Updating Genode's license to AGPLv3 + open-source linking clause

Norman Feske norman.feske at ...1...
Fri Dec 16 01:10:56 CET 2016

Hi Jookia,

> I see. How does proprietary userspace code work then?

please see my reply to Vasily.

> Many projects have used the idea of glue code as a way to link proprietary and
> free software together as a way 'around' the GPL, and this sounds a bit like the
> same thing. It's questionable if it works though.

I wonder, is this a vague gut feeling or a well-informed concern? If the
former, I would very much appreciate you to not spread uncertainty. It
is definitely not my intention to work around the GPL!

Genode's license is delicate because Genode plays a number of roles. One
particularly important role for this discussion is its role of a "system
library". As stated in the GPL FAQ, the GPL acknowledges that system
libraries may be proprietary [1]. Even if Genode was solely proprietary,
its role of a "system library" would allow the combination of GPL code
with it (at least the portions of Genode that correspond to the
functionality of a system library).

[1] https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#SystemLibraryException

If proprietary software is accepted to have this role but GPL software
would not because of the GPLv2/v3 incompatibility, this would be a gross
contradiction with the spirit of Free Software. Furthermore, with the
linking exception clause, we make our stance unmistakably clear that we
are fine with linking Free Software - regardless of potential
license-version incompatibilities - with Genode.

Please be assured that I'm not careless. In fact, I approached the Free
Software Foundation for reviewing my original announcement and
incorporated their feedback *before* I sent it to the mailing list.


Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske
Genode Labs

http://www.genode-labs.com · http://genode.org

Genode Labs GmbH · Amtsgericht Dresden · HRB 28424 · Sitz Dresden
Geschäftsführer: Dr.-Ing. Norman Feske, Christian Helmuth

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