FSF claims Linux company violates GNU GPL

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) issued a statement Friday claiming that a New Mexico-based Linux company has violated the GNU General Public License (GPL), by using a patent license to restrict distribution of its version of the open-source operating system.

Victor Yodaiken, chief executive officer of Finite State Machine Labs Inc. (FSMLabs) used the license to "impose restricted terms on distribution of a GPL-covered program," The FSF said in a statement. FSMLabs' version of Linux is called RTLinux.

The Boston-based FSF opposes the use of software patents and believes they are a "harmful government policy of creating monopolies that restrict computer users," the group said in its statement. It also believes that the patent license violates the GPL of the Linux kernel. The GNU GPL states that any software incorporating source code that is already licensed under the GPL will itself become subject to the terms of the license. The GNU GPL also states that all improved versions of GPL software must be released as free software.

Yodaiken's patent covers "real-time interrupt handling using a software emulation layer for interrupt masking, so that interrupts can be prioritized," the FSF said. According to the FSF, the idea is not patentable because it has been used before.

The patent has been used to impose restrictive terms on a program covered by the GPL, and imposing them is a violation of the license, the FSF said. Because the FSF is not a copyright holder of Linux, it cannot enforce the GPL, but the organization may choose to support efforts to invalidate the patent and uphold the GPL, it said.

Neither party could be reached for comment on the issue. The text of the patent license can be found at http://www.fsmlabs.com/PATENT.html.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Douglas F. Gray

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?