Questions tagged [linux-kernel]

Questions about the linux-kernel, a popular kernel of GNU/Linux operating system.

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1answer
107 views

Distributing GPL binary which has no source and unresponsive author

I was found in a situation where some author published a binary which was widely used. Unfortunately he never shared the source despite marking the program as GPL (version not specified). Despite ...
3
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1answer
68 views

Can you make an Operating system runs top of linux kernel but closed source?

Is possible to just make a modified kernel open source but not the operating system?
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1answer
297 views

What does the binary blob in the linux kernel do?

The Linux kernel contains binary blob (link). Linux Foundation and Linux kernel developers issued a statement about that (link, notably the kernel developers statement was not signed by Torvalds). ...
3
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1answer
61 views

Can I modify a GPLv2 licensed kernel module without having the rest of my software GPLv2?

The company that I work for, develops a Linux-based in-house distro, which powers some hardware-based equipment. The project that I am working on, has some proprietary kernel modules, and proprietary ...
2
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1answer
335 views

Can Microsoft legally release a version of Windows with the Linux kernel as a proprietary operating system?

Over the past few years, Microsoft has been increasingly endorsing the Linux Kernel. They allow running a stripped down version of GNU/Linux distros in Windows, and Microsoft Azure uses Linux nowadays....
0
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1answer
40 views

How do you legally sell a hardware product that uses the Linux kernel? [duplicate]

I would like to create a Linux-based OS for a VR headset that I'm developing. From what I understand, the Linux kernel uses the GPL-2 license which allows for commercial use but it also requires you ...
3
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2answers
165 views

How do you sell a hardware product that uses the linux kernel?

I would like to create a Linux based OS for a VR headset that I'm developing. From what I understand, the Linux kernel uses the GPL-2 license which allows for commercial use but it also requires you ...
-2
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1answer
88 views

GPL and “shadow Linux”

This is a follow up of my existing question Does GPL apply to proprietary software that is linked in through a compatibility layer, but has a new major focus (i.e. the shadow Linux). Suppose a Linux-...
0
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1answer
121 views

Why Linus Torvalds and The Linux Foundation should not sue distributions for trademark infringment?

If we go to the Ubuntu website, the first reference to Linux is mid-way through the page, as can be seen in this screenshot: Here in "More than Linux", the word "Linux" is written ...
2
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1answer
62 views

When and how did Linus Torvalds join the Linux Foundation?

Wikipedia says the Linux Foundation was a merger between Open Source Development Labs and the Free Standards Group, so Linus doesn't seem involved in the founding of the foundation itself. When and ...
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2answers
158 views

Develop Proprietary Linux Driver

My company develop a VPN for Linux. I had to develop a driver using kernel space for a Proprietary VPN software. I would like to know if it technically possible to develop it using Proprietary licence,...
2
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1answer
377 views

Why is the ath10k driver nonfree if it ships with Linux?

I was recently attempting to install Debian, and I noticed it said that my wifi card (a Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174) required nonfree drivers. I was able to find the firmware for these, which turned out ...
2
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1answer
402 views

What is the purpose of dual licensed kernel modules?

filename: dc_sunxi.ko license: Dual MIT/GPL author: Imagination Technologies Ltd. <gpl-support@imgtec.com> srcversion: 39B570CC4B56A8FFF5C64C3 depends: pvrsrvkm,...
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2answers
299 views

If APIs aren't (shouldn't be) copyrightable, how can ZFS-on-Linux infringe the GPL?

Note: This is a question about a specific individual's viewpoints and beliefs. Good answers will cite that individual, or other people with similar beliefs. Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom ...
14
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4answers
3k views

When distributing a Linux kernel driver as source code, what's the difference between Proprietary and GPL license?

The company I work for is selling PCIe cards. I'm writing the Linux driver for it as a Linux kernel module. When selling these PCIe cards, we give along the Linux kernel driver as source code. ...
3
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2answers
463 views

Source request for a GPL-licensed Linux kernel module?

We have a CrowdStrike kernel module installed, and this is apparently the license: description: CrowdStrike Pinned Security Module author: CrowdStrike, Inc. license: GPL retpoline: ...
1
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1answer
160 views

Using Linux kernel constants from a UAPI GPL 2.0 file

I would like to use some constants defined in this Linux userspace API header file in my permissive (MIT) licensed project. I could simply #include this header in my project, which will use the ...
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3answers
2k views

Is it possible for Linux developers to retroactively “pull their code” from Linux?

Linux now has a Code of Conduct. In the resulting backlash some people have claimed that developers can "flip a kill switch" or "pull their code" from Linux. They seem to mean that developers can ...
3
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2answers
193 views

Should I distribute the source code of the build tools for a Linux distribution

If I want to distribute a GNU/Linux distribution as a .iso, I must : Distribute the source code of the Linux kernel Distribute the source code of any GPL (or some other license) package included in ...
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4answers
226 views

What's the point of running free software on non-free hardware?

What is the point of running software that does not violate the four freedoms if our hardware does? Most of us have modern hardware which contains backdoors that allow manufacturers to access the ...
2
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1answer
951 views

License of the Linux kernel user space API headers

The Linux kernel is licensed under the GPLv2. The headers that it exports to user space, however, are not covered by the license. This is documented in the kernel's licensing rules: The User-space ...
3
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2answers
2k views

Does program that uses EBPF module needs to be distributed under GPL

I have a question about eBPF and linux kernel licensing. Basically, an eBPF module is a small piece of code that is run inside Linux kernel, and can use kernel methods that are marked as GPL-only (eg. ...
2
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1answer
113 views

Renting out remote access to VMs with a modified GPL kernel

As I have read you can modify and use the Linux kernel if you do not distribute the binary of that modified version. The confusion that I have is that, suppose that if AWS were to provide a kernel ...
3
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1answer
283 views

Implications of using Linux's Kbuild infrastructure in proprietary software

We have our own proprietary software that we are developing for commercial business. We want to sell the software and we do not have any problem in distributing the source code to our customers. Due ...
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2answers
345 views

EOS - How to understand license agreement of Linux kernel derivative?

EOS (the industry-leading, Linux-based network operating system) runs across the entire portfolio of Arista’s network switches as well as in a virtual machine instance (vEOS). EOS operating system ...
8
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1answer
286 views

Does GPLv2 prohibit torrenting Linux ISOs?

According to Richard Stallman: Likewise, in 2006 we learned through the GPL version 3 commenting process that downloading binaries of GPL-covered programs with BitTorrent violated GPL version 2, ...
8
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1answer
421 views

Is an 'un-modifiable' linux a violation of GPLv2?

I have a D-Link DIR-816 router that runs a 'trimmed-down' version of BusyBox v1.12.1 running a linux kernel version 2.6.36 (linsongdeng@gj222d.gj.com) (gcc version 3.4.2) #35 Wed Sep 23 17:23:58 CST ...
3
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1answer
382 views

Can I rewrite the Linux kernel by hand and modify it to escape it from the GPL? [duplicate]

If I took the linux kernel, rewrite it and changed the order and file names and some other stuff, and destroy the original linux kernel, will the new kernel be subject to the terms of the GPL? tl;dr: ...
6
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2answers
4k views

What legal meaning do GPL symbols hold in the linux kernel?

In the linux kernel, several symbols are exported with EXPORT_GPL_ONLY, and as a result are only available if your kernel module contains MODULE_LICENSE("GPL"). Do either of those have any legal ...
5
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1answer
740 views

If software requires a modified (linux) kernel to function, is it considered a derivative work of the linux kernel?

I'm writing a userspace driver which requires some modifications to the Linux kernel to function. The modifications expose new functionality by the sysfs interface. I understand that the ...
7
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3answers
2k views

Can the Linux kernel be released under GPLv3?

From the Wikipedia article on Linux: The Linux kernel is licensed explicitly only under version 2 of the GPL, without offering the licensee the option to choose "any later version", which is a ...
1
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1answer
281 views

Linux Kernel v0.01 source code licensing

The source for the Linux kernel v0.01 can easily be found online, however it does not seem to contain a license or any redistribution rules. Is it, therefore, safe to assume that this code is in the ...
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2answers
78 views

What makes a FOSS project survive its initial critical stage?

We now know that Linux is famous and all, so contributing to the kernel project is the best thing to do, but my question is about the history. The version one of linux was nothing but a small program ...
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3answers
1k views

How can the Linux kernel's main.c file say that one of its copyrights is “all rights reserved” when it's GPL?

Just noticed this in the linux's kernel code main.c: * Copyright (C) 1991, 1992 Linus Torvalds * Copyright 2007 rPath, Inc. - All Rights Reserved * Copyright 2009 Intel Corporation; author H....
32
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2answers
18k views

Why does Linux still use the GPLv2?

As I know, Linux intentionally avoids the switch from GPLv2 to GPLv3. It has the unfortunate side-effect, that it doesn't take part in the defense of the opensource world from the most recent danger, ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Do I have to disclose the source code of a Linux Driver I have not developed?

A 3rd-party Hardware manufacturing company is willing to sell me a Linux Driver for one of their products. The third-party company claims that the Linux Driver is derivative work of the driver they ...
22
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1answer
5k views

What are the differences between GPL V2 and V3 licenses?

One of the most widely used and most popular free and open source software licences is the General Public License. I want to know in simple terms: what are the differences between GPL Version 2 and ...