Kernel Programming Questions

Greg KH greg at
Sun May 25 21:27:35 UTC 2008

On Sun, May 25, 2008 at 07:54:08PM +0100, James Chapman wrote:
> Vadim Klishko wrote:
>> On Sunday, May 25, 2008 9:37 AM, Greg KH wrote:
>>> On Sun, May 25, 2008 at 09:40:32AM +0100, James Chapman wrote:
>>>> Is the optional "library" proprietary (binary only)? If so, think 
>>>> carefully about GPL implications. Adding a simple GPL driver to expose 
>>>> proprietary hooks isn't good...
>> Yes, that was exactly the idea.
>>> It's not only, "not good", it's flat out illegal and violates the
>>> license of the kernel.  Do not do this at all if you are thinking you
>>> can keep something from being released under the GPL.
>> I thought there was a legal way of doing it as described here:
> You need to stop thinking of your code as a library. It's a binary kernel 
> module.
> Binary kernel modules are legal only if they use _standard_, non-GPL kernel 
> APIs. You can't add a GPL shim/driver to expose new, proprietary hooks for 
> use by non-GPL code either. As Greg said, that's illegal.

I also say that there is no way that binary kernel modules can be legal
at all, don't let the EXPORT_SYMBOL / EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL fool you into
thinking otherwise.

I have stated many times, in many places, and have many lawyers who have
said the same thing, so please do not think I feel otherwise.


greg k-h

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