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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Temcat
Member since:
2005-10-18

IANAL, but I see the "proprietary via GPL bridge" case in the following way:

1) If the GPL part is supplied in the source-code form and compiled during installation, there is no way to claim GPL violation at all, since no distribution in the binary, linked form takes place.

2) However, if the GPL part is distributed already compiled and linked with the kernel, the situation is different. Let's forget about the kernel for a minute and look at the GPL bridge and the proprietary blob first. While consisting of two parts, the bridge + blob combination is essentially a single work, since the intended purpose of the two is to work together and the former explicitly loads the latter. Now, being the copyright owner of both parts, NVidia has the right to combine them as they see fit, regardless of licenses, but the license for this combined work is not GPL! Therefore we have a non-GPL work linked to GPL kernel - which is a violation.

Reply Parent Score: 1

molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Good points, but your argument hinges on considering the blob+wrapper a single work. They are not. For instance, the blob works without the wrapper on other unix platforms (FreeBSD, Solaris), or non-unix platforms. They aren't entirely separate either, for the blob communicates with the kernel through the wrapper, which is analogous with the GPL situation (the restrictive license of the blob communicates with the GPL licensed kernel through the wrapper as well ;) ). At any rate, including the NVidia driver on the ISO is certainly not an explicit GPL violation - that was just rhetorics to make the situation sound more dramatic. NVidia's case is at worst, a legal grey area, not explicit violation.


Another note: the wrapper is GPL compatible, not GPL itself as far as I know...

Reply Parent Score: 1

Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

the blob works without the wrapper on other unix platforms

Yeah, but here we distribute them as part of a Linux distro, not just as a random collection of software bits. In this context, they are here with a specific purpose and don't make sense without each other. This purpose (or intent) is what is likely to ultimately count in court.

At any rate, including the NVidia driver on the ISO is certainly not an explicit GPL violation

True, it's more of a grey area - though I tend to see the situation in the darker shades of this color ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 1