DRM radeon i2c support and GPL

Adam Jackson ajax at nwnk.net
Mon Sep 20 10:38:15 PDT 2004

On Monday 20 September 2004 12:59, Jon Smirl wrote:
> On Mon, 20 Sep 2004 12:29:30 -0400, Adam Jackson <ajax at nwnk.net> wrote:
> > License compatibility != OS compatibility, please don't conflate the two.
> >  X runs on more than just Linux, and source is distributed as an
> > aggregate.  If
> The Linux DRM driver does not run anywhere but on Linux. The GPL code
> is isolated to the Linux DRM driver.
> I wonder if DRM isn't GPL already by accident. DRM has been included
> in the Linux kernel under the GPL license. DRM has also accepted many
> bug patches back from the kernel people. If a fork had occurred
> between kernel and DRM it would be clear than one fork is GPL and one
> BSD. But the code never forked. Since there is only one code base and
> that code base has been released GPL via the kernel, so we may have
> inadvertently made DRM GPL.

I would read it as "since the code never forked, we're still BSD".

Inclusion is not conversion, in this case.  All the copyright statements in 
the DRM source (excluding your recent commit) specify BSD licenses.  If the 
bug-fixers wanted their changes to apply under the GPL they should have 
indicated that by changing the copyright statement at the top of the file.

The aggregate kernel is GPL, yes, but that doesn't mean all the components 
are.  ppp_deflate.c has gotten fixes from kernel people too, but it's still 

> I'd feel a whole lot better about the licensing if BSD and Linux DRM
> were split into two repositories.

That still wouldn't address the issue of inclusion in Xorg, unless Xorg were 
to only ship with the BSD DRM.  And it would probably demote the BSD OSes to 
fifth-class citizen status.  Can't say as I'm a fan of that idea.

> > it's really that big of a deal, ask the author of the GPL code to allow
> > you to add it to DRM under an X-friendly license.
> This is a waste of time. I know that some of the authors have a GPL or
> die attitude towards device driver code.

Reimplementing code that the original author doesn't want to relicense is 
nothing new under the sun (freeglut).  I believe that splintering the code 
base into universal and GPL versions is a bad idea, because it means any code 
in the GPL version that someone wants to use in the universal version has to 
be written twice - inevitably diverging the two trees and creating the sort 
of cross-merge hell we're trying to get away from.

If we're going to "waste time" like this, we might as well do it once, up 
front, and be done with it.

- ajax
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