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GPL violations in Android: Same arguments, different day

Nov 11, 2011, 15:04 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

[ Thanks to Amy Bennett for this link. ]

"To create the headers within Bionic Google cleans the Linux kernel header files of any comments or content that might be considered copyrightable works, using automated scripts. The only thing that remains in the Bionic library are standards-based constants, macros, and type definitions that many in the software development/legal arena consider facts, because they're not doing anything, they're just telling applications 'here's how to interface with the kernel.'

"In other Linux distros, glibc is used for this interface job and even though it is licensed under the Lesser GPL, application developers can use it to their hearts' content without fear of having their own works fall under the LGPL because the Linux kernel developers have said (many times) that they don't regard glibc as a derived work, so deep interfacing with it will not mean software using it will in turn have to be licensed under the kernel's GPLv2.

"But Naughton isn't buying that argument. He maintains that Google isn't completely removing copyrighted material from the header files, so their methodology is flawed. He dismisses the arguments made by several commentators--including me--that this cleaning is complete and even if it weren't, the Linux kernel header files as a whole are not copyrightable, so an incomplete cleaning problem is moot."

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