"Derivative Work" for Software Defined

Andre Hedrick andre at linux-ide.org
Tue Jan 7 00:39:42 UTC 2003

On 6 Jan 2003, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:

> Andre Hedrick <andre at linux-ide.org> writes:
> > > > One of the questions about "Derivative Work" as it relates to binary
> > > > only loadable objects, is the creation of a boundary layer of execution.
> > > > Specifically, the design and publishing an API which properly glues into
> > > > an open source gpl program or kernel(ie loadable modules services) designed
> > > > to provide an execution layer between the GPL and Commerial private code.
> > > > Where as no GPL code in any form is allowed to touch the Commerial code.
> > > > The converse is true, obviously.  The execution layer or boundary.
> > > > Now using this reference from 1995, many companies have gotten legal
> > > > positions about binary modules.
> > > > 
> > > > http://groups.google.com/groups?as_umsgid=4b0rbb%245iu%40klaava.helsinki.fi
> > > 
> > > What Linus says presumably is valid for Linux.  RMS agrees with that
> > > in the message you forwarded.  It doesn't necessarily apply to any
> > > program other than Linux.  Note in particular the last paragraph in
> > > Linus's message.
> > 
> > If all one is using are headers or .h files and everything else is from
> > scratch, does using the headers under the statement above comply with the
> > intent?
> > 
> > I am not seeking an opinion without paying for it.
> I guess I'm not sure which you mean when you say ``the statement
> above.''  The statement by Linus or the statement by RMS?  I expect
> that the answer is different.
> I think it's clear that you can sell binary loadable modules for
> Linux--or, at any rate, as clear as it can be in the absence of actual
> law or precedent.  Given Linus's public statements, I personally would
> have no legal concerns about a business plan based on selling binary
> modules for Linux.
> If you're talking about something other than Linux, it might help if
> you said what you are talking about.
> I am not a lawyer.  My experience is that different lawyers will give
> you different advice in this area.

The IANAL leaves a concern.

> > > > I ship and sell binary only products, so I have an interest in not
> > > > restricting people.
> > > 
> > > Other than your customers, presumably.  Restrictions cut both ways.
> > 
> > In what way would a restrict cut both ways here?
> Binary only products restrict your customers, by comparison to source
> code products.  I'm not questioning your decision to sell binary only
> products; I'm just pointing out that by following a scheme of not
> restricting module distributors, you are choosing to restrict module
> users.  It's not a case of ``not restricting people,'' as you put it;
> it's a case of choosing which restrictions to use.

``not restricting'' access to my house when the bank issues a forclosure
(sp).  I am here to sell to cover my costs, build a small war chest.
Dump the product to opensource at that point and move to the next
generation of new technology.

Develop, Sell, War Chest, Release :: repeat

What more could the open source want, other than to confuse "wishes and
horses" ?


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