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Re: New Software License idea: "The Freedom License."

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: New Software License idea: "The Freedom License."
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 16:11:21 +0200

Sorry folks, forgot one thing.

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> Alan Mackenzie wrote:
> >
> > Alexander Terekhov <> wrote on Tue, 23 May 2006 22:53:49 
> > +0200:
> >
> > > Joerg Schilling wrote:
> >
> > >> In article <sblv4e.lb1.ln@acm.acm>, Alan Mackenzie  <> wrote:
> > >> >Karen Hill <> wrote on 22 May 2006 16:49:50 -0700:
> >
> > >> >What is wrong with this?  Commands like make have evolved considerably
> > >> >since 1972.  However, inside the GNU make info page you can read this:
> > >> >
> > >> >       GNU `make' conforms to section 6.2 of `IEEE Standard 1003.2-1992'
> > >> >    (POSIX.2).
> >
> > >> Do you believe all false claims?
> >
> > > Alan believes that taking two separate and independent computer program
> > > works (separate and independent under copyright law, according to the
> > > AFC test) and combining them together in a compilation (see 17 USC 101)
> > > creates a "derived work" (see the GNU Copyleft Act) akin to "embryo
> > > which is derived from the egg and sperm." I gather that he also
> > > believes that linking is akin to sex without condoms (and that it is
> > > not oral or anal).
> >
> > HaHaHaHa!  Is this really the best you can manage, Alex?
> I'd just like to add that Alan's beliefs are inspired by maniac Moglen's
> beliefs. Eben calls it "interpenetration". Uh, maniac.
> -----
> LWN: So, if the kernel is covered solely by the GPL, you would see
> proprietary modules as an infringement?
> Eben: Yes. I think we would all accept that. I think that the
> degree of interpenetration between kernel modules and the remainder
> of the kernel is very great, I think it's clear that a kernel with
> some modules loaded is a "a work" and because any module that is
> dynamically loaded could be statically linked into the kernel, and
> because I'm sure that the mere method of linkage is not what
> determines what violates the GPL, I think it would be very clear
> analytically that non-GPL loadable kernel modules would violate the
> license if it's pure GPL.
> -----
> Oh, BTW, I find it kind of exciting that FSF's own director and lead
> counsel in fact (and "in all good faith") doesn't really understand
> the licensing terms relevant to the use of Linux!
> <quote>
> One specific area where the linking question arises is in the
> Linux kernel, where proprietary video drivers loaded are loaded
> as modules. Another one might be the use of a network driver
> that relies on proprietary firmware that is loaded from an
> operating system. (Such firmware, sometimes called "blobs," are
> strings of hexadecimal digits loaded from the operating system
> kernel into the hardware device to enable it to run.)
> Moglen: In all good faith, I can't tell you. If the kernel were
> pure GPL in its license terms, the answer...would be: You couldn't
> link proprietary video drivers into it whether dynamically or
> statically, and you couldn't link drivers which were proprietary in
> their license terms.
> </quote>
> -----
> Eben: The kernel also maintains a technical mechanism, namely the
> GPL-only symbols and tainting structure, which seems to suggest an
> API for the connection of non-GPL'ed code to the kernel, which also
> seems to me a strong indication of the presence of an exception.
> The difficulty as a lawyer, even a lawyer that is reasonably
> knowledgeable about these matters, is that I don't understand what
> the terms of that exception are.
> So, say I want to audit a system, say an embedded product, in which
> I find non-GPL loadable kernel modules present, how do I know
> whether that fits within an exception which is legitimately
> available to third parties and when it is not?
> [...]
> So then there are parties in the world who think they are in legal
> trouble on one side with the regulators if they do release source
> code for loadable kernel modules that drive their software-
> controlled radios, and they don't know if they're in legal trouble
> on the other side if they don't release source code. For those
> parties, in particular, it would be very helpful if the kernel
> developers had decided to formalize the nature of their exceptions,
> and the Free Software Foundation and I have made a few attempts to
> discuss that matter with kernel developers. I had conversations
> with Ted Ts'o, I talked to Linus about it and I understood there
> were some reluctances to clarify, in a full and complete way, what
> was going on. There may have even been disagreements among kernel
> developers about that, I wouldn't know. But I continue to think
> that it would be useful, for a whole variety of people who are
> trying in good faith to do the very best they can, and who may be
> navigating some dodgy legal territory, for them to be able to
> refer to something beyond the COPYING file which -- with all due
> respect -- I think probably doesn't contain all the terms that are
> relevant to the use of the kernel.
> -----
> regards,
> alexander.

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