Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 1st Aug 2006 17:50 UTC, submitted by Moulinneuf
Novell and Ximian In a change of heart, Novell has ceased distributing proprietary software modules such as 3D video drivers that plug into the Linux kernel. The change came with Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server 10, released in July. With the move, Novell is aligning itself with the Free Software Foundation, which shuns proprietary software in general but in particular loathes proprietary modules that run as a component of the open-source Linux kernel.
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RE[6]: LGPL
by mkone on Wed 2nd Aug 2006 07:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: LGPL"
mkone
Member since:
2006-03-14

"Some companies try to skirt the license of the law on how they redistribute their closed source code, forcing the end user of it to do the building and linking, which then causes them to violate the GPL if they want to give that prebuilt module to anyone else. These companies are just plain unethical and wrong."

Quoted from http://www.kroah.com/log/linux/ols_2006_keynote.html

It's exactly that: NVidia's source wrapper approach is just a cheap attempt to pass all the legal problems to the users. Well, OK: If users like it that way, they can always compile and link the proprietary modules themselves, which is legal as long as they don't distribute it, but this scenario is something that a company can definetely not support commercially, it simply doesn't scale. I don't know any Linux distributor that provides commercial support for custom kernel modules.


As far as I understand, companies can't make end users violate the GPL because GPL affects distribution. As long as one is not distributing, one cannot violate the GPL. So end users are not distributing (by assumption), so they do not violate the GPL. If the end user distributes, then they become a distributor and the rules apply. But then again, I do not see the FSF going after those people, but I have been wrong before.

So it is actually an effective of skirting around the GPL and keeping to the letter of the law. Personally, I do not see the problems with NVidia's approach.

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