Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 18th Apr 2006 17:49 UTC
Linux Efforts to bring glitzy new graphics to Linux are fueling an old conflict: Does proprietary software belong in open-source Linux? The issue involves software modules called drivers, which plug into the kernel at the heart of the open-source operating system. Drivers let software communicate with hardware such as network adapters, hard drives and video cards.
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RE[4]: I'm all for it.
by archiesteel on Wed 19th Apr 2006 01:25 UTC
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if ATI or Nvidia were to ship a version of the Linux kernel with their proprietary drivers built in, and not offer the source to the modifications that they made - would that be OK? Or would it be in violation of the GPL?

It would in fact be a violation of copyright law. The GPL permits redistribution of IP only if certain conditions are met, and linking or combining with proprietary modules is not permitted.

Not that it is not the act of combining GPLed and proprietary code that is illegal, rather it is the redistribution of that combination that constitutes a violation of copyright.

Offering binary modules that operate in kernel space really is no different, as far as I see it.

It's quite different, actually, as I explained above. One is legal, the other one isn't.

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