Subject: Re: Question regarding modules/pluggins license?
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 01 Mar 2004 11:04:48 -0500

Alexander Terekhov <> writes:

> Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> [...]
> > A number of people have argued that if the only implementation 
> > of an API is under the GPL, and if the API is not independently 
> > described, nor managed by a standards organization, then 
> > writing to that API is, in effect, creating a derived work of 
> > the software which implements the API.
> Look at your Linux CD (or Hurd-based something for that matter).
> The LGPL'd glibc IS linked with the GPL'd kernel(s). It is 
> basically a "plug in" thing with respect to the kernel(s) (it 
> IS inherently kernel specific stuff). Many of those internal 
> kernel interfaces are neither independently described, nor 
> managed by a standards organization... yet nobody's suing the 
> distributors. Amazing.

There is nothing amazing about this, since Linux kernel distributions
has long carried this note in the COPYING file:

      NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
    services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use
    of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
    Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software
    Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux
    kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.

In other words, even if we assume that such a suit could succeed, the
only people who have the standing to file it have stated publically
that they will not do so.

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