Possibly OT: Splitting Hairs Over GPL?

Byron Clark byron at theclarkfamily.name
Wed Apr 7 16:51:28 MDT 2010

On Wed, Apr 07, 2010 at 06:35:13PM -0400, Stuart Jansen wrote:
> The Linux kernel is basically a very complex process with a higher
> privilege level than other processes. When your process makes a system
> call, it is basically performing a very low level RPC call. Or in other
> words, it is "talking to" the kernel, not "linking against" the kernel.
> For this reason, proprietary software can legally run on Linux so long
> as it doesn't depend on any GPL libraries.

This specific case is called out in COPYING in the source distribution
of the Linux kernel:

    NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
    services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal
    use of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived

Byron Clark

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