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+ - Linus Denounces NDISWrapper, Denies It GPL Status-> 5

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "On message boards, Linus Torvalds was explaining why NDISWrapper is not eligible to be released under the GPL even though the project claims to be. Linus remarked, "Ndiswrapper itself is *not* compatible with the GPL. Trying to claim that ndiswrapper somehow itself is GPL'd even though it then loads modules that aren't is stupid and pointless. Clearly it just re-exports those GPLONLY functions to code that is *not* GPL'd." This all sprung up with someone restricted NDISWrapper's access to GPL-only symbols thereby breaking the utility. Linus merely replied that "If it loads non-GPL modules, it shouldn't be able to use GPLONLY symbols." As you may know, NDISWrapper implements Windows kernel API and then loads Windows binaries for a number of devices and runs them natively to avoid the cost and complication of emulation."
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Linus Denounces NDISWrapper, Denies It GPL Status

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  • Nobody loves ndiswrapper, but, people are using it because they need drivers for their networking cards - in particular, wireless cards. Really, the GPL is about ensuring the source is available, and in the case of a ndiswrapper, it is. Saying that because one piece of software talks to a closed system somehow filters up and makes the rest of the system closed or in violation of the GPL is silly. If that were the case, then, every time you surfed, you would be violating the GPL, becuase FireFox makes connections to the millions of closed systems that happen to be web sites.

  • by Chirs (87576) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:49PM (#22639466)
    Sure, Linus said that ndiswrapper shouldn't be able to use GPL-only symbols. (And I disagree with him on that.) So far so good.

    However, he also said that ndiswrapper is perfectly fine and isn't a license violation, and that he's okay with ndiswrapper asking for the symbols to be exported more freely.

    "Quite frankly, my position on this has always been that the GPLv2
    explicitly covers _derived_ works only, and that very obviously a Windows
    driver isn't a derived work of the kernel. So as far as I'm concerned,
    ndiswrapper may be distasteful froma technical and support angle, but not
    against the license.

    So I'm personally perfectly happy to say that we should revert that commit
    0aa5bd52d0c49ca56d24584c646e6544ccbb3dc9, but what I've wanted to hear
    from the very beginning was simply to get a list of symbols that currently
    clash, and hear from the people who maintain the symbols whether they
    really meant for that commit to be valid. "

    http://groups.google.com/group/linux.kernel/msg/07090169d7afc4f5 [google.com]

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