Subject: Re: [ppc-mobo] GPL-like Hardware Solution: Remeber the CAD file
From: Ralph Giles <>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 16:49:28 -0700 (PDT)

On Thu, 7 Oct 1999, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

>     John> Can I include a device driver, which is not open sourced? 
>     John> Can I modify the kernel by calling code which is "loaded at
>     John> runtime" which is not open sourced so only the hooks are
>     John> visible?
> Etc., etc.
> Probably not.  Current official interpretation of the GNU GPL as I
> understand it requires you to call non-GPL code by exec'ing a new
> process.  This rules out all the things you want to do, if the code is 
> to be kept secret.  RMS may want to correct this if I've got it wrong.

My understanding is that this is in fact the case, except that Linus is
reported to have said that binary-only module (which do not require
modifications to the core kernel) are in fact ok, and since he's the
nominal head of the project one could argue this makes it a legal
exception to the GPL. At least, I've heard RMS say something to this

I don't have on original reference to this (I assume it's on linux-kernel
somewhere) but certainly not all authors agree on this. It might come down
to who owns the copyright on the affected portions of the kernel.