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Re: GPL-ed code in a driver for a proprietary OS


From: richardlang
Subject: Re: GPL-ed code in a driver for a proprietary OS
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2007 17:38:06 -0800
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Nov 8, 1:12 pm, John Hasler <address@hidden> wrote:
> > I'm wondering what the general consensus is on the legitimacy of using
> > GPL-ed code in a driver for a proprietary operating system, in my
> > particular case to generate a file system driver for Windows CE.
>
> No problem at all (assuming you mean GPLv2:
>
>   The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
>   making modifications to it.  For an executable work, complete source code
>   means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any
>   associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control
>   compilation and installation of the executable.  However, as a special
>   exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is
>   normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major
>   components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which
>   the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the
>   executable.
>

I'm dubious.  As stated later on in my origional post, I'm fully aware
of the exception that allows GPL-ed code to make use of libraries/
components of a proprietary OS, but don't think that it's clear that
this means that in turn a proprietary OS can make use of a GPL-ed
module.  Think of the example of Microsoft or another proprietary OS
vendor taking some GPL-ed device driver code written for linux,
putting a wrapper around it in order to use it as a driver DLL and
incorporating it into their OS without needing to open source anything
but the driver itself.  I'd think that would be clearly against the
spirit of the full GPL licence as the Free Software Foundation see it,
and as they drafted the license I'd think that their opinion carries
the weight legally and morally.

Regards,

Richard.




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