Thursday, December 14, 2006

No More Binary Module in Linux Kernel?

Right now, there's a hot discussion about whether to ban the loading of non-GPL binary modules in the future. If this is agreed, then in the next 12 months, the kernel developers will notify by issuing a warning that they will ban a non-GPL modules and after that, they will put a patch which will ban the modules. This binary non-GPL modules will include the NVidia/ATI drivers along with other hardware that was only available as a binary modules (meaning not Open Source or partially Open Source).

You may also want to look for discussion about Driver Core for 2.6.19.

*** delete the code ***

Update (15 Dec 2006: 10:51): Linus has come out against the change, and, after some discussion, Greg Kroah-Hartman has withdrawn the patch. So it's likely that the kernel itself will receive non-GPL modules, but it only displays a warning just like what we had right now.


  1. Doing that will only kill Linux. But I suppose a big 'forking' will happen if this goes on.

    Want it or not we need to live in a world with patents. Not everything can be GPL. By implementing a ban, the basically restricting software freedom.

  2. Well, vendors that distribute this binary will have 1 year to think about it whether it will be released under GPL or they will decide not to support it in the next kernel.

    For home users like i do, i can always use the same kernel which doesn't have a patch for banning the non-GPL modules.