Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th May 2006 15:02 UTC, submitted by Matthew Oliver
GNU, GPL, Open Source "We have received an email claiming that the Kororaa Xgl Live CD is in violation of the GPL. I have been researching this as much as I can, asking many prominent people in the Linux world for their opinion. So far, no-one has agreed with the email, however a few have said to seek legal advice, which I cannot afford to do (but can't afford not to do, if I want to continue the Live CD). As such, the Live CD has been put on hold, until I can sort this out. If I cannot sort this out I will be forced to cease work on the Xgl Live CD."
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RE[9]: random topic ;)
by grat on Sun 14th May 2006 23:08 UTC in reply to "RE[8]: random topic ;)"
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I buy AMD systems, and when they have integrated video, it's not going to be Intel based.

If there *are* good, PCI-X standalone Intel cards (And there probably are), I wouldn't know. Generally speaking, it was the idea that you know my hardware requirements better than I do that I found offensive.

Returning to the real discussion:

What the the GPL restricts is your ability to restrict other people when you distribute software under the GPL. If you don't like it, simply don't distribute software under the GPL. The main problem here is not even with the GPL anyway, but the nVidia license.

Well, that may be the case, but it wasn't nvidia that contacted the Kororaa guy. It was (apparently) someone representing themselves as a kernel developer. Interestingly, they apparently haven't contacted the RR4/RR64 developer, or any of the other distros that include the Nvidia binary.

So my question is, what exactly is the problem here? Someone check me on this:

Nvidia binary makes calls to a shim, which is compiled against the kernel. This is all loaded as a distinct kernel module called 'nvidia'.

Apparently the issue here is that the nvidia.ko file on the LiveCD is linked against the running kernel-- It doesn't have GPL code IN it, it has function calls (unless it's statically linked, but that would be silly).

While it's nice to see the GPLv3 dealing with issues such as DRM (which I am morally opposed to, for anyone who cares), the fact that we're working on v3 and nobody knows what is, or isn't legal with regards to non-GPL code executing calls against GPL code (because that's what we're actually talking about), shows some weaknesses in the language of the GPL that needs to be addressed.

Now, if the issue is that "OMG! Kororaa makes the binary drivers more appealing!", then there's a case to be made that the LiveCD is in violation of the spirit of the Free Software Foundation.

So-- Here's the question: Is it a violation of the GPL to execute a runtime call from non GPL code to GPL code?

If the answer is no, then is it a violation of the GPL to *distribute* non-GPL code that makes runtime calls to GPL code?

If so, there are a number of distributions that had better start yanking non-GPL applications, which could, in theory, include small packages such as 'apache2'.

Please cite examples, relevant portions of the language, etc, when providing your answer, because this may be one of the most important questions facing GPL (And linux adoption).

Finally, if it is a violation of the Nvidia license, can someone please provide appropriate quotage? I'm currently installing 10.1 on the other screen, and really don't feel like wading through pages and pages of license speak. ;)

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