Muli Ben-Yehuda's journal

April 30, 2004

Linus on binary modules

Filed under: Uncategorized — Muli Ben-Yehuda @ 8:51 AM

lays in on the Linuxant “GPL” thread
, in his usual eloquent

A kernel module is _not_ a separate work, and can in _no_ way be seen as
“part of the hardware”. It’s very much a part of the _kernel_. And the
kernel developers require that such code be GPL’d so that it can be fixed,
or if there’s a valid argument that it’s not a derived work and not GPL’d,
then the kernel developers who have to support the end result mess most
definitely do need to know about the taint.

You are not the first (and sadly, you likely won’t be the last) person to
equate binary kernel modules with binary firmware. And I tell you that
such a comparison is ABSOLUTE CRAPOLA. There’s a damn big difference
between running firmware on another chip behind a PCI bus, and linking
into the kernel directly.

And if you don’t see that difference, then you are either terminally
stupid, or you have some ulterior reason to claim that they are the same
case even though they clearly are NOT.

I should save this stuff for the next time this stupid argument comes
up at work.


  1. Not forgetting this tidbit:

    … and as the matter of fact, religious nuts *do* equate those two (c.f. assorted debian-devel resident wankers)

    Then there’s the other myth we should trust proprietary software houses, because they have a `reputation’ to `maintain’ and so will try their best to be `responsible’ people. Poppycock. Bill Gates got his money by nefarious means, and now his money is his reputation.

    Comment by bicoherent — April 30, 2004 @ 1:00 AM | Reply

    • Poppycock indeed.
      There were some choice quotes from Linux downthread as well, but I didn’t want to quote him here again. I’m enough of a Linus fanboy as it is 🙂

      Comment by mulix — April 30, 2004 @ 11:58 PM | Reply

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