Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 1st Feb 2007 14:41 UTC, submitted by Oliver
FreeBSD "Linux has a large amount of device drivers for hardware not supported on FreeBSD, especially USB devices. Not rarely, such drivers have been written based on information derived by protocol sniffing, reverse engineering and the like. This makes the code highly undocumented, and renders the porting effort extremely error prone. To help with this task, I decided to start working on an emulation layer that would let us recompile the linux source code on FreeBSD, and provide a sufficiently complete emulation of the kernel APIs so that device drivers (or at least certain classes) could be used without modifications to their source code."
Thread beginning with comment 208026
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
license incompatiablity
by shemminger on Thu 1st Feb 2007 15:40 UTC
shemminger
Member since:
2007-02-01

How does this handle the fact that BSD and GPL licences are not alike?

Reply Score: 1

RE: license incompatiablity
by binarycrusader on Thu 1st Feb 2007 15:54 in reply to "license incompatiablity"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

Because the GPL is not incompatible with the BSD license and the end user is the one doing the driver building most likely.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: license incompatiablity
by butters on Thu 1st Feb 2007 16:04 in reply to "license incompatiablity"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Probably by using the (unfortunately not so well known) fact that NO free software license places restrictions on how you USE the code (as opposed to distributing the code). Rest assured that you are free to link code licensed under incompatible licenses to your heart's content as long as you don't distribute the linked binary.

Now, the author is distributing binary .ko modules, which are presumably built from GPL Linux driver code linked with GPL Linux compatibility code, but also linked with BSD kernel header files. Kernel modules are a grey area in the definition of "derivative work." Many people believe that kernel modules, even distributed separately from the core kernel, are inherently derivative works of the kernel whose headers were linked in at build time. Others think this should be an exception for pragmatic reasons.

Regardless, if you download the sources and build the modules yourself, there is no grey area. This is perfectly legal and, in fact, a right protected by all OSI-approved licenses.

Reply Parent Score: 5

FooBarWidget Member since:
2005-11-11

"Regardless, if you download the sources and build the modules yourself, there is no grey area. This is perfectly legal and, in fact, a right protected by all OSI-approved licenses."

Is that so? The NVidia driver works exactly like this - you download their installer and the installer compiles the kernel module on that machine. Yet lots and lots of people say that this is illegal.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: license incompatiablity
by Oliver on Thu 1st Feb 2007 16:11 in reply to "RE: license incompatiablity"
Oliver Member since:
2006-07-15

It's a test, not the final distribution!

>The two major categories of free software license are copyleft and non-copyleft . Copyleft licenses such as the GNU GPL insist that modified versions of the program must be free software as well. Non-copyleft licenses do not insist on this. We recommend copyleft, because it protects freedom for all users, but non-copylefted software can still be free software, and useful to the free software community.

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/bsd.html

>So, i am making available some pieces of software that you may want to use at your own risk (full source is available in the tarball, most of this code is under a GPL license)

So in the end, if the project is ready for daily work, you have to compile it. But anyway, this is the way in FreeBSD, compiling it from source.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: license incompatiablity
by Cloudy on Thu 1st Feb 2007 17:36 in reply to "RE: license incompatiablity"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

Many people believe that kernel modules, even distributed separately from the core kernel, are inherently derivative works of the kernel whose headers were linked in at build time.

A good example of what many people believe not being so.

One of the few parts of the GPL controversy for which there is any relevant case law is whether linking against headers qualifies as derivation. The courts have ruled that it is not.

The basic legal premise is that headers constitute an interface description and that by definition using an interface is not derivative of the software being interfaced with.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: license incompatiablity
by Joe User on Thu 1st Feb 2007 16:39 in reply to "license incompatiablity"
Joe User Member since:
2005-06-29

Most software on BSD distros is GPL already (KDE, Gnome, X, XFCE, etc...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: license incompatiablity
by Jerry on Thu 1st Feb 2007 17:49 in reply to "RE: license incompatiablity"
Jerry Member since:
2007-02-01

'X' isn't GPL at all..

Please see,
http://ftp.x.org/pub/X11R7.1/doc/README2.html#2

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: license incompatiablity
by dylansmrjones on Thu 1st Feb 2007 16:43 in reply to "license incompatiablity"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

The licenses are not necessarily incompatible. Only the old BSD-license is incompatible with GPL. However, it doesn't matter if the compilation happens at the end user.

Reply Parent Score: 3