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Date:	Sun, 18 Feb 2007 03:15:10 -0200
From:	Alexandre Oliva <>
Cc:	<>
Subject: Re: GPL vs non-GPL device drivers

On Feb 17, 2007, "David Schwartz" <> wrote:

>> On Saturday 17 February 2007 03:42, David Schwartz wrote:
>> > Again, see Lexmark v. Static Controls. If "make a toner cartridge
>> > that works with a particular Lexmark printer" is a functional
>> > idea, why is "make a graphics driver that works with a particular
>> > Linux kernel" not? What is the difference you think matters?

>> That you cannot build such modules without integrating parts of
>> actual Linux kernel code (via #includes etc), whereas you can build
>> compatible toner cartridges without using any original component.

> Static Controls actually put a copy of Lexmark's 'Toner Loading Program' on
> each compatible cartridge they made. The printer actually copies the TLP off
> the cartridge. In other words, to make a compatible catridge, you do have to
> use an original component. (Or at least, it's much more difficult not to.)

Besides, you *can* build a module for Linux without using any kernel
code.  It just takes a lot of work to implement all you'd otherwise
need from the kernel in a clean-room fashion.

Alexandre Oliva
FSF Latin America Board Member
Red Hat Compiler Engineer,}
Free Software Evangelist,}
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