Subject: Re: GPL code contamination?
To: Oliver Korpilla <>
From: Jachym Holecek <>
List: tech-kern
Date: 04/23/2005 00:57:16

[Not sure this is exactly on-topic at tech-kern...?]

> If I were to look at GPL'ed code as the Linux kernel to get an inspiration
> how to implement a feature under NetBSD, but would neither cut/paste it nor
> try to adapt it to the NetBSD kernel, nor base my solution directly on it,
> would I contaminate the NetBSD kernel if I do something similar?
> More specifically:
> Say I'd want to improve some aspect of the NetBSD scheduler, and reviewed
> the Linux scheduler in this respect, and implement a similar data structure
> or algorithm within NetBSD without copying or breaking Linux' copyright,
> would it be acceptable? It would be a reimplementation at most, if not only
> an influence on the final design?

As far as my reading of GPL goes, this should not be a problem.
IANAL, though. I'd say it's about the same as implementing an approach
described in a publically available research paper.

> Would it be legally problematic because of a GPL->BSD incompability? Would
> it be morally bad? Would it be accepted by the NetBSD community? I know the
> other way round happened, especially FreeBSD->Linux, especially since there
> is no problem in BSD->GPL.

I think its morally fine... I'd certainly mention the original
implementation as a source of inspiration in the documentation.

		-- Jachym Holecek