Intel's proposed BSD + Patent License

Karsten M. Self kmself at
Tue Oct 30 22:21:45 UTC 2001

on Tue, Oct 30, 2001 at 09:54:01AM -0800, Ken Arromdee (arromdee at wrote:
> > Intel hereby grants Recipient and Licensees a non-exclusive,
> > worldwide, royalty-free patent license under Licensed Patents to make,
> > use, sell, offer to sell, import and otherwise transfer the Software,
> > if any, in source code and object code form. This license shall
> > include changes to the Software that are error corrections or other
> > minor changes to the Software that do not add functionality or
> > features when the Software is incorporated in any version of a
> > operating system that has been distributed under the GNU General
> > Public License 2.0 or later.
> This is odd.  What is "the software" when linked into an operating
> system?  Does "the software" include anything linked with it, and
> therefore, would a change to the operating system that adds features
> be considered a change to "the software"?

The strategic intent on the part of Intel is to be able to provide
low-level drivers, under a BSD license, with limited patent scope, for
use with the Linux kernel.  My read is that this doesn't pass muster,
it's not GPL compatible.

> If yes, then the software becomes pretty much useless--you can link it
> into an operating system only if you don't change the operating
> system.

My read is that the offered software's functionality cannot be changed,
there's no restriction on the OS.

> If no, than anyone can change the software any way they want anyway,
> merely by claiming the changes are changes to the operating system.

...but without the patent license.

> Also, wouldn't it violate the fields of endeavor clause and specific
> to a product clause to only allow the software to be linked with
> operating systems?  


> (I can see a way around this: claim that of course the user is allowed
> to link it with anything, it's just that it would violate patents, but
> it's not the license which says you're prohibited from violating
> patents, just an external law.  The problems with this workaround are
> left as an exercise to
> the reader.)



Karsten M. Self <kmself at>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?             Home of the brave                   Land of the free
   Free Dmitry! Boycott Adobe! Repeal the DMCA!
Geek for Hire           
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 232 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list