Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 24th Nov 2006 23:05 UTC, submitted by SEJeff
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Mark Shuttleworth is trying to entice OpenSUSE developers to join Ubuntu. "Novell's decision to go to great lengths to circumvent the patent framework clearly articulated in the GPL has sent shockwaves through the community. If you are an OpenSUSE developer who is concerned about the long term consequences of this pact, you may be interested in some of the events happening next week as part of the Ubuntu Open Week."
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2005-07-13

This issue has been beaten to death by Greg Kroah-Hartman and some other core kernel developers.

Including Linus, who unlike GKH, points out the derived work clause.

The nvidia binary driver is a universal blob that works on win and *nix using an OS-specific kernel wrapper. As Linus pointed out, it would be hard to consider the blob a derived work of the linux kernel.

Now no lawyer will ever come out in public and say this, as lawyer really aren't allowed to make public statements like this at all. But if you hire one, and talk to them in the client/lawyer setting, they will advise you of this issue."

And that is a cop-out from him. The internet is littered with lawyers giving their unsolicited opinion on everything under the sun. Lawyers are not regulated or restricted from making statements like this.

Besides, nvidia's lawyers seem to have a different opinion owing to the fact that nvidia makes *pre-compiled* kernel modules available for download specifically for Novell at Novell's request, and probably at Novell's expense as well because I'm not aware of any other distro they specifically maintain a repo for. Novell, of course, being GKH's employer.

Now the kernel wrapper is compiled against the kernel, which puts it under GPL licensing. Yet it is distributed linked to a binary blob and distributed from nvidia's own public server (ftp://download.nvidia.com/novell). Clearly this would be a violation, so how are they doing it? It's not like nvidia is new to the linux game.

Maybe the fact that no lawyer will come out in public and say it is "illegal" means that it is a grey area and one that does not, in fact, have a definitive answer. After all, if the law was black and white we would not need lawyers in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily saying binary drivers are GPL compatible. I'm just saying that not all binary drivers are necessarily GPL incompatible.

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