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[OT] The GPL and possible violations



Having a discussion on the GPL - and the broadcom driver in Linksys
routers came up.

I'm taking the position that since it is a kernel module, it modifies
the kernel when the kernel loads it - and thus, it is no different than
if they were shipping a static kernel with the module compiled in, and
thus they (Linksys) are in violation of the GPL because they are
shipping a modified GPL product (the kernel) without releasing the
source to their modifications.

Other arguments are that the driver uses the kernel and is not a
modification to the kernel. But I don't see how it could be that way, I
see it as adding functionality to the Linux kernel (the ability to talk
to the broadcom chipset) and as such, they are shipping a modified
kernel without also shipping the source.

Any GPL license gurus have comment?

The implications of my argument are bigger than Linksys - anyone who
ships a non GPL compatible driver _with_ the Linux kernel would be in
violation of the GPL - including distributions that ship with the nvidia
drivers. It wouldn't make the the modules themselves non distributable,
just that they are non distributable with the kernel.

I'm not positive my interpretation of the GPL is correct though, so I'd
like comments from people who know it better than I do.


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