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Re: [Qemu-devel] QEMU License and proprietary hardware

From: Johannes Schindelin
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] QEMU License and proprietary hardware
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 19:22:05 +0100 (BST)


On Fri, 22 Jun 2007, Luke -Jr wrote:

> On Friday 22 June 2007 12:37, Johannes Schindelin wrote:
> > If at the same time you make something original, which is not derived from
> > the GPLed program, then you are as free as a bird to sh*t on the GPL with
> > regards to your original work. You can choose whatever license, if any.
> Not if you want to distribute the GPL'd work, or anything derived from it.

You can distribute on the same medium, at the same time, two different 
programs, one GPL, the other not. No problem. None at all.

> > The GPL is only insofar viral as you cannot take something GPLed and 
> > just relicense it at will. Not even when you modify it.
> Then explain the difference between the LGPL and GPL. A license that 
> preserves itself only is pointless without other terms.

No, it is not.

> > However, writing a virtual device that just happens to be dynamically 
> > linkable to QEmu, but might just as well be linked to VMWare, is fine. 
> > This virtual device is clearly _not_ derived from QEmu.
> That allows you to distribute the virtual device by itself, not 
> alongside with Qemu.

To the contrary. You can distribute them both at the same time, under 
different conditions, much like you can distribute QEmu with parts GPL, 
parts LGPL, and parts BSD.

> > Besides, QEmu's core is LGPL. Not GPL.
> Good point, and makes this entire argument mostly irrelevant.

Not at all. If it was a derivative work of the LGPLed part, it would still 
have to be LGPLed.

> > > It is undisputed that it would be in violation if the kernel was 
> > > distributed with the modules.
> >
> > Nope. It is not undisputed.
> It is undisputed by anyone who has ever considered the issue as part of 
> deciding whether or not to do it.

There are distributions which deliver closed source binary-only modules. 
Many LiveCDs for example.

> > > It is also fairly clear (the opinions of many kernel developers and 
> > > IP lawyers) that proprietary modules for Linux are illegal to 
> > > distribute.
> >
> > Nope. Not at all.
> http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html

That is Greg's opinion. There are others. Notably Linus'.

> > I'd rather have your virtual device open sourced, but if you cannot do 
> > that, I'd rather have it closed-source, than not at all.
> I would never buy software without source. Hopefully someday I can apply 
> this to hardware as well.

That is your freedom.

Frankly, I get really bored by the license discussions these days. Gone 
seem the days where you discussed code and algorithms on the mailing 
lists. Sigh.


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