GPL kernel clients

Daryl Coston costond at
Fri May 28 12:21:45 UTC 1999

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On Thu, 27 May 1999, Bruce Perens wrote:

> From: John Cowan <cowan at>
> > So a Linux kernel on a VAX, where system and user code share the same
> > address space, would bring every app running on it under the GPL?
> And the i386 under Linux 2.2.x, too, but you're stretching the point beyond
> absurdity. The kernel maps its client (the process) into the kernel's
> address space, not the other way around. The kernel has a clearly-defined
> IPC system that is used for all service requests, and it doesn't share
> its program counter or privilege level with the client. Contrast this
> to a shared library.
> > I don't think shared address space can be the relevant parameter.
> It's the currently-accepted test. Derivation is poorly defined in the GPL.
> There are trivial ways of getting around the GPL by splitting a program into
> a proprietary client and a GPL server. I've discussed this with Stallman.
> > Note that the Linux kernel explicitly disclaims GPL tainting of
> > applications that use it.
> Right. It's a nice disambiguation, but since the implementation they're talking
> about probably is a shared library, even though they consider it a "kernel",
> it's more straightforward in this case to just use the LGPL.
> 	Thanks
> 	Bruce

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