the other applications not the kernel. The source
issue is also no problem for the GPL'd programs in your 'mere aggregation'
as a CD-ROM is nice and roomy.

>  Paul Richards, FreeBSD core team member.
		  ^^^^^^^ now this software you can just grab improve keep
		  	  in binary format only and sell for loads of money.

Alan

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From: t...@u.washington.edu (Tim Smith)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 10 Jun 1994 23:47:07 GMT
Organization: University of Washington School of Law, Class of '95
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lilo [Dances With Geeks] <l...@slip-5-16.ots.utexas.edu> wrote:
>> There is a debate on whether a loadable module counts as a derived 
>> work.
>
>Only among lawyers (they make their money by harassing people ;)....the rest
>of us can be pretty certain that a loadable module is not a derived work in
>any meaningful way.  It's derived from the *standard* for loadable modules,

What do you mean "only among lawyers"?  I doubt that there are many lawyers
who think loadable modules are derivative works.

--Tim Smith

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From: jbris...@delphi.com
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 94 21:54:58 -0500
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Is there anything to prevent Torvalds or anyone else who's released a
program under the GPL from accepting bucks from Novell to write a commercial
version reusing whatever parts of his code that he likes?  In other words,
does releasing a program under the GPL prevent the author from selling
a later version as an ordinary commercial product?  Just wondering.

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
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From: iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1994Jun13.103256.5063@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
References: <newcombe.265.011D475E@aa.csc.peachnet.edu> 
<2t7tfl$2b2@geraldo.cc.utexas.edu> <2tau1r$n0h@news.u.washington.edu>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 10:32:56 GMT
Lines: 12

In article <2tau1r$...@news.u.washington.edu> t...@u.washington.edu (Tim Smith) 
writes:
>lilo [Dances With Geeks] <l...@slip-5-16.ots.utexas.edu> wrote:
>What do you mean "only among lawyers"?  I doubt that there are many lawyers
>who think loadable modules are derivative works.

A loadable module is simply a piece of kernel code that got linked slightly
later rather than earlier. It depends totally on Linux and it's calling all
sorts of internal routines. 

Alan

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
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From: iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1994Jun13.103414.5213@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
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<Za4tH5K.jbriscoe@delphi.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 10:34:14 GMT
Lines: 14

In article <Za4tH5K.jbris...@delphi.com> jbris...@delphi.com writes:
>Is there anything to prevent Torvalds or anyone else who's released a
>program under the GPL from accepting bucks from Novell to write a commercial
>version reusing whatever parts of his code that he likes?  In other words,
>does releasing a program under the GPL prevent the author from selling
>a later version as an ordinary commercial product?  Just wondering.

His own parts he can do this with. But nobody elses bits. I've done something
similar with my own parts of the IPX code so that someone else uses it for
something and contributes back all the RIP query routing extensions and 
stuff.

Alan

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From: dil...@apollo.west.oic.com (Matthew Dillon)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 13 Jun 1994 09:43:49 -0700
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<1994Jun13.103256.5063@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
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In article <1994Jun13.103256.5...@uk.ac.swan.pyr> iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox) 
writes:
:In article <2tau1r$...@news.u.washington.edu> t...@u.washington.edu (Tim Smith) 
:writes:
:>lilo [Dances With Geeks] <l...@slip-5-16.ots.utexas.edu> wrote:
:>What do you mean "only among lawyers"?  I doubt that there are many lawyers
:>who think loadable modules are derivative works.
:
:A loadable module is simply a piece of kernel code that got linked slightly
:later rather than earlier. It depends totally on Linux and it's calling all
:sorts of internal routines. 
:
:Alan

    "Depends on" and "Derived From" have two totally different meanings.  If
    the loadable module is distributed separately from the kernel and contains
    no GPLd code itself, it does not fall under the kernel's GPL.  On the 
    otherhand, if the module were compiled into the kernel and a kernel binary 
    was distributed, it would fall under the GPL.

    At least, that is my interpretation.

						-Matt

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From: iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1994Jun14.105029.6466@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
References: <1994Jun13.103256.5063@uk.ac.swan.pyr> 
<newcombe.284.0144D8F4@aa.csc.peachnet.edu> <1994Jun13.214516.4160@kf8nh.wariat.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 10:50:29 GMT
Lines: 15

In article <1994Jun13.214516.4...@kf8nh.wariat.org> b...@kf8nh.wariat.org 
(Brandon S. Allbery) writes:
>But modules don't link to the GNU C library; they link to the kernel, which is
>not LGPL'ed.  And the "API" is specific to the GPL'ed program in question (the
>kernel!) (compare GNU libmp), so it's not exempt from the GPL.  Or such is my
>understanding.

Thats also as I understand it , but as I've discovered before Lawyers live
in strange and different worlds. For reference btw the Linux syscall interface
is a) a standard API on the whole rather than part of just a GPL program
and b) has a note with the license saying explicitly that using the syscalls
doesnt make your program GPL'd.

ALan

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Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <DHOLLAND.94Jun14122735@husc7.harvard.edu>
From: dholl...@husc7.harvard.edu (David Holland)
Date: 14 Jun 94 12:27:35
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b...@kf8nh.wariat.org's message of Mon, 13 Jun 1994 21:45:16 GMT said:

 > But modules don't link to the GNU C library; they link to the
 > kernel, which is not LGPL'ed.  And the "API" is specific to the
 > GPL'ed program in question (the kernel!) (compare GNU libmp), so
 > it's not exempt from the GPL.  Or such is my understanding.

The LGPL wasn't his point; his point was that the module interface is
a published API. By your reasoning, all elisp is GPL'd too, because it
uses an API that's specific to Emacs, which is GPL'd. This is, I hope,
preposterous. 

--
   - David A. Holland          | "The right to be heard does not automatically
     dholl...@husc.harvard.edu |  include the right to be taken seriously."

Path: nntp.gmd.de!Germany.EU.net!EU.net!sunic!seunet!seunet!blox!bj0rn
From: bj...@blox.se (Bjorn Ekwall)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1143@blox.se>
Date: 14 Jun 94 21:40:58 GMT
References: <1994Jun13.103256.5063@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Blox Data AB, Stockholm, Sweden
Lines: 23
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.1 PL8]

Alan Cox (iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr) wrote:
 > In article <2tau1r$...@news.u.washington.edu> t...@u.washington.edu 
 > (Tim Smith) writes:
 > >lilo [Dances With Geeks] <l...@slip-5-16.ots.utexas.edu> wrote:
 > >What do you mean "only among lawyers"?  I doubt that there are many lawyers
 > >who think loadable modules are derivative works.

 > A loadable module is simply a piece of kernel code that got linked slightly
   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
 > later rather than earlier. It depends totally on Linux and it's calling all
   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
 > sorts of internal routines. 

 > Alan

Extremely well put!

The kernel is GPL-ed. All code that is linked to it is therefore also GPL-ed.
The only interface to the kernel that is non-"GPL-virus-infected" is the
syscall API, as this is explicitly extempt from the GPL.
All "official" interpretations of the GPL, as seen in the numerous
discussions in gnu.misc.discuss, are _very_ clear about this.

Bjorn Ekwall == bj...@blox.se

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Path: nntp.gmd.de!Germany.EU.net!EU.net!sun4nl!news.nic.surfnet.nl!tudelft.nl!
news.twi.tudelft.nl!schuller
From: schul...@dutiws.twi.tudelft.nl (Bart Schuller)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <CrFs5u.MJv@dutiws.twi.tudelft.nl>
Organization: Delft University of Technology
References: <newcombe.265.011D475E@aa.csc.peachnet.edu> <newco
 mbe.284.0144D8F4@aa.csc.peachnet.edu> <1994Jun13.214516.4160@kf8nh.wariat.org> 
<DHOLLAND.94Jun14122735@husc7.harvard.edu>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 1994 11:34:41 GMT
Lines: 19

In article <DHOLLAND.94Jun14122...@husc7.harvard.edu>,
David Holland <dholl...@husc7.harvard.edu> wrote:
>
>The LGPL wasn't his point; his point was that the module interface is
>a published API. By your reasoning, all elisp is GPL'd too, because it
>uses an API that's specific to Emacs, which is GPL'd. This is, I hope,
>preposterous. 

The problem is: the module interface isn't a _published_ API. I wouldn't
even call it an API. A kernel module can essentially call any internal
kernel function. IMHO, the _time_ of linking shouldn't alter the GPL-ness
of kernel modules.

Bart.
-- 
  /                           Bart Schuller                            \
 /P.B.Schul...@TWI.TUDelft.NL               webmas...@www.twi.tudelft.nl\
<a href=http://www.twi.tudelft.nl/People/P.B.Schuller.html>My WWW page</a>
 \       Insert your favourite witty saying here, I can't choose!       /

Path: nntp.gmd.de!xlink.net!howland.reston.ans.net!spool.mu.edu!news.clark.edu!
netnews.nwnet.net!news.u.washington.edu!tzs
From: t...@u.washington.edu (Tim Smith)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 17 Jun 1994 06:55:24 GMT
Organization: University of Washington School of Law, Class of '95
Lines: 47
Message-ID: <2trhcs$d3r@news.u.washington.edu>
References: <1994Jun13.103256.5063@uk.ac.swan.pyr> <1143@blox.se>
NNTP-Posting-Host: stein.u.washington.edu

In article <1...@blox.se>, Bjorn Ekwall <bj...@blox.se> wrote:
>The kernel is GPL-ed. All code that is linked to it is therefore also GPL-ed.
>The only interface to the kernel that is non-"GPL-virus-infected" is the
>syscall API, as this is explicitly extempt from the GPL.

Maybe it works that way in your country, but that's not the way it works
over here (United States).  Interfaces are irrelevant.

>All "official" interpretations of the GPL, as seen in the numerous
>discussions in gnu.misc.discuss, are _very_ clear about this.

It doesn't matter what the GPL says.  GPL is a contract.  It therefore
can only bind those who are a party to that contract.  If I write some
code of my own, and I do not use any GPL'ed code in producing my code
(other than uses that would not be covered by copyright), GPL is totally
irrelevant to my code.  This is basic contract law.  I can distribute my
code under my license terms.

If you take my code and link it into a GPL'ed product, *you* have to obey
GPL, *and* you have to obey my license.  You have to do both of these at
the same time, and so it may not be possible, depending on the exact terms
of my license.  The best the owner of the copyright on the GPL'ed code
would be able to do if they didn't like what I was doing would be to
argue some sort of contributory infringement theory.

The big problem with contributory infringement is that the plaintiff has
to show that there are basically no substantial non-infringing uses that
my code can be put to.  That would be very hard, because GPL has been
interpreted by FSF in the past as allowing you to do whatever you want
in the privacy of your own machine--it's only when you want to distribute
the results that you have to worry about it.  This means that my code
does have a substantial non-infringing use (all the uses by people who
don't try to distribute stuff with my code linked in), and so the
contributory infringement theory would fail.

So, this only leaves one question unanswered: if I write code that calls
routines that I know exist in GPL'ed code (and perhaps only in GPL'ed
code), is that a use of the GPL'ed code that requires me to obtain
position of the copyright holder?  If the answer is yes, then my code
will have to be GPL'ed.  If the answer is no, then my code does not have
to be GPL'ed.

In the United States, the answer seems to be that my code would be OK.
It doesn't appear that function names and calling sequences can be
copyrighted.

--Tim Smith

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netnews.nwnet.net!news.u.washington.edu!tzs
From: t...@u.washington.edu (Tim Smith)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Date: 17 Jun 1994 07:13:29 GMT
Organization: University of Washington School of Law, Class of '95
Lines: 21
Message-ID: <2triep$dd7@news.u.washington.edu>
References: <newcombe.265.011D475E@aa.csc.peachnet.edu> 
<1994Jun13.214516.4160@kf8nh.wariat.org> <DHOLLAND.94Jun14122735@husc7.harvard.edu> 
<CrFs5u.MJv@dutiws.twi.tudelft.nl>
NNTP-Posting-Host: stein.u.washington.edu

Bart Schuller <schul...@dutiws.twi.tudelft.nl> wrote:
>The problem is: the module interface isn't a _published_ API. I wouldn't
>even call it an API. A kernel module can essentially call any internal
>kernel function. IMHO, the _time_ of linking shouldn't alter the GPL-ness
>of kernel modules.

It doesn't.  That's a red herring, at least in the United States.  This
sort of thing has come up before in the context of video games.  The
people who make the hardware like to maintain control over the people
that produce the software, and so not only do not publish API's for
their systems, they put in code to try to detect unauthorized cartridges
and refuse to run them.  Third party software developers have therefore
turned to reverse engineering the secret API's, and then producing games
for those systems.  They've been sued for this, and they've won.

This seems to me to be very closely analogous to the situation with
kernel modules, and I'd expect the results to be the same: calling the
API of something (published or unpublished) does not make the caller
a derivative work of the code that provides the API.

--Tim Smith

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Path: nntp.gmd.de!xlink.net!howland.reston.ans.net!pipex!uknet!cf-cm!cybaswan!iiitac
From: iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1994Jun17.124235.11742@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
References: <DHOLLAND.94Jun14122735@husc7.harvard.edu> 
<CrFs5u.MJv@dutiws.twi.tudelft.nl> <2triep$dd7@news.u.washington.edu>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 12:42:35 GMT
Lines: 16

In article <2triep$...@news.u.washington.edu> t...@u.washington.edu (Tim Smith) 
writes:
>This seems to me to be very closely analogous to the situation with
>kernel modules, and I'd expect the results to be the same: calling the
>API of something (published or unpublished) does not make the caller
>a derivative work of the code that provides the API.

Correct.. but in the UK at least linking with something to create one
application leaves you with an application that is a derivative work. It does
however not affect the status of the code before you linked it. There mere
act of linking it makes a derivative work and may be a violation of one
or other license. The module loader is just a linker

Alan

Path: nntp.gmd.de!Germany.EU.net!EU.net!dkuug!eunet.no!nuug!nac.no!news.kth.se!
admin.kth.se!celsiustech.se!seunet!seunet!blox!bj0rn
From: bj...@blox.se (Bjorn Ekwall)
Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1145@blox.se>
Date: 18 Jun 94 00:44:55 GMT
References: <2trhcs$d3r@news.u.washington.edu>
Organization: Blox Data AB, Stockholm, Sweden
Lines: 106
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.1 PL8]

Tim Smith (t...@u.washington.edu) wrote:
 > In article <1...@blox.se>, Bjorn Ekwall <bj...@blox.se> wrote:
 > >The kernel is GPL-ed. All code that is linked to it is therefore also GPL-ed.
 > >The only interface to the kernel that is non-"GPL-virus-infected" is the
 > >syscall API, as this is explicitly extempt from the GPL.

 > Maybe it works that way in your country, but that's not the way it works
 > over here (United States).  Interfaces are irrelevant.

 > >All "official" interpretations of the GPL, as seen in the numerous
 > >discussions in gnu.misc.discuss, are _very_ clear about this.

 > It doesn't matter what the GPL says.  GPL is a contract.  It therefore
 > can only bind those who are a party to that contract.  If I write some
 > code of my own, and I do not use any GPL'ed code in producing my code
 > (other than uses that would not be covered by copyright), GPL is totally
 > irrelevant to my code.  This is basic contract law.  I can distribute my
 > code under my license terms.

This is an important topic that I feel we have to discuss further.
I know that "logical" is not always the equivalent of "legal",
but I hope it is possible to achieve an interpretation of the GPL
that will satisfy both the "logical" and the "legal" aspects...
I have marked some parts of my arguments below with '*', as being
potentially more debatable than the rest.

There are several separate aspects for different categories of "users":
(Glossary: enhanced kernel = original kernel linked with a module.)

-  What can "I" as the copyright holder of "my" code, e.g. a loadable module,
   legally do with the module, the original kernel and the "enhanced" kernel?

-  What can "I" as the _user_ of someone else's code legally do with
   a loadable module, the original kernel and the "enhanced" kernel?

The basic premise is that an original Linux kernel can only be used, modified
and distributed according to the GPL, which is, as you correctly say,
a contract, that allows my use as long as I follow the clauses in the GPL.
One clause of the GPL is a "shrink-wrap" clause, that says (GPL version 1):
* [
*  5. By copying, distributing or modifying the Program (or any work based
* on the Program) you indicate your acceptance of this license to do so,
* and all its terms and conditions.
* ]
The _effects_ of the GPL won't be noticeable until I try to distribute
a GPL-ed program, since really only the redistribution rights are
of any concern for me in the GPL. What anyone does with a program
in the privacy of ones own "environment" doesn't really matter,
since any "infringements" can't be detected.

* Now, I propose that the "enhanced" kernel is a _derivative_ work of the
* original kernel, and thus _also_ falls under the clauses in the GPL.
This is a reading of the GPL that I think is a reasonable interpretation,
independent of if you agree with the goals of the GPL or not.

If I distribute a whole kernel, "enhanced" or not, as a single binary,
or in parts, in the form of object files, is of no consequence, since I am
distributing a kernel in both cases. The only way I can legally do this
is by abiding to the GPL, i.e. in one way or another supply the source
to the recipient, and granting the recipient the same rights that I have
according to the GPL.

The crucial questions are:
- When does the module effectively fall under the GPL?
- Can anyone (re-)distribute _any_ part of the kernel binary-only?
(Nitpicking time: my definition is that distributions are made
by the copyright holder, anyone else does re-distributions.)

As the copyright holder of a piece of code I am of course free to do
whatever I want with it, as long as I have good title to it... or can I?
* My interpretation of the GPL, on the other hand, tells me that I
* am _not_ allowed to distribute my code as a module for a GPL-ed
* program (i.e. a kernel), _unless_ I distribute it according to the GPL!

If I am _not_ the copyright holder of a module (or part of the kernel),
what am I re-distributing if I redistribute the module?
Am I shipping a random collection of bytes or am I shipping a part of a kernel?
* A kernel, or a part of a kernel, can only be redistributed according to
* the GPL.
Which license "wins", if the module license differs from the GPL?
Has the original distributor "broken" the GPL by distributing the module,
if it could be seen as a part of a kernel (i.e. enhanced kernel)?

The difference between a loadable module and a "traditional" module
is that the loadable module has some _additional_ lines of code.
* If I (re-)distribute a "traditional" module, I am really distributing a
* part of an "enhanced" kernel, and this is legal only if I distribute
* the module according to the GPL.
The interesting question is now: do the _additional_ lines, that were
added to the module in order to make it loadable, remove the "GPL-ness"
of the original module, or shouldn't the loadable module be seen as a
derivative work of the non-loadable (and thus GPL-ed) module?

* Another way to put it is that a module is _definitely_ a part of the
* (enhanced) kernel when it is linked to the kernel. This makes me think
* that the module was a part of a kernel even _before_ it was linked/loaded.
* The intent, and only practical use, of a module is to link it to a kernel.
* Thus, the module probably becomes a part of a kernel as soon as it is coded,
* almost certainly when it is (re-)distributed, and definitely when it is used.
* Therefore one could conclude that a loadable module can only be legally
* distributed according to the GPL. I.e. the module has to be GPL-ed.


If this was a simple problem, we would have solved it a long time ago...

Bjorn Ekwall == bj...@blox.se

Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.misc
Path: nntp.gmd.de!xlink.net!howland.reston.ans.net!pipex!bnr.co.uk!uknet!cf-cm!
cybaswan!iiitac
From: iii...@uk.ac.swan.pyr (Alan Cox)
Subject: Re: Latest in PC WEEK (May 30 Editorial)
Message-ID: <1994Jun18.111023.8959@uk.ac.swan.pyr>
Organization: Swansea University College
References: <2trhcs$d3r@news.u.washington.edu> <1145@blox.se>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 1994 11:10:23 GMT
Lines: 12

In article <1...@blox.se> bj...@blox.se (Bjorn Ekwall) writes:
>Which license "wins", if the module license differs from the GPL?
>Has the original distributor "broken" the GPL by distributing the module,
>if it could be seen as a part of a kernel (i.e. enhanced kernel)?

No license 'wins'. You just aren't allowed to build something from multiple
licenses without satisfying them all without contradictions. Thus I can mix
GPL code LGPL code and public domain code. I can add in code which just requirs
credit in the copyright.

Alan

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