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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 20:38:31 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Alfred M. Szmidt" <> writes:

>    > They [Linux] 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.
> This isn't modification of the license.  It is adding an execption to
> the license, much like only licensing something under only the
> GPLv2.

Not even that.  It is a declaration of interpretation, if you bother
to read it.  Not a _change_ of the license, merely clarifying how
Linus interprets it.  If he subsequently changes his mind, he'll have
a hard time suing people.  That's all.

>    The reason why kernel is GPL while glibc is LGPL is because of
>    syscall note. On certain architecture it wouldnt matter wheather
>    you call kernel or dynamic library.
> Simply false. The reason why glibc is LGPL is to allow propietery
> code to be used on GNU and its variants;

Well, I guess that is more of a side effect...  RMS is not really
overly happy with the LGPL (that's the reason for the name change to
Lesser GPL), but having to defend the FSF's interpretation of linking
on a GPLed glibc would not really be something prudent.

> if glibc was GPLed, ann programs that use glibc must also be GPL.

I think it is better that this particular theory is not going to be
tested in court with the glibc.  In a related scenario, NetBSD libedit
is AFAIK API-compatible with readline.  Source code that can without
adaptation or modification use either of the libraries can't be called
derivative of readline, so the case has become muddier since the times
that readline was the only implementation of its API.

Of course, distributing closed binaries linked in a way that work only
with one library or even contain it could be requirement to heed the
conditions for derived works.

But the availability of libedit is certainly a setback for the
positive effects for free software promulgation due to readline being

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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