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

From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 14:24:30 EST

On Fri, 15 Jun 2007, David Woodhouse wrote:
> Actually, I don't see where it explicitly states that it only covers
> derived work.

See "Section 0":

The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a
"work based on the Program" means either the Program or any
derivative work under copyright law:

so yes, if you grepped for "derived work", you wouldn't have found it. The
exact wording used in the license is "derivative work under copyright

So the very *definition* of the word "Program" is indeed limited by the
notion of "derived work" - as defined by copyright law, and NOT the GPLv2.

> The case which interests me most is when someone makes an embedded
> device, for example a router -- and they distribute a 'blob' of
> firmware for it, containing both the kernel a binary-only network driver
> module. Again we have to ask ourselves "is this a work based on the
> kernel?". Obviously there isn't a 'right' answer outside a court of law,
> but personally I reckon it's a fairly safe bet that it _is_ going to be
> considered to be a work based on Linux.

Hey, I kind of disagree.

What is a DVD? It's just a "blob" of a UDF image, potentially containing
the Linux kernel.

How is that different from a "blob" of some other kind of image (say, a
cramfs or similar image) on a rom?

What makes UDF so different from cramfs? What makes a DVD so different
from a ROM chip? Why would copyright law care about one and not the other?

So I really do _not_ think it's at all obvious. Personally, I think it's
exactly the same case. Others disagree, but I've never really seen a good
*reason* for them disagreeing.

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