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19 votes

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

Do you customers have any right to modify the source they've been given? Do they have the right to distribute the code without your permission? Do they have the right to distribute modified versions ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Can the Linux kernel be released under GPLv3?

When this question was asked, the kernel's COPYING file started with the following comment (second paragraph): Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel is concerned is ...
Stephen Kitt's user avatar
  • 4,203
12 votes
Accepted

Linux Kernel v0.01 source code licensing

As Mark Plotnick notes, version 0.01 of Linux was released under its own, fairly liberal crayon license. The only problem with it is that it prohibits any distribution fee, which would make it GPL-...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,939
11 votes

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

No. Just no. Firstly, this has nothing to do with a CoC. If it was possible for developers to de-license code after release last month, then it's possible this month; if it wasn't possible last ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
10 votes

Commercialize Linux Application with SPIDEV

It is the Linux' community's understanding that userland code is not affected by the Kernel's GPL license. In particular: interacting with the Kernel through syscalls is fine by extension, ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
9 votes
Accepted

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

Meanwhile the Software Freedom Conservancy published a statement which explains it quite well https://sfconservancy.org/news/2018/sep/26/GPLv2-irrevocability/ The answer is: no. As a summary: By ...
Björn Schießle's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

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

According to what Linus says his lawyers say, this is a means of "codifying the intention in the code itself", so it does have legal significance. For more information, you should read the LWN.net ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,939
9 votes
Accepted

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

One of the main differences between GPLv2 and GPLv3 is the so called "anti Tivoization clause", meant to prevent "Tivoization". From https://www.gnu.org/licenses/quick-guide-gplv3.en.html: ...
Mans Gunnarsson's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

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

I don't think your question admits of an answer better than "you are right, it's not a great idea". But it may help to know you're not the only person who thinks this way. I heard Georg Greve, ex-...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
8 votes
Accepted

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

Considering that Canonical has a Silver Membership in the Linux Foundation, I think it's safe to assume the Foundation is aware of its use of the mark in Ubuntu marketing and has either granted tacit ...
apsillers's user avatar
  • 36.2k
8 votes
Accepted

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

Yes, they can. Firstly, the kernel is licensed under GPLv2 with a syscall exception, which says that the kernel's "copyright does not cover user programs that use kernel services by normal system ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
8 votes

Which licence(s) is Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) using?

In general, a Linux distribution does not have a single license, as it is an aggregation of various separate components. While I haven't looked at ASL specifically, taking some pretty common ...
Philip Kendall's user avatar
8 votes

Which licence(s) is Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) using?

Different components of AGL have different licenses though all the ones I saw when browsing their git repository are open source. From one of the links you posted their git repo can be accessed at: ...
slebetman's user avatar
  • 739
7 votes

Can the Linux kernel be released under GPLv3?

The part of the COPYING file which says this is in the appendix which gives GNU's recommendations for how to apply the license. Just because they recommend that authors use that text and allow their ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
7 votes

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

Source code distributed as 'proprietary' usually does not come with the legal rights that open-source code does. In a nutshell: You cannot legally modify it You cannot legally redistribute it You ...
520's user avatar
  • 181
7 votes
Accepted

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

Userspace is fine. According to the syscall exception, regular programs that interface with the kernel "by normal system calls" are not subject to GPLv2 obligations. If your userspace ...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 5,367
7 votes

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

Short answer - yes. The kernel is it's own project, and as long as you follow the license terms, you can publish your own modified version without having to publish a whole operating system around it.
Mureinik's user avatar
  • 5,142
6 votes

Does GPLv2 prohibit torrenting Linux ISOs?

Per this article published while the GPL 3.0 was drafted (and mentioned by apsilers): We have made two changes that recognize and facilitate distribution of covered works in object code form using ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

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

I am not a lawyer, but here are my two cents: "This means that this eBPF module needs to be under GPL license." Actually, the code needs to be GPL-compatible. This, from the point of view of ...
oarcas's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes

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

The GPL only applies to derivative works of the GPL-covered software. In particular: if you modify the covered software, or if you include the covered software (whether in whole or in part) into ...
amon's user avatar
  • 39k
6 votes
Accepted

What does the binary blob in the linux kernel do?

Most of the binary blobs in Linux are in device drivers, and most of those are in WiFi drivers. Their function is to be the operating code for the hardware on the device; unless they're loaded when ...
MadHatter's user avatar
  • 49.2k
6 votes

Which licence(s) is Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) using?

I found this: Anyone is free to access and use the deliverables of the project, and everyone is invited to contribute back to the project. This statement is found on the Join - Automotive Grade ...
Ross Presser's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

linking closed source with linux-vdso.so.1

The linux-vdso-so.1 library is provided by the Linux Kernel for making system calls more efficiently. See also: Where is linux-vdso.so.1 present on the file system The Linux Kernel is licensed as ...
Brandin's user avatar
  • 2,585
5 votes

Source request for a GPL-licensed Linux kernel module?

I know it may be late now but if you still have that version of the binary module, you can ask for the source code by emailing to [email protected]. Apparently they have now switched to ...
Luca Citi's user avatar
  • 151
5 votes

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

The eBPF Guide: eBPF and GPL Licensing specifically addresses this. Regarding eBPF Programs The kernel eBPF verifier ensures that in case GPL helpers are referenced in your eBPF program, then your ...
TheDiveO's user avatar
  • 151
5 votes

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

I would not touch it, because of the proprietary licence. Why Idealism Practicality What are (some of) the practical implications? If a change is needed to the driver in the future. Then no one but ...
ctrl-alt-delor's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Using Linux Kernel Bits in a Apache License v2 software

Taking a GPL-licensed file, modifying it (regardless how much), and distributing it under an Apache license is a blunt copyright violation. The GPL applies to the file, and all of its derivatives. ...
planetmaker's user avatar
  • 11.2k
5 votes
Accepted

How to embed a proprietary driver with Linux on a device?

This is kind of... an open problem. A lot of Linux systems find different ways to link binary blobs of proprietary drivers to GPL-licensed OS libraries, and... they might all run afoul the GPL, and ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 512
4 votes
Accepted

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

You could write your own kernel and license it in any way you like since you would be the author, but it wouldn't be the Linux kernel. However in your question you seem to say that you would be ...
Zimm i48's user avatar
  • 5,597
4 votes

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 ...
Philippe Ombredanne's user avatar

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