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Linus Says Android License Claim Is 'Bogus' 116

Posted by timothy
from the who-is-this-linus-guy-and-what-does-he-know dept.
jbrodkin writes "Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds has scoffed at a new claim that Android violates the Linux license. Google's use of the Bionic Library does not result in a derivative work that has to be licensed under GPL, as some lawyers are claiming, Torvalds says. 'It seems totally bogus,' Torvalds said. 'We've always made it very clear that the kernel system call interfaces do not in any way result in a derived work as per the GPL.' While some claims against Android can be dismissed outright, Google and its partners still must fend off patent lawsuits filed by rivals Microsoft and Oracle."
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Linus Says Android License Claim Is 'Bogus'

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  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:15AM (#35582702)

    Seriously. If Linus is the deity and keeper of every line of Linux code, why didn't he just cut the Gordian knot that was this lawsuit? He's the one person who could stand up to SCO in a code argument and refute every claim standing up. Yet he didn't. Why is that? I never understood why he just didn't come and put a quick end to this.

    Are you serious? SCO sued IBM not Linus. Linus added his commentary [eweek.com] a few times [slashdot.org]. Also remember SCO avoided at all costs showing the source code to anyone. They delayed. Every time any code was leaked, it was immediately debunked. They deliberately refused to provide enough specifics even after multiple court orders to provide IBM with specificity. The judge threw out 2/3s of the claims because they refused to do so.

    Even if Linus had the alleged source code in question and debunked every single line, do you really think SCO would have listened to him? SCO didn't even own the rights to Unix yet sued as if they did. The whole thing was a grab for money. It didn't matter to SCO that they even had a real case. They wanted IBM to pay them to go away. Except IBM is not one to back down.

  • Re:Lest we forget (Score:4, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:24AM (#35582730) Journal

    I did say "oops my bad" in that discussion - more than once, even. I got my facts wrong initially, and was corrected by other posters who pointed out the copyright exception in COPYING file for kernel headers, and noted that in my own replies. You probably didn't read the threads as follow-up comments got posted. Specifically, here [slashdot.org] I corrected myself, noting that app developers definitely wouldn't be affected (and so that part of the story is FUD), but that Google still might be infringing. Then when there was a new story on the subject which dug out that Stallman's old comment where he explained that header file consisting of "structure definitions, typedefs, enumeration constants, macros with simple bodies" is not by itself copyrightable, I posted this comment [slashdot.org] where I plainly admitted that I was wrong before.

    In any case, I don't see anything wrong with setting things right one more time, so here goes: I was wrong when I previously wrote in several Slashdot comments that Android Bionic headers could possibly constitute a derived work from GPL'd Linux kernel headers, and as such would have be licensed under GPL themselves. Consequently, I was also wrong when I wrote that Google was possibly infringing on kernel developers' copyright on those headers by stripping away the GPL copyright comment.

    Well, at least Stallman (and FSF's lawyer) claims otherwise, and now also Linus claims otherwise, and I'm not a lawyer to judge their claims - especially as Linus has a direct stake in all this as a copyright holder of the code in question - so I'll trust their opinions, and assume that I was wrong until there's evidence to the contrary. I apologize if my comments mislead anyone.

    Sounds good?

  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday March 23, 2011 @12:29AM (#35582752)

    His opinion on this matter is the opinion of one man. And his opinion's in no way privileged. He's definitely not the sole copyright owner of Linux rights, so Linus is unable to make a statement about the disposition of Google's activities that would be binding on all the copyright owners.

    Linus did not say "Anything Google does is fine with all the copyright owners." He did very specifically address the issues with the Bionic library and the API calls. As a software engineer and the founder of Linux, he would know exactly what the entailed. Specifically in the summary above he clearly denotes that.

    Because whether Google could be held in violation of the GPL or not is ultimately going to be up to the lawyers, and the question will only really even be raised if a copyright owner is raising a stink and intends to seek legal remedy.

    Only no one who ever wrote any of the Linux code is claiming that Google did anything wrong. It's hard to have lawyers when there are no clients. Right now the case against Google is with Oracle. All these Linux matters are being brought up as FUD.

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

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