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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 19:18:04 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux) writes:

> David Kastrup wrote:
>> writes:
>> >> > can be not-GPL, while programs using GPL library has to be GPL.
>> >>
>> >> It depends on whether the program can work without this _specific_
>> >> library or kernel.
>> >>
>> > So... tell me about kernel I can easily switch to - without
>> > recompiling glibc AND changing source. System calls are very similar
>> > in FreeBSD and Linux, however system call 208 for example is
>> > different.
>> The law does not make a significant difference between dynamic and
>> static linking, and recompiling would probably be held to the same
>> standard as long as the headers don't contain significant
>> copyrightable material.
> You didnt answer

>> (It depends on whether the program can work without this _specific_
>> library or kernel.).

> Can glibc work without linux kernel?

See <URL:>.

> Now what is difference between glibc not working w/o kernel and some
> GUI program not working w/o library.  FSF says kernel OK, program
> not.

Again: glibc does not depend on a particular kernel.  I _am_ somewhat
surprised that the current version is running on such a limited number
of platforms, though.  That had not always been the case.

You might want to check <URL:> and
similar, I'd think that they would make use of glibc, too.

>> That does not help in itself.  Creating an artificial API does not
>> create an independent work abstraction as long as the library
>> remains the only actual implementation of that API.
> I tried to point it out during OpenGl example, probably wrong way.
> There is an API (well documented) for library and there are two or
> more libraries using the API. One is GPL licensed and the rest
> not. The product doesnt have to be a GPL licensed.
> Personally I think this falls under "If identifiable sections of that
> work are not derived from the Program,.." text from section 2, but
> anyway:
> True/False?

Uh what?

> Actually what I said here few post back was that there is no technical
> difference between calling syscall and library.
> Function problem is same in both cases: glibc wont work w/o kernel and
> program w/o library. You say the difference is that kernel is
> implementing standard API (POSIX and SYSTEM V.. not really sure), while
> library is using some API intended only for this library.
> Correct?

Depends on library in question, system call in question and other
stuff.  If a system call is used for manipulating a Linux-specific
in-kernel data structure, things might possibly be viewed differently.
However, the kernel license NOTE would make it hard for Linus to press
this in court without getting an estoppel defense.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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