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Re: Can linux kernel claim it uses GPL v2?

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Can linux kernel claim it uses GPL v2?
Date: Sat, 07 Oct 2006 17:03:42 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux) writes:

> David Kastrup wrote:
>> writes:
>> > Can linux kernel claim they distribute the kernel under conditions of
>> > GPL v2, while they use modified version of GPL v2
>> They did not modify GPLv2.
> They most certinally did. You can see file COPYING yourself. They
> adjusted term "derived work" - the most uncertain of all. It has legal
> meaning, but they changed it.

Wrong.  The _only_ difference as compared to GPLv2 is that _before_
the license text itself, we have

      NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
    services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use
    of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
    Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software
    Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the linux
    kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.
                          Linus Torvalds

Under no jurisdiction I know does the use of a system call create a
derived work.  The whole idea of a system call is to provide an API
that can call the given services _without_ requiring an act of address
resolution aka linking.

You are spreading misinformation.

> You cant adjust key term of license and expect it to stay same.

No adjustment whatsoever takes place.

> For derived code look at: US Code title 17, kapitole 1 a ยง101.

And your point was?

>> > (thanks to this modification glibc doesnt have to be GPL, but can be
>> > LGPL)?
>> Where do you get those ideas?
> Which ones?

That the license note by Torvalds has _anything_ whatsoever to do with
glibc/GPL/LGPL.  That's really utter hogwash.

> The reason why kernel is GPL while glibc is LGPL is because of
> syscall note.

Not really.  The reason is that there is a clear cut separation of
functionality with a _standard_ API between them.  Also glibc works
fine on a number of systems without Linux kernel, so it can hardly be
called derived from the kernel.  And the case does not become better
by GNU libc having existed before Linux.

> Technically it would be same - same code would be used for calling
> kernel and same for dynamic library. Since using GPL dynamic library
> requires you to release your code under GPL and kernel is under GPL
> then program calling kernel through syscall has to be GPL.


David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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