Subject: Re: GPL'd kernel parts
To: None <tech-kern@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Robert Black <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 09/12/1996 10:00:54
On Sep 11,  2:54pm, Michael Graff wrote:
> Subject: Re: GPL'd kernel parts
> Ignatios Souvatzis <> writes:
> > The GPL requires that every code which is linked with GPL'd code into
> > a single binary to be placed under GPL, too. This would directly
> > violate UCB's licensing conditions (and similar conditions from other
> > universities), which requires us to keep them unchanged. This even
> > holds if we wouldn't mind making the code unusable for people which do
> > binary-only distributions (because of, say, special code for own
> > hardware which they don't want to disclose).
> So, if someone has, say, a motif application for linux, and it happens
> to be linked to their libc, we could demand to get their sources?

No. There are two GNU licenses. One is the application license and the other is
the library license. If libc was licensed with the application license rather
than the library license then we would be able to demand source. The library
license merely requires you to make the source of the library available.

In theory it would be *possible* to use code subject to the library license in
the kernel source tree but I believe that a policy decision has been made not
to do this because it would mean that you couldn't ship the entire kernel under
the Berkeley license (which is much less restrictive than the GNU one). I
believe that OpenBSD may have a different policy on this.


Rob Black