"«A change after 2.6.24 broke ndiswrapper by accidentally removing its access to GPL-only symbols,» noted Pavel Roskin, offering a patch to address the issue. Linux creator Linus Torvalds was unimpressed, «I'm not seeing why ndiswrapper should be treated separately. If it loads non-GPL modules, it shouldn't be able to use GPLONLY symbols» [...] «Ndiswrapper itself is *not* compatible with the GPL. Trying to claim that ndiswrapper somehow itself is GPL'd even though it then loads modules that aren't is stupid and pointless. Clearly it just re-exports those GPLONLY functions to code that is *not* GPL'd.» [...] « So stop blathering. ndiswrapper has one purpose, and one purpose only: to load non-GPL'd code. So OF COURSE it shouldn't touch GPLONLY functions. »"

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can.axis's picture
Created by can.axis 16 years 7 weeks ago – Made popular 16 years 7 weeks ago
Category: High End   Tags:
sgbeal's picture


16 years 6 weeks 5 days ago


Linus and his high horse...

Or maybe he's just high.

ndiswrapper is, like it or not, a critical component to many users (myself included). It provides that "last little link" for a machine which otherwise could not get online using native linux drivers. This includes the machine i'm typing this from, which uses an AVM/Fritz USB network adapter (which DOES have a Linux-native driver, but that driver corrupts about 10% of the data which goes through it, leaving ndiswrapper as the only alternative).

i've been a die-hard Linux users since the mid 1990's, and i would strongly consider switching to BSD or OpenSolaris if Linus continues to play hardball against ndiswrapper.

As i've said a thousand times (e.g. http://s11n.net/license.php), the GPL cannot guaranty freedom, and this is just another example of how it restricts freedoms.

aboutblank's picture


16 years 6 weeks 22 hours 1 min ago


I Think You are Confused

I think you are confused about the issues here. One issue is that when you use NDISWrapper (this is licensed under the GPL) to load a proprietary binary module, your Linux will become "tainted". This is a problem because a tainted Linux kernel is effectively impossible to repair when something goes wrong. This is why Torvalds denounced NDISWrapper as its basic purpose means that it will never load a GPL compatible driver, it will only load binary modules which will taint the kernel which can ruin any integrity that Linux is supposed to have. You may go ahead and taint your Linux, just don't go to the Linux developers when something breaks.

The second issue is the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) idea of freedom. We (those of us with ideals that align with the FSF) believe that all users should have the right to help ourselves and cooperate within a community. To do this, we **must** have the four specific rights that RMS has defined as free software. We are not free if we don't have all those rights because relinquishing any right will result the user as being subject to the software proprietor. Any action that deprives the user of any of the four rights is not worth protecting as it harms society when they accept it.

The easiest way to make a program free is to release the program as part of the public domain. Taking this approach allows other people to take the free code and make it proprietary and then subjugate other people with our formerly free software. Such an action is very discouraging because our software is intended to liberate the people but some people use that very same program to subjugate other people.

The point of the GPL is to ensure that for EVERY user that has a copy of the GPLd program, the user WILL have all four freedoms of free software. The way it does this is that it prevents some of the actions that a software distributor might take to deprive the user of any free software right. So yes, it does restrict some actions, mainly any action that will deprive a recipient of the program the right to practise their free software right.

da.phreak's picture


15 years 50 weeks 22 hours 12 min ago


kernel-liberator.sh or uncrippling the linux kernel

There are kernel sources. Those sources are easility patched. Have a look at my kernel liberator script that disables the gpl-only mechanism:


Warning: Kernel Developers might don't like it.

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