Freescale Linux BSP review

Alan Cox alan at
Thu Dec 23 08:46:17 PST 2010

> The GPLv2 is written such that the "if you're interfacing the kernel
> or compiler you don't need to opensource that bit with your app"

I would suggest you re-read the license. It says nothing of the sort.
Indeed the gcc compiler licensing for the compiler support library is
actually rather carefully done for this reason.

> You may think it's a horrible idea, and from a technical perspective
> it is, but from a legal perspective.. it's not a problem.

I would suggest you re-read the detail on derivative works, from a legal
not a computer science point of view. You may want to read up on the
history of the dispute between Next (the computing not the clothing firm)
and the FSF with regards to the Objective C compiler.

Note also btw that the possibility of accidentally including general user
space was a concern which is why there is a rider with the kernel COPYING
file - for the standard syscall interfaces only. There is a difference
between a derivative work and merely using an interface and there are
lots of ways works can be derivative or not that usually surprise people
who think in models around code. The fact these can work in weird and
wonderous ways is one reason for that rider.

> grounds, and policy grounds. There is no legal issue here. It is not

That is a point only a court of law can decide. It's something I do spend
time discussing with lawyers and I have to say not one of them considers
there to be no legal issue. The actual boundary for such things is
extremely grey and ill defined in software, although there is a lot more
caselaw in comparable other areas (anthologies and compilations versus
for example music as film scores, or combining two pieces of music to
make one tune)

> concept now... what's the point? It'll never get into mainline.

Unless it is open sourced - ditto the various other things with the same
problem - including things like the Intel PSB driver.


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