[clug] The GPL and kernel modules

Robert Edwards bob at cs.anu.edu.au
Tue Jun 20 08:14:23 GMT 2006

Martin Pool wrote:
> On 20 Jun 2006, Hugh Fisher <hugh.fisher at anu.edu.au> wrote:
>>A nicely written article about Linux and the GPL.
>>Interesting and disturbing statistics about OEM behaviour, why
>>the new US Sarbanes-Oxley legislation gives the FSF a bigger
>>club to wield against GPL violators, and a discussion - from
>>an actual legal department - of whether nor not kernel modules
>>can be closed source.
>>(The authors are embedded systems developers so possibly have
>>a bias, but I couldn't detect any.)
> Cui bono?  "Using GPL'd software is legally risky -> use BSD -> get help
> from Wasabi to use BSD".  Having that motivation doesn't make them
> wrong.  But Eben Moglen calls it "pure anti-GPL FUD".
>     http://www.google.com/search?q=wasabi+bsd+gpl

Indeed, it is an interesting article. In the 6th paragraph, it states
that 'From the perspective of the user, the BSD license is actually more 
"free" than the GPL' - here, the "user" being the user of the license,
not to be confused with the user of the software - a distinction that
the article clearly fails to make.

Users of BSD licensed software are _not_ more free to use their
software than users of GPL software. The example cited in the article
is a clear one on this point: MacOS X. Apple, as the license user, is
free to make whatever restrictions it wants to the OS, but their users
then need to put up with no freedom whatsoever to make any changes etc.
etc. to that software.

I would call this article a clear example of "Fear, Uncertainty and

Bob Edwards.

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