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GPL-ed code in a driver for a proprietary OS

From: richardlang
Subject: GPL-ed code in a driver for a proprietary OS
Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2007 20:13:02 -0800
User-agent: G2/1.0

Hi all,

I'm wondering what the general consensus is on the legitimacy of using
GPL-ed code in a driver for a proprietary operating system, in my
particular case to generate a file system driver for Windows CE.

I've had a good read of the GPL license and associated FAQs at
and trawled through various Usenet postings and it seems to me to be a
bit of a grey area.  Regardless of how others might view things it is
pretty clear that the opinion of the FSF is that the act of linking to
a GPL-ed program, regardless of whether that linking is static or
dynamic, creates a derived work that must also fall under the GPL
license (and if this not the intent of the copyright holder they
should maybe be using the LGPL instead), however there is a clear
exemption allowing a GPL-ed program to use libraries/ components that
are a standard part of the operating system for which the program is
designed without the OS components falling under the GPL.  I'm
wondering whether this exemption could be considered to work in the
other direction, allowing a GPL-ed driver/module/plugin to be used by
a proprietary OS.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Richard Lang.

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