Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3

From: Bernd Paysan
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 08:04:14 EST

On Friday 15 June 2007 13:49, Paulo Marques wrote:
> I've contributed some code for the kernel (unlike yourself, AFAICT), and
> believe me, I did so under GPL v2. The COPYING file is pretty much self
> explanatory, so I didn't need to add any explicit license statement to
> my code.

It's not, it's a personal comment from a misunderstanding of the GPL text.
It's as valid as the "closed source kernel modules are legal" comment that
was there some years ago.

> People seem to forget that the kernel license in COPYING *never had* the
> "v2 or later" clause. Never. Period.

It's there in section 9.

> The only change in license was from the previous hand-made one from
> Linus into GPL v2 only. And that is perfectly fine since the previous
> license was even more permissive than GPL v2.

??? Linus changed his own less permissive license (which
excluded "commercial use", and certainly the TiVO device is commercial) in
0.0x time-frame. He added and deleted comments on top of COPYING in later
years, some simply wrong like the assertion on proprietary kernel modules.
He added his interpretation about the version issue in 2.4.0-test9, and he
may delete it any time he wants. It's *his* interpretation.

> No, it is not "any version". It is the license specified in COPYING and
> nothing else.

COPYING says in section 9 that there may be other versions, and if you as
author don't specify the version, it's "any version".

> And the basics are: "people who write the code decide the license to
> give it". And that's just it.

Yo, then fucking do it! Write it in the files you contribute! If you don't,
you haven't! You decide, not Linus Torvalds. Make it clear you have

> And people who write kernel code are perfectly aware that the kernel
> license is GPL v2 only, and always has been (except for the initial
> linus license).


> Putting a license statement in _every_ file in the kernel tree would
> just be idiotic when there is such a clear COPYING file in the root of
> the kernel tree.

It's a personal comment from Linus, and not clear in any way. Do it the way
the file COPYING itself suggests. It's not "idiotic", it's the most obvious
way to do it.

Bernd Paysan
"If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself"

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