What's the deal with Deno? We talk with a major contributor to find out. Listen now.
59

Two things. First, Linux does not require contributors to assign copyright to some central person. Copyright on it is spread out among many, many people (including some who are dead, in which case much effort would be required to figure out who inherited the copyright). Any of them could stop a license switch, unless someone goes through and removes all ...


19

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 of your code? All of those would be allowed under the GPL, but aren't under a proprietary license. Open source is not just about the ability to use the code, it'...


17

Here is a video of Linus Torvalds where he explains his opinion on GPLv3. Some excerpts from his speech: Here we give your version 3 and then we try to sneak in these new rules and try to force everybody to upgrade. That was the part I disliked. And the FSF did some really sneaky stuff. Downright immoral in my opinion. [...] I am thinking ...


13

This question was already asked on Stackoverflow in 2008 (but closed as off-topic there). This is a copy of the answer by Will M: Here is a short list of some the major differences: internationalization: they used new terminology, rather than using language tied to US legal concepts patents: they specifically address patents (including the ...


12

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-incompatible. Here's the full text: This kernel is (C) 1991 Linus Torvalds, but all or part of it may be redistributed provided you do the following: - Full ...


11

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 month, then it isn't possible this month. I'd argue, at least in my home jurisdiction of England and Wales, that it's not possible, because of promissory estoppel, ...


10

The kernel's COPYING file starts with the following comment (second paragraph): Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel is concerned is this particular version of the license (ie v2, not v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated. Parts of the kernel are licensed with "or later" (e.g. joydev.c), but ...


9

Copyright and open source are not mutually exclusive. In fact, most open-source licenses depend on copyright in order to function properly. The GPL comes most readily to mind: you couldn't enforce the requirement to share-alike if copyright didn't let the author decide who may or may not copy the work. But even something as simple as an MIT-style attribution ...


8

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: Tivoization: Some companies have created various different kinds of devices that run GPLed software, and then rigged the hardware so that they can change the software ...


7

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-president of the FSFE, talk about the hardware-trust problem, and possible solutions from the Open Power Foundation, at FOSDEM 2017. We need hardware to run ...


7

Eric Raymond once wrote: Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer's personal itch. (from catb.org/~esr/writings/cathedral-bazaar/ ) And that's pretty much the gist of it. Almost all successful FOSS projects began because they solved a specific problem, whether that's an individual developer as ESR wrote, or an individual ...


7

Provided it is a real clean room Linux Driver (i.e. it is not adapted from a GPL-licensed Linux Driver), then the company that owns its copyright does not have to respect the GPL. Having the potential to be linked to the Linux-kernel, or to Linux system libraries, or using some Linux API in the manner it is supposed to be used, does not trigger the GPL. ...


7

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 article itself, as well as Linus's response. Kernel modules depend on Linux's internal symbols to work, and it's uncertain whether they count as a derivative ...


7

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 contributing to the Kernel you agreed to the license: "by modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you indicate your acceptance of ...


7

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 cannot legally redistribute modified versions As such: You won't be able to get it into the kernel Distributions won't be able to put it into their repositories ...


5

It's exactly what it says on the tin. Free and open source software is software that the copyright owners license to you (or anyone else) under a free license (that meets the Open Software Initiative (OSI) or Free Software Foundation (FSF) definition of open source or free software) The copyright is owned by Linus, rPath and Intel (and possibly others). ...


4

The GPL does allow you to distribute modified binaries, but only as long as you also offer the source code. For the GPLv2, this is discussed in section 3: Either you distribute the binary together with the complete source code, or you distribute the binary together with a written offer for the complete source code. The relationship between GPLv2 licensed ...


4

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 BitTorrent or similar peer-to-peer methods. First, under new subsection 6e, if a licensee conveys such a work using peer-to-peer transmission, that licensee is ...


4

The third-party company claims that the Linux Driver is derivative work of the driver they previously developed for OSX, so they say GPL does not apply here. If they link to the Linux-kernel, they link against GPL-software, so they are obliged to respect the terms of the GPL. It doesn't matter if the software was previously developed for OSX. In the ...


4

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 meaning? Yes. Every lawyer I consulted with on the topic were mostly consistent on their interpretation and with the excellent answer from @congusbongus Short of ...


4

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 software to be licensed under future versions doesn't mean all authors have to do so! Linus Torvalds decided he would not, and so the kernel is licensed only ...


4

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 the proprietor can make legal changes. These can include bug fixes, security fixes, comparability fixes, feature improvements. Can I put a copy on all of my ...


3

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 following the source code of Linux closely. If you do so and claim copyright on it, then you could be accused of plagiarism and sued for copyright infringement, ...


3

Your kernel modifications pretty clearly create a derived work of the kernel, so they will almost certainly need to be distributed under GPLv2. In addition, deciding to do so helps the analysis in the next paragraph enormously. As for your userspace software, it is certain that proprietary software, public domain software, and other non-GPL'ed software ...


3

In Linux' case, there was strong interest in Unixy systems, BSDs where around but heavily tainted by the AT&T vs UCB lawsuits. Most enthusiasts fooled around with Minix, but that was 8088 only, and Andrew Tannenbaum adamantly refused to consider "better" processors to keep it possible to use in a one-semester operating system class (and thus 64K programs,...


3

The Linux kernel is a composite work by multiple entities. The three listed entities share the copyright of the file together and have agreed to license it to each other (and to you) under GNU GPLv2. Having all authors keep their copyright is a common strategy in the Open Source community to prevent works from becomming un-free in the future. It makes it ...


3

1) Who did you buy a support contract from? 2) If they are using GPL software (ie, the Linux kernel) then they must give you the source if you ask for it, and there should be an offer made for it in your documentation, etc. HOWEVER... they may be using binary blobs to keep some things proprietary.... 3) This is Linus' policy for submissions made to the ...


3

I'm not able to make what implications would be of using Kbuild infrastructure in my proprietary software. The reason why you are not able to make what the implications would be is there are absolutely no implications whatsoever. The Kernel build system is under the same license as the Kernel e.g. the GPL, but the fact that it is GPL or else does not matter ...


3

You said “hardware”, not specifically “PC” hardware, so let’s talk about why Free software on Proprietary hardware might make sense in this IoT world we’re living in. First, let me say that I’ll be using the work “hardware” here to apply to the entire device, not just the CPU or MCU. Ok, so I buy a new smart thermostat for my house. Don’t ask me what’s so ...


3

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 the kernel, are the following strings in the module info: GPL: GNU Public License v2 or later. GPL v2: GNU Public License v2. GPL and additional rights: GNU ...


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