[openbeos] Re: gpl licensing

  • From: Charlie Clark <charlie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 15:52:07 +0200

On 2005-08-02 at 17:55:57 [+0200], mphipps1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> If the interface is public and well documented, it seems to me that
> anyone could write code for it under any license. Take, for example,
> Linux. Judging from what the GNU folks wrote, it would seem to me that
> you can not write a closed source binary driver for Linux.  All of the
> criteria are met - they share data structures (ioctl, for one), the
> driver calls functions in the kernel (allocating memory, for one) and is
> called (vfs_read or whatever they call it). It would seem to me that
> that would be a violation. That sort of reasoning is why I think that
> they FAQ is wrong in that regard.
> But, of course, I am not a lawyer.

No, programmers usually aren't!

Something similar to this came up recently on the Trac list (Trac is an 
issue tracker with hooks into subversion) which has proposed to move from 
GPL to BSD to make it easier for developers to make plugins with other 
licences including commercial ones. It seems that you can get exceptions 
for the GPL and the nVidia drivers et al. are examples of such exceptions. 
However, the general tone of the debate was that it is not a good idea to 
have to apply for such exceptions as it turns programmers into lawyers! ;-)


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