Question Regarding GPL

Rick Moen rick at
Sun Jan 22 10:12:03 UTC 2006

Quoting Ben Tilly (btilly at


> The interface that he was talking about in 1995 was different than the
> one he was talking about in 2002.  The last email at
> discusses this
> explicitly:

Yes, I have now incorporated all those mails into my archive.
And yes, Torvalds does give context for his evolving view (though my
criticism, with which you seem to be in strenous agreement,  more
concerned his rather unfortunate "LGPL" comment).  Moreover:

> As far as I'm concerned we are carrying on parallel conversations.
> One is about the consistency of Linus Torvalds's thinking on this
> matter.  Another is about whether it is legally possible to have a
> proprietary loadable kernel module. 

The former is ultimately celebrity trivia, and should not detain us.  
If Torvalds and other kernel copyright owners had been somehow unclear
in their formal licence terms, their utterances elsewhere might have been 
significant, but it really isn't necessary or useful to consult those.
But anyway, all they're really done is point to the way copyright law
works, in the first place.

As to the latter, it seems to me recent discussion here (including from
yr. humble servant) has gotten it right, and serendipitously happens to
accord with what Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman have been saying for
some years.

To paraphrase their writings on the subject:  Sure, just make it be
(legally) a truly independent work, and our licence simpy won't effect
you at all.

It seems that a lot of people simply don't like that, and want some
different regime.  I find that I really don't care, any more than
Torvalds and Kroah-Hartman do.

Cheers,                                        "He who hesitates is frost."
Rick Moen                                                 -- Inuit proverb
rick at  

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