Subject: Re: "Derivative Work" for Software Defined
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 08 Jan 2003 08:50:57 -0800

Andre Hedrick <andre@linux-ide.org> writes:

> If one was to go through the pain of creating a set of headers from
> scratch that happen to behave just like the one is the kernel snapshot
> they are referrencing, as a manual to the API.  This obviously is
> extracting the ideas in :
> 
> ./linux-{snapshot_version}/include/{asm,linux,...}
> 
> and creating a new original work :
> 
> ./new-work-{snapshot_version}/include/{asm,os,...}
> 
> These headers are now clean and original works?

I would say that they probably are.  Certainly I and others used
simple versions of this technique when reverse engineering existing
object file formats for the GNU binutils.  The results can be found in
the various subdirectories of include in a binutils distribution.

> If so, how does calling such functions which now are clean and will allow
> one to load in to a kernel anything you want, behave between licenses?
> Is the kernel/program a GPL object or is it an LGPL object ?

This is one of the many cases which I think remain unclear, as has
already been discussed.

But, again, it's not unclear for Linux.  Linus has clearly stated that
loadable binary modules are OK for Linux.  There is no confusion
there.

> More and more this looks unfriendly to binary vendor, and the BSD's seem
> the path to take.

Again, it's a concern for another GPL OS which supports loadable
modules, but it's not a concern for Linux.

Ian
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