raymond at wagnerrp
Oct 31, 2011, 9:09 AM
Post #15 of 20
On 10/31/2011 11:43, Ian Clark wrote:
Re: BGT3600 - Ultimate UK DVB-T2 and DVB-S2 Tuner?
[In reply to]
> On 30 October 2011 23:09, Richard Morton<richard.e.morton [at] gmail> wrote:
>>>> that work on all distros, and don't inflame the (seemingly very
>>>> vocal) purists who won't allow non-GPL code to taint the kernel.
>>> Regarding that point, "purists" have nothing to do with it.
>>> It's a simple legal requirement -- the kernel is licensed under GPL,
>>> and any distributed extension/modification to it must therefore also be
>>> Drivers are part of the kernel.
>> I dont buy that argument, drivers shouldnt be in the kernel, they should
>> link to the kernel, nvidia doesnt release their source.
> Even linking to the kernel could mean you fall foul of the GPL. There
> have been distributions unwilling to distribute the nVidia drivers
> because of this legal grey area!
If you are interfacing directly with the kernel using GPL methods, then
you must be licensed using the GPL as well. However, that is not
exactly what proprietary drivers like the nVidia graphics drivers are
doing. nVidia has a middle layer that sits in between the kernel and
the driver. This middle layer is the part that you compile yourself
when installing the drivers downloaded from nVidia's website. The
middle layer is licensed GPL to be kosher linking with the kernel.
Their drivers then interface with this middle layer.
Now you may say that since this middle layer is GPL, and they are
connecting to it, then the proprietary module needs to be GPL as well
just as when linking directly to the kernel. No. That's not how this
works. They didn't write the kernel, so they have to comply with
whatever licensing the kernel developers offer. They did write the
middle layer, so they can do whatever they please with it. They license
a copy of it GPL for public distribution, and they license it to
themselves, so they can link to it with proprietary code.
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