[nycbug-talk] kernels

Bob Ippolito bob
Thu Jun 3 13:40:33 EDT 2004

On Jun 3, 2004, at 12:41 PM, Pete Wright wrote:

> Bob Ippolito wrote:
>> On Jun 3, 2004, at 10:11 AM, mlists at bizintegrators.com wrote:
>>>>> I'm very gratefull for OpenBSD's integrity, meaning things like 
>>>>> binary
>>>>> only drivers will never be accepted.
>>>> I don't see how this is true.
>>>> Sure binary only modules may not be possible, but binary only 
>>>> patches are
>>>> very much possible.  Additionally thanks to the liberal BSD 
>>>> license, this
>>>> becomes more so possible as opposed to the requirements of the GPL.
>>> I think binary patches and binary kernel modules are very different.
>>> Unless there is a source, or it complies with OpenBSD goals, they 
>>> will
>>> not accept anything kernel or userland related. Even with source, 
>>> and a
>>> bad license, they will not accept it. This is what I meant when I 
>>> said
>>> the above.
>>> Binary patches patch already what is in the system. My comment only
>>> related to things like binary-only NV drivers, for example.
>> I don't get what you're trying to say here.  Linux won't accept 
>> kernel modules and patches that aren't GPL either, but it just so 
>> happens that there are third parties that provide a few binary only 
>> drivers.
> actually the kernel will accept non-GPL'd lkm's, it will just "taint" 
> the kernel and tell you about that at boot time.  the nvidia drivers 
> are not GPL'd for example.
>> In the case of OpenBSD, you just don't have any interested third 
>> parties (that I'm aware of).
> i don't think the OpenBSD folks want anything to do with non-open 
> source drivers for various reasons.  in any event it's 6 or one 1/2 a 
> dozen of the other...

The Linux kernel and OpenBSD kernels will link with whatever the heck 
you want them to link to because *you have the source* to the kernel.  
I still don't get what you're trying to say.  Neither Linux nor OpenBSD 
will allow inappropriately licensed code to become part of the kernel 
tree proper, but they have no control over whether or not proprietary 
code that can link to the respective kernel (runtime or otherwise, they 
could provide a .o file in the case of a static kernel) is allowed to 

OpenBSD is actually more open, legally, to proprietary code.  I could, 
tomorrow, start my own proprietary binary-only "ClosedBSD" operating 
system consisting of 99.99% OpenBSD and 0.01% modified code and I 
wouldn't be infringing on anyone's copyright because the BSD license 
allows me to do this.  I couldn't legally do the same thing with Linux, 
because then I wouldn't be complying to the terms of the GPL and would 
be infringing a lot of copyrights.

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