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.
Thread beginning with comment 467331
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Linus Torvalds weighs in
by lemur2 on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 08:53 UTC
Member since:

Linus calls these claims bogus. Userland programs are not derivatives of the kernel, there is no copyright violation, and indeed userland programs are *expected* to use the kernel header files in order to interface with the kernel.

Way back in the early days of Linux, shortly after Linus Torvalds switched the kernel from his own "non-commercial" license to the GPL, he also added an important clarification to the kernel's license. In the COPYING file at the top of the kernel tree since mid-1993, there has been a clear statement that Torvalds, at least, does not consider user-space programs to be derived from the kernel, and thus are not subject to the kernel's license:

This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".

Reply Score: 6