[ubuntu-uk] Microsoft Releases Linux Device Drivers as GPL

Andy Smith andy at strugglers.net
Wed Jul 22 02:16:58 BST 2009


On Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 05:47:37PM +0100, Rob Beard wrote:
> Dave Walker wrote:
> > Rob Beard wrote:
> > Well part of the standard clause of GPLv2 states:
> >
> > "This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
> > under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
> > Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
> > option) any later version." [0]
> >
> > IANAL, but to me that states that anything released under GPLv2 is
> > automatically compatible with GPLv3, and any later license if it suits me.
> >
> > [0] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.txt
> >   
> That's what I thought.  So surely GPL v3 modules could be used in the 
> Linux kernel then?

There are a mix of GPL license texts in the kernel; some don't
contain any versioning information -- which some argue means that
there are already portions of the kernel licensed under v3 (or
later!) as when no version is specified, any may be used!

Linus Torvalds has stated that all his code is v2 only, but *many*
contributors have not.

As others have pointed out, the above text is only a suggestion.
You should not be surprised that FSF would love to convince you to
allow your code to eventually be distributed under
GPLv48-Son-of-Stallman, in which only those with beards can
distribute it.  Not everyone wants to be that Free about it.

However a kernel module can be whatever license you like as long as
it can be linked with (and a derivative work of) all the
GPL-licensed code in the kernel.  I don't know if a GPLv3 module
would be accepted into the tree, but I imagine it's legal.

> Or is it because this code is going to be part of the kernel (even so I 
> presume as a module) that it can't be released under the GPL v3?

..but it's really academic because right now Linus says GPL v2 for
his stuff, most everyone thinks of the entire kernel as being v2,
and v2 is the path of least resistance.


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<GeorgeWBush> I'm still banned on #ubuntu-uk though. Or should I say,
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