Subject: Re: ADOSFS and GPL
To: David Jones <>
From: None <>
List: amiga-dev
Date: 02/15/1994 00:46:24
> Although no precedent has been set, the FSF takes a dim view of anyone using
> techniques such as this to "work around" the GPL.  The FSF considers pretty
> well ALL dynamic link libraries to be equivalent to statically linked libs.

Sorry, but in that case I'll have to read their COPYRIGHT file, and I can't
find that in our specific case of LKMs they'd have any right to reserve GPL
upon the kernel, just because someone had the idea of creating a completely
independant set of object files, linking them together (forming a GPLd
binary) and then - what an outrageous idea - to specifying them as argument
to modload. The way I understand it: the BSD kernel by itself is a standalone
product, it doesn't need any specific LKM modules to be operating, nor will
it ever be distributed TOGETHER with such (GPLd) LKMs. Distributing a 
separate thing, that just happens to work with this kernel, can't by all
means change the copyright status of that independant object!? Not even with
US laws :-)

> This means that using a dynamic loading technique does not exempt you from
> the GPL requirements.  And LKM is, after all, a sort of dynamic loader.

Yes and no.. dynamic loaders impose a stricter binding between the dynamic
library and the application. Furthermore, you can't usually run applications
linked dynamically without those dynamic libraries. You CAN run the kernel
without any LKMs just fine.

> Consider this: If I write a library libgpled.a, then does it make sense to
> have a statically linked foo forced under the GPL and to have a dynamically
> linked foo (a separate binary) not under the GPL?

We get a bit down to hairy details here.. I'd say, a SunOS/BSD style dynamic
library would still be GPLd, an AmigaDOS shared library wouldn't. BTW: that's
exactly the reason I made ixemul.library a) shared, b) put it under GPL. I
explicitly explained in the docs that this does NOT cause any programs using
it to be GPLd, since I declared the glue-functions PD. There are no glue
functions needed for LKMs.

> The best advice I can give is to ask someone at the FSF, by email, about
> what you plan to do.  Be specific.  The FSF will not "rule" on general
> cases, nor will they rule on gnu.misc.discuss.

Well, the GPL text is public, if it's not in there, it's irrelevant
what anyone at FSF thinks about it. I think the case is pretty clear

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