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Difference between revisions of "Legal Issues"

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* [http://www.linuxworld.com/community/?q=taxonomy/term/24 USB drivers going GPL-only in 2.6.25 (LinuxWorld)]
 
* [http://www.linuxworld.com/community/?q=taxonomy/term/24 USB drivers going GPL-only in 2.6.25 (LinuxWorld)]
 
* [http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux-2.6.git;a=commit;h=782e70c6fc2290a0395850e8e02583b8b62264d8 the actual git commit]
 
* [http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux-2.6.git;a=commit;h=782e70c6fc2290a0395850e8e02583b8b62264d8 the actual git commit]
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== Binary proprietary kernel modules ==
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One outstanding legal question with Linux, that is of particular importance in embedded,
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is whether or not binary (non-GPL) kernel modules violate the GPL license of the Linux kernel.
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Opinions on this topic differ.
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Here is an article with some interesting information:
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* [http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/120606-closed-modules1.html Encouraging closed source modules part 1: copyright and software]
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* [http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/120806-closed-modules2.html Encouraging closed source modules part 2: law and the module interface]
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* [http://www.networkworld.com/news/2006/121106-closed-modules3.html Encouraging closed source modules part 3: elimating the "API update tax"]
  
 
== Other Links ==
 
== Other Links ==
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* http://gpl-violations.org/ - The gpl-violations.org project tries to resolve GPL violations and raises public awareness about GPL compliance.
 
* http://gpl-violations.org/ - The gpl-violations.org project tries to resolve GPL violations and raises public awareness about GPL compliance.
 
* http://www.softwarefreedom.org/ - The Software Freedom Law Center provides legal representation for open source projects and publishes information on legal issues around open source.
 
* http://www.softwarefreedom.org/ - The Software Freedom Law Center provides legal representation for open source projects and publishes information on legal issues around open source.
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* http://www.linuxfoundation.org/programs/legal/compliance - Linux Foundation's Open Compliance Program
 
* http://www.binaryanalysis.org/ - A binary analysis tool for GPL compliance investigations
 
* http://www.binaryanalysis.org/ - A binary analysis tool for GPL compliance investigations
 
* http://lwn.net/Articles/386280/ - LWN.net article about the binary analysis tool (published on 2010/05/06)
 
* http://lwn.net/Articles/386280/ - LWN.net article about the binary analysis tool (published on 2010/05/06)
 
* http://fossology.org/ - FOSSology is a framework to scan open source code: it currently scans for copyright and license information and can easily be extended.
 
* http://fossology.org/ - FOSSology is a framework to scan open source code: it currently scans for copyright and license information and can easily be extended.
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[[Category:OpenSource Licensing]]

Revision as of 22:42, 27 October 2011

Legal Issues using Linux in embedded projects

The intricacies of using the GPL license have been hashed out repeatedly in many other forums. [references would be nice for major issues]

Here are some highlights:

Kernel is licensed GPL v2 only

The Linux kernel is licensed under the GNU General Public License, version 2.0 ONLY!

This is different from many other projects, which use the default wording in the license to allow GPL v2 or any later version.

This means it is unlikely that the kernel will switch to GPL version 3.0.

In September of 2006, a group of Linux kernel developers signed a position statement indicating that they objected to GPL version 3.0 (as then drafted). This further indicates the unlikelyhood of any change of the kernel to the GPL v3 license.

Signed-off-by lines and the DCO

When developers contribute to the kernel, they must provide a "Signed-off-by" line, indicating that they acknowledge the licensing and declare the work (to the best of their knowledge) to be either original, or derivative of something compatible with GPL v2.

See the Developer Certificate Of Origin which is contained in the kernel's Documentation/SubmittingPatches file.

This page has a few specific issues relating to embedded use of Linux.

EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL

EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL for kernel USB API

In January of 2008, Greg Kroah Hartman submitted a patch to change the core USB API to EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL. Here is some information about that change:

Binary proprietary kernel modules

One outstanding legal question with Linux, that is of particular importance in embedded, is whether or not binary (non-GPL) kernel modules violate the GPL license of the Linux kernel.

Opinions on this topic differ.

Here is an article with some interesting information:

Other Links