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 467351
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: not that complicated
by Carewolf on Tue 22nd Mar 2011 11:51 UTC in reply to "not that complicated"
Carewolf
Member since:
2005-09-08

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