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 Abusing the Linux MODULE_LICENSE Macro

Though the Linux kernel itself is licensed under the GPL, Linux creator Linus Torvalds has explicity stated that it is okay for companies to ship binary-only modules without releasing source code. Free (as in freedom) modules are able to declare through a macro that they are free and that source code is available, while those that don't are assumed to not be free. This allows among other things the ability for kernel developers to ignore bug reports from users that have loaded proprietary modules and thus for which no source code to debug is available.

KernelTrap has an interesting article about a consulting company that is abusing this macro, releasing binary-only modules that intentionally fool the kernel into thinking that they are GPL'd and leading Linux creator Linus Torvalds to comment, "Hey, that is interesting in itself, since playing the above kinds of games makes it pretty clear to everybody that any infringement was done wilfully. They should be talking to their lawyers about things like that."

 (Submitted by Anonymous Wed Apr 28, 2004 )


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