GPL and kernel modules




There is, for example, some disagreement (among the copyright holders) over whether run-time loading of modules into the kernel, Linux, requires that the modules have a GPL-compatible license. As the creator of the GPL, do you feel that Linux kernel modules fall within the boundary?

RMS: They clearly are covered by the GPL; modules for Linux are extensions of Linux, so under the GPL these modules must be free. However, anything the copyright holders of Linux give permission for in use of Linux is certainly permitted, regardless of what the GPL by itself would say. The license used on a program is legally a statement of what the copyright holders permit. Any statements they make that they permit this or that, once others rely on them, have the same legal force.

Does this mean that if Linus says tommorow 'no vmware' vmware(or anyone else) would have to stop selling there kernel modules

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