Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Mar 2011 21:14 UTC, submitted by jbicha
Google Does Google's Android violate the GPL? This bold claim is being made by Edward Naughton, and was picked up here and there across the web. The problem seems to be that Android's Bionic, a glibc alternative, supposedly violates the GPL by stripping the Linux kernel header files of all comments and other extraneous information and relicensing them under a more permissive license so that non-GPL programs can be written. Bradley Kuhn, former FSF executive director and expert on GPL violations, believes the claims are way overblown.
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not that complicated
by TechGeek on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 02:19 UTC
Member since:

AFAIK, header files are NOT copy-writeable. They are similar to book titles.

As for machine generated code, you still start with something that is copyrighted and make a copy of it, at least into memory. There is also the issue that the code is still essentially the same. While it may differ a little, the vast majority of it will be the same in structure making it a derivative work.

Reply Score: 2

RE: not that complicated
by Carewolf on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 11:51 in reply to "not that complicated"
Carewolf Member since:

Well in general. While there is no issue here, the copyright status of header files is not that simple.

Header files are supposed to be interface descriptions, and interfaces can not be copyrighted.

On the other hand, C and C++ makes no distinction between source files and header files, and it is very easy to put non-interface code into the header files, inlined functions, templates and comments are all copyrightable, so you can not make a blanket claim.

Still this is rather stupid. The Linux system-calls are not only header files they are the published APIs for the operating system, they are published for the very purpose of being used by all types of software.

One thing strikes me as odd though: Why did Google feel the need to change the license header? The very fact that makes it legal for them to do so, is the very fact that makes it completely unnecessary.

Edited 2011-03-22 11:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3