GPL Java

Michael L Torrie torriem at
Wed Nov 8 16:17:33 MST 2006

On Wed, 2006-11-08 at 16:01 -0700, Bryan Sant wrote:
> On 11/8/06, Justin Findlay <justin at> wrote:
> > Non-GPL kernel modules violate the GPL.  Non-GPL user space programs do
> > not.
> Quick, tell NVidia and ATI that they need to release their code!
> Linus altered the GPL so that kernel modules are not forced to be GPL.
>  He would prefer that -- the kernel is "tainted" if you load non-GPL
> modules -- but it is completely possible and legal.

These modules operate in a legal gray area.  Technically they are
illegal.  But because of the way they are distributed, they get away
with it.  Basically they do not ship anything that links into the
kernel.  Instead they ship a GPL'd wrapper that the end user then links
against the NVidia binary blob driver and that is loaded into the
kernel.  Since the user is not distributing anything to anyone else, the
GPL does not apply to him or her.  According to the letter of the law,
though, distribution packagers cannot ship pre-compiled nvidia drivers
as they would be in definitely violation of the GPL.

> -Bryan
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