BSD folks position on GPL, Novell, IBM, SCO, and MS...

Oliver Fromme olli at
Mon Nov 27 04:15:09 PST 2006

Mike Hauber <mchauber at> wrote:
 > [...]
 > PS...  One more question...  Being that Linux emulation is available
 > as a port for the BSDs, I would assume (but haven't taken the time
 > to research) that GPLd code is used.  If there comes to be issues
 > with Linux, what would that mean for BSDs compatibility in regards
 > to emulation?

FreeBSD's "Linuxulator" consists of two parts:  The kernel
ABI which implements the Linux syscalls (usually loaded as
a kernel module), and the userland part (Linux libs, some
binaries etc.) that's located in/compat/linux.  [*]
The former has been implemented by FreeBSD programmers and
therefore is under BSD license, not GPL.  The latter comes
from a stock Fedora Core 4 distribution, most of which is
under GPL license.

Personally I don't believe that the SCO issue will lead to
any problems with generic Linux code.  But _if_ there will
be such problems, then it might affect the userland part
in /compat/linux.  It will _not_ affect the Linux ABI in
the kernel.  In the worst case you won't be able to run
dynamically linked Linux programs anymore that depend on
Linux libraries for which you don't have a license.  You
will still be able to run statically linked Linux binaries
(provided you have the licenses to run them if required,
of course).

Best regards

PS:  [*]  There's also linprocfs, which is a synthetic file
system implementing PROCFS for Linux compatibility.  It's
usually mounted on /compat/linux/proc if required (not all
Linux programs require it).  As far as I know, it is also
a re-implementation and thus under BSD license, so there's
no problem.

Oliver Fromme,  secnetix GmbH & Co. KG, Marktplatz 29, 85567 Grafing
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Any opinions expressed in this message may be personal to the author
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