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

Norman Feske norman.feske at ...1...
Fri Dec 16 12:27:59 CET 2016

Hello Jookia,

> Independent modules (things equivalent to userspace programs in Linux I guess)

Linux has a special preamble to the GPLv2 that defines the kernel
interface as a license boundary [1].

[1] https://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/COPYING

> Why does the AGPL not apply to the integration code if it uses Genode libraries?

I think we agree that it should not. More generally, it is not our
intention to force-feed the AGPLv3 or any other particular license to
Genode-component developers. The choice of the open-source license of a
component should be up to the component's developer.

The original version of our linking exception clause is somewhat lacking
in this respect. It defines an "independent module" as:

  "a module which is not derived from or based on Genode."

This wrongly implies that a component that merely uses the Genode API is
not an "independent module". To better express our intention, an
"independent module" may better be defined as:

  "a module which is not derived from or based on Genode, or merely
   uses the Genode API as defined in the official documentation."

For example, a component forked from an existing component would not
qualify as "independent". But a custom component that interacts with the
Genode API without copying non-trivial amounts of Genode code into its
own code base would meet the definition of "independent". With
non-trivial, I mean code that implements actual functionality as opposed
to simple boiler-plate code.

Coming back to the glue-code example, with this clarification in place,
it should hopefully be clear that the glue code does not get "tainted"
with Genode's AGPLv3, only by the license of the 3rd-party code.

Would that modification make the situation sufficiently clear to you?

Thank you for your scrutiny!


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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