[hsflinux] driver problem

Marc Boucher marc at linuxant.com
Fri Feb 27 17:49:19 EST 2004

Hi Jon,

On Feb 27, 2004, at 1:23 PM, Jon wrote:

> As far as I know your drivers are under the license listed at
> http://www.linuxant.com/drivers/license.php
> So I was really curious when I installed them and didn't get a warning
> message about 'tainting' my kernel like I get when I install the nvidia
> graphics drivers.
> The tainted kernel warning occurs whenever you load a module that is 
> not
> GPL'd into the kernel. This is done by string comparison on the
> MODULE_LICENSE string in the module.
> Here is that section from mod_engine.c
> MODULE_LICENSE("GPL\0for files in the \"GPL\" directory; for others,
> only LICENSE file applies");

As the MODULE_LICENSE says, some distinct files (specifically those 
under the GPL directory) are released under the GPL. This is mentioned 
in the driver's README file:

"Most files in this package are released under terms described in
the LICENSE file. Some distinct components, located in the
modules/GPL directory however are covered by the GNU General Public 
See the files LICENSE and modules/GPL/COPYING for details."

The components are distinct in the sense that they are isolated from 
the core softmodem driver, which essentially consists of independently 
developed/licensed code ported from Windows that we do not even own.

Full source for GPL/ed files is of course included in our tar.gz, 
generic RPM, and .debs packages.

> Looks okay, until you notice the pesky null character stuck in it.
> As any C programmer will tell you, the end of a string is marked by a
> null character. So the effective string in MODULE_LICENSE is only 
> "GPL".

The \0 is in fact just a workaround to prevent repetitive messages 
generated by the modutils when attempting to load several modules when 
probing for each hardware type. These messages were very confusing for 
ordinary users who often thought that their device was not working when 
in fact everything was fine.

> While personally I think this is a nice trick, I doubt Torvalds and/or
> Stallman would agree. I will wait a week for a response on this mailing
> list before asking them what they think of it.

Why not instead ask the modutils maintainer(s) for a way to attenuate 
the confusing/redundant messages and make the workaround unnecessary 
(we'll be glad to remove it if it is no longer needed), instead of 
launching a futile debate that will detract attention and scarce 
resources that are much more needed & constructively spent in technical 

We're trying to deliver much needed drivers for Linux users with a 
practical approach, in a way that reasonably satisfies all of the 
different interests involved (hardware manufacturers, the community's, 
our own obligations and necessity to be financially viable to survive 
etc..). Presently we have a fragile, but working balance, which might 
not be maintainable if one party starts making life too difficult..


> -- 
> Jon
> "I don't care to belong to any organization that accepts
>  me as a member." -- Groucho Marx
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> hsflinux at lists.linuxant.com
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