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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Rocinante
Member since:
2005-11-18

I'm interested in how it exactly violates the GPL. I know you can't include non-gpl code with GPL code, but I thought that if you include the packages separately with option to install them somewhere along the way that's some kind of loophole?

Feel free to correct me, this is one part of the GPL that's very cloudy and I would sincerely like to know where the line is drawn without diving into legalese ;)

Reply Parent Score: 5

miscz Member since:
2005-07-17

I think the loophole is that binary driver developers use a layer which is compatible with GPL but also allows linking to binary blobs. It's a gray area but seems OK with most kernel developers.
Distros don't ship binary drivers for two reasons:
-free software philosophy
-need for agreement with company that created the driver

I might be wrong too though ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

Rocinante Member since:
2005-11-18

Thanks ;)

Reply Parent Score: 1

wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

..AND the fact that the Linux API may change at some point, making a binary driver unusable until the company cares to change it, compile it and distribute it again. Remember the infamous case of the SM56 Motorola softmodem, who got its own binary driver for exactly one kernel version, Mandrake something or other and then never again.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

No, it's a violation that only the user should decide to make. There is nothing cloudy about it. You cannot legally link GPL with non-GPL compatable code. This might have been different were the kernel licensed under LGPL, but the GPL specifically prohibits it.

There kernel developers seem more pragmatic about certain underlining issues, thus their decision to continue supporting the GPLv2. But the GPL clearly states its terms regarding library linking.

Edited 2006-11-25 00:21

Reply Parent Score: 3

Rocinante Member since:
2005-11-18

What if the drivers are in the package listing, and they're opt-in during the install? Who's to say that isn't what they might try to stay in terms?

Reply Parent Score: 1

Mitarai Member since:
2005-07-28

Sorry but you are wrong, I program or driver that links to GPL code makes it GPL but a GPL program or driver linking none GPL code doesn't make it GPL by magic and is legal.

This is a violation of the GPL "Spirit" but not a violation of the GPL license and the spirit ain't nothing but a poor excuse to justify the holes of the GPL license.

Edited 2006-11-25 00:57

Reply Parent Score: 5

abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

No, it's a violation that only the user should decide to make. There is nothing cloudy about it. You cannot legally link GPL with non-GPL compatable code. This might have been different were the kernel licensed under LGPL, but the GPL specifically prohibits it.

Actually the GPL does not prohibit linking to non GPL code. The GPL prohibits distributing it but nothing else. In fact the GPL explicity says that you can do anything you want to the code. The exceptions only come into play if you are distributing code. The GPL is a license to distribute, not a EULA. There is a gray area when it comes to what you consider derived works and whether or not binary blobs can be distributed if they are tied in some way to the kernel, but Nvidia gets around that because their binary is universal. If it was Linux-only a case could be made against it but kernel developers don't seem to be interested in those kinds of legal tangles anyway.

Reply Parent Score: 2