Linus rejects the idea of non GPL kernel modules

Linux creator Linus torvalds rejected the idea of non GPL kernel modules (tainted modules). VMWARE and other 3rd party application uses tainted modules.


After January 1, 2008, the Linux kernel will no longer allow non-GPL modules to be linked in. To be clear, this applies to all kernels released after that date and your existing modules won’t come to a screaming halt. Prime examples of non-GPL modules are the proprietary nVidia and ATI graphics drivers.

This is next to impossible because companies such as Novell and RedHat will remove them immediately and anyone can write a patch to get rid of this feature.

Remember Linux is all about freedom and not about locking down your a$$.

Thanks to Linus for rejecting out this idea.

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8 comments… add one
  • Luke Dec 15, 2006 @ 21:39

    Hmm… What if someone writes a GPL wrapper module that will interface with the non-free binary code? Is that allowed?

    I can see why they are doing this, but this is just going to suck for the people who just want to get their nVidia card working…

  • xio Dec 15, 2006 @ 21:42

    > Remember Linux is all about freedom and not about locking down your a$$.

    Someone is so dumb. It will be easy for, say, nVidia to move their closed-source code in userspace, while still providing an open-source kernelland interface. It DOES NOT require a full driver reconstruction and it DOES NOT push your honest freedom, but improves system stability. Linus is an egoistic techno-minded man, he is just an ordinary kernel hacker. RMS is our leader, free unix!

  • 🛡️ Vivek Gite (Author and Admin) nixCraft Dec 15, 2006 @ 22:02

    Linus is an egoistic techno-minded man, he is just an ordinary kernel hacker. RMS is our leader, free unix!
    Hehe… Good point about userspace idea.

    @Luke, yes idea was rejected by Linus for now. So users can use non-GPL nVidia drivers 🙂

    Appreciate your posts.

  • port25 Dec 15, 2006 @ 22:08

    After doubts expressed by Linus, among others, this is unlikely to be implemented.

    xio, I will go step further – he doesn’t understand business and end users at all. He just care about his shit (I remember he was calling Gnome and BSD devs idiots that is rude no matter how good you are at coding but don’t insult fellow developers).

    Most end user wants thier pretty desktops and don’t care about GPL vs Non-GPL driver war. Period.

  • ilovearitel Dec 15, 2006 @ 22:14


    So go get it merged in the Ubuntu, (Open)SuSE and RHEL and Fedora trees first. This is not something where we use my tree as a way to get it to other trees. This is something where the push had better come from the other direction.

    So he rejected the idea for sure 😀

    > an egoistic techno-minded man..
    …care to explain a bit????

  • Doomguy0505 May 16, 2007 @ 8:57

    So this means that all 2008 versions of linux will have squiggly lines on the screen because we can’t use proprietary graphics drivers?

  • 🛡️ Vivek Gite (Author and Admin) nixCraft May 16, 2007 @ 9:42


    You can, you need to download and apply them using a script or compile them but default kernel tree will not contain anything non-gpl


  • predrag Feb 13, 2008 @ 7:24

    I have downloaded Gobuntu few days ago and there was not a restricted atheros driver after I installed it?! I was wandering why, but now I see. There is no restricted driver in use all because of this?
    And let’s face it, there are very few things that did not dissapointed me in this world and one of those thing is Linux.
    I feel glad about this article.

    Nixcraft, thank you for saving my may.

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