Subject: Re: Opinion on this "license"?
From: "Ben Tilly" <>
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2006 19:06:54 -0700

On 10/13/06, Gene Smith <> wrote:
> Gene Smith wrote:
> >
> > This pertains to a kernel driver for a proprietary board.
> When I wrote this I was think "kernel module" which historically can be
> closed source. However, looking back at the code/documentation, it
> appears that this a built-in kernel drivers for linux. Does this not
> obligate anyone who distributes the resulting linux kernel to GPL the
> kernel driver code as well, including the driver?

Nobody is supposed to distribute the resulting linux kernel.  If you
need the driver, you're supposed to download the kernel module and
compile a kernel for yourself.  If you never do anything that requires
copyright permission, you're fine.

There is a legal grey area about whether the kernel module is
derivative of the Linux kernel.  In some cases, Linus has said it
isn't.  In many he thinks that it is, but he hasn't litigated.
Therefore the distributers of this driver certainly have some risk
that they might be sued some day for not following the GPL.

For a selection of Linus' statements on the topic, I highly recommend