Subject: Re: softdep
To: None <>
From: Laine Stump <>
List: current-users
Date: 11/18/1999 10:29:17
At 12:39 PM 11/17/99 -0800, Michael Graff wrote:
>I would rather live with a "non-GPL GENERIC" rather than have useful
>functionality not there unless someone recompiles a new kernel.

We should be careful about letting GPL-isms creep into the kernel. Sure, an
item here and there is no big deal, especially if you're just using the OS
personally (or internally in a company). But for someone using NetBSD as
the basis for a product that includes kernel modifications they want to
keep private (for a while at least), it can create serious problems if 1)
there gets to be a lot of these GPL'ed modules and/or 2) developers start
forgetting about this class of user, and add some new GPL-ed module that
ends up being required for proper operation of the system.

As I understand it, the reason that GPL'ed code has been kept out of the
kernel (and GPL'ed userland is kept in a separate tree in the source) is to
make basing products on NetBSD simpler, and it can be one of the deciding
factors when choosing the OS. If there is a single GPL'ed file in the base
kernel, then doesn't the entire kernel effectively become GPL'ed? (ie,
doesn't that mean that any changes you make to existing files in the
kernel, as well as new files you add, must be made publicly available?) Or
is my interpretation more strict that reality?