Subject: Re: GPL'ed vs. almost public domain device drivers
From: "Adam J. Richter" <>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 11:13:23 -0800

>>> == Joel Weber
>>  == Adam Richter
>   == Jonathan Magid

>>>Someone in the BSD community claimed that a device driver is more likely to
>>>be shared between the BSD community and the Linux community if it originates
>>>in the BSD community, because the Linux community will gpl their drivers
>>>in most cases, and the bsd community wants to allow proprietary derivatives.

>> This would result in Linux having more device drivers, which is the case.

>Except that my understanding is that Linus considers the GPL and Berkeley
>copyrights incompatible, and prefers not to put Berkeley-licensed source
>in the kernel. The reasoning is that the BSD requirement for credit in
>advertisements, etc. is contrary to the the GPL requirement that there be
>no additional restrictions posed on distribution.

>So, to include drivers from either camp in the other's kernel requires a
>re-licensing by the author (which happens rather often I think- Linux and
>BSD folks seem to work together fairly often).

/usr/src/linux/drivers/drivers/net/bsd_comp.c in the latest linux-2.0.33
sources contains such advertising restrictions.

My suspicion is that such restrictions can be interpreted as operating
by means other than copyright or maybe being unenforceable.  For example,
I do not believe that you can use my name right now to endorse your
products without my permission, even if we were talking about a product
that is not subject to copyright in the first place, such as tennis shoes.
Similarly, it could be argued that the credit requirements really
are just intended to prevent misleading advertising.  This is just
speculation on my part, however.

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