From: Linus Torvalds <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [PATCH] Keys: Export user-defined keyring operations
Date: Wed, 05 Oct 2005 14:51:18 UTC
On Wed, 5 Oct 2005, David Woodhouse wrote:
> What's the point? There can be no difference between the meaning of
> EXPORT_SYMBOL() and EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL() anyway.
I've talked to a lawyer or two, and (a) there's an absolutely _huge_
difference and (b) they liked it.
The fact is, the law isn't a blind and mindless computer that takes what
you say literally. Intent matters a LOT. And using the xxx_GPL() version
to show that it's an internal interface is very meaningful indeed.
One of the lawyers said that it was a much better approach than trying to
make the license explain all the details - codifying the intention in the
code itself is not only more flexible, but a lot less likely to be
I think both them said that anybody who were to change a xyz_GPL to the
non-GPL one in order to use it with a non-GPL module would almost
immediately fall under the "willful infringement" thing, and that it would
make it MUCH easier to get triple damages and/or injunctions, since they
clearly knew about it.
I suspect programmers make horrible lawyers. They nitpick on details that
sane humans don't. I think programmers often end up forgetting about the
fact that human interactions don't work that way. Common sense makes a lot
of difference, and DWIM is not just possible, but it's the only thing that