"Derivative Work" for Software Defined

Andre Hedrick andre at linux-ide.org
Fri Jan 17 19:18:44 UTC 2003

On 17 Jan 2003, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:

> Andre Hedrick <andre at linux-ide.org> writes:
> > However ----- the issue is not talking about .exe or .com files, but
> > pluggin objects using the well known and publish API of the Linux Kernel.
> Why do you keep harping on this particular issue?  Is anybody telling
> you that you can not distribute your Linux loadable modules without
> source?  Anybody at all?

See below:

> > Now lets move off to the land of Commerial OS's, specifically MicroSoft.
> > If any of you think a single judge would allow Bill Gates and company
> > to claim ownership of a third parties "ORIGINAL WORK" which is designed to
> > operate and expand the uses of the MicroSoft Operating System, please pass
> > around whatever you guys are smoking.
> Think clearly.  The GPL does not claim ownership of your work.  It
> merely puts conditions on distributing your work combined with GPL
> work.  The question you are raising is whether #including a GPL header
> file means that your work has been combined with GPL work.  I don't
> think there is a definitive answer to that question.

Without an answer, you leave all works in question.
The very question becomes the barrier to allow or permit the distribution.
If one is not sure, the distribution clause will be binding hook to
capture the entire as GPL, the 'who' is anyone raising the issue.

> (But I think there is a definitive answer for Linux, as opposed to
> some arbitrary work under the GPL, so why are you still worrying about
> this?)
> > GPL states you can change and do whatever you want, provide you return the
> > changes.
> No, it doesn't.  Read it again.  The GPL has no requirement for
> returning any changes to anybody.  If you distribute source alongside
> your binaries, it has no requirement that you distribute source to
> anybody else.

One does not ship the source alongside the binaries, what does that mean?

Here is a real case of a local NAS/SAN company in Fremont, CA.
They have modifed my, and stated such to me they have, GPL drivers
which I share copyright with the folks who came before me.  They ship and
sell product based on that those works.  The do not ship source code with
the product.

In this real example above, are they in GPL and/or Copyright violation?

> > Now that I can do whatever and create whatever, and in this model I will
> > copy verbatium every operational function regardless of any associated
> > flag tatoo'd to the API symbols list.  This secondary abstraction object
> > layer will be dual licensed as OSL/LGPL.  Therefore it is permitted to use
> > any and all exported sysmbols regardless of games played.
> If you literally ``copy verbatim,'' then you have to follow the
> permissions granted by the copyright owner (in section 6, note
> ``subject to these terms and conditions'').  Since the original is
> under the GPL, that more or less requires that your new code be under
> the GPL as well.  That prohibits you from distributing it under an
> OSL/LGPL license.
> If you use a clean room approach to creating the new header files,
> then I expect that your approach is legal.

True a late night mistake.
The copy meant to refer to the '.c' which is under OSL/LGPL.

   CONST STRUCT PTR VALUE PTR linux_xxxx((linux_struct) blah);

> > So one sells the work or program on a single media, and make them download
> > or purchase the associated GPL programs to use and execute the non-GPL
> > product.  This bypasses the distribution controls and hooks of the
> > tarbaby-license.  Also this makes the final destination, the enduser.
> > Distribution is over and ability to dictate the usage is gone, section
> > six (6).  Now argue out of this box.
> This is an old argument, often called ``user does the link;'' you

Never would distribute any source code and force the user to perform said

> distribute just enough source code to be able to use your binary
> modules, and you make the end-user build the source code.  As with all
> these cases, nobody knows for sure whether it would be considered
> legal or not.  I'm not aware that anybody has ever actually done it.

Would you like a list of examples and the URL's to find and use them as
examples?  Most of these effect my work in the open source world.  Most of
these interfere or break the operations of my public works.

Offline, I will disclose only.

The next arguement is the following:

If they true abstraction, then the distributed object would not need
updating, just the source wrappers.  Right?

> Of course, I'm sure we're all clear that this has nothing to do with
> anything you want to do, because Linux already clearly permits binary
> modules.  Right?

"Right?" is the suggestion it may not be.

If it was bloody simple then I would not be seeking the answer for myself.
Additionally if it is not legal, then all the vendors out there shipping
product w/ binary modules are in violation and must be brought back into


Andre Hedrick
LAD Storage Consulting Group

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