Android Linux FUD Debunked

Android Linux FUD Debunked

Summary: Android may have legal problems with Microsoft and Oracle, but it has nothing to worry about from Linux.

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The claims that Android has intellectual property worries from Linux and its Gnu General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2) are rather absurd. After all, Android is a smartphone/tablet optimized Linux. Android may have real legal worries from Microsoft and Oracle, but from Linux? I think not. And, now Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, has declared that these claims are so much junk.

In an e-mail to my friend Brian Proffitt, Torvalds declared that the claims that the Android violated the GPL "It seems totally bogus. We've always made it very clear that the kernel system call interfaces do not in any way result in a derived work as per the GPL, and the kernel details are exported through the kernel headers to all the normal glibc interfaces too."

Sean Hogle, a technology attorney, agrees. Hogle wrote, "The most objectionable aspect to the Mueller and Naughton blog entries are the wildly exaggerated claims that Android applications will be forced to be licensed under the terms of the GPL in open source code form."

Hogle continued, "With all due respect, I don't believe that developers are taking any risks, let alone significant risks, in this context, and I don't believe there's any possibility that Angry Birds will have to be GPL'd against their will. Application developers have done nothing to subject themselves to the copyleft obligations of the GPL. Linking to kernel APIs [application programming interfaces]  directly wouldn't create a derived work according to the stewards of the Linux kernel."

For his part, Torvalds concluded, "Of course, we do have our own 'internal' headers too, and we have stuff that is meant to be relevant only for the kernel. But there would be no point for Google to even use those, since they are useless outside of the kernel, so I don't see what the whole brouhaha would be all about. Except if it's somebody politically motivated (or motivated by some need of attention). If it's some desperate cry for attention by somebody, I just wish those people would release their own sex tapes or something, rather than drag the Linux kernel into their sordid world."

Perhaps that "need for attention" might derive from a desire to spread FUD about Android and to try to revive the old Microsoft myth that Linux's GPLv2 is a cancer that infects other programs. After all, as Joe Brockmeier discovered, the attorney who originated these claims, Edward J. Naughton of Brown Rudnick went to some trouble to disguise that he had once worked on a case for Microsoft. Coincidence? I'll let you decide.

See also:

Does Google's Android violate Linux's Copyright?

Microsoft sues Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, Inventec over Android e-readers

Microsoft vs. Android

Oracle vs. Google over Java: Android lawsuits may begin to pile up

Topics: Software, Android, Google, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

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42 comments
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  • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

    FUD Debunked
    Thank you, Linus Torvalds
    choyongpil
    • Rofl if you look underneath the rug, you will see Microsoft's hand

      some how behind this FUD.

      Microsoft can't compete so it uses every dirty trick in the book to try and get an edge it can't on its own.

      For this reason alone I stay away from MS products and embrace Android in full.

      More info can be found if you google: why-android-has-prevailed
      Uralbas
      • WOuld somebody PLEASE control the BIG-ASSED BULLY known as Micro$

        @Uralbas
        roger.es
  • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

    Seems utterly clear.
    jeremychappell
  • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

    Well if Linus Torvalds said its bunk then it must be. I think not. He is not a lawyer. Actually he put linux into jeopardy the minute it was devised. Any way you look at it using linux is not a safe choice because of all these legal troubles whether they are bunk or not. Businesses or home users aren't going to wait around while they sort this legal mess out. They are going to go on with their business, leaving linux behind because they want to make money. Its always constant fighting within linux and that is why people do not use it.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

      @Loverock Davidson

      Thank you for your wonderful contribution and insight, next we have a speaker who is going to talk about their collection of old tennis balls
      Alan Smithie
      • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

        @Alan Smithie <br>Oh, am I on? Where is my neon orange ball. I know I brought it. It was going to be the highlight of my presentation.
        Viva la crank dodo
    • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

      @Loverock Davidson Never get involved in any conversation with this fool. That's all he does is try to stir up crap.
      timspublic1
    • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

      @Loverock Davidson

      Whenever i see a linux article fron zdnet i always look forward to reading the comment section, because your comments always make me laugh, they remind me of that episode of seinfeld "the opposite" where george decides that every decision he has ever made has been wrong, hence if every instinct he had was wrong then the opposite would have to be right.

      Well we just need to apply that same logic whenever we read your comments on a linux article.
      guzz46
      • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

        @guzz46 <br>Honestly speaking, I don't get a laugh at pathetic comments that are in poor taste.. However, it is often the comments that are in response to such trolling, which make me have a hearty laugh. For example, Viva la crank dodo made my day with his/her ingenious witty comments.
        ashwinipn
    • Nothing new here

      Just the usual Loverock Davidson Flagged FUD
      LTV10
    • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

      @Loverock Davidson <br>I completely agree with one point here. Linus is not a lawyer so his legal comments must be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, Loverock makes clear that the remainder of his comment deserves little attention because, in addition to obviously being no lawyer, he has not provided any reason to believe he has any credential to back up any of his comments, technical or legal.
      Linus credentials are easily ascertained at least technically and, though not a lawyer, obviously has at least a good sense of knowledge in the license he used.
      Viva la crank dodo
    • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

      @Loverock Davidson

      Mercy it must be nice that you have nothing to do all day but attack anything that is not a positive for MSFT or promoting a MSFT position. Typically with nothing factual behind you. You come up with nothing new, just retreads of you prior comments from YEARS ago. I hope being paid to post makes a nice living for you.
      drichards1953
    • you're the man

      @Loverock Davidson
      Thanks for the laugh, keep the good work...
      ...if Linus said so, it must not be true, Loverock says otherwise...
      theo_durcan
    • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

      @Loverock Davidson Err, what legal mess? If all this is about header files, well duh! You can always link against a header file. I thought it was about a bit more than this.

      The pre-existance of "Oracle for Linux" shows this is stupid.

      As for people not using it... That isn't true here on planet Earth. Microsoft will quite happily (OK, through gritted teeth) tell you you can host Linux under their VM. When pressed they'll tell you that you can run Windows products under a VM running on Linux (I'll admit, they do kinda hate that).

      Why do they do this? Because Linux is very popular in the datacenter, in some it's more popular than Windows. Finding a datacenter without some Linux is VERY HARD INDEED.

      Sure, on the desktop Linux is an "also ran".

      But this wasn't about Linux was it? It was about Android, now we're clear; Android's legal status is like that of Linux (nothing to see, move along).

      The GPL has been tested MANY times, and as always worked as intended. You can't say that about Microsoft's legal record, can you?
      jeremychappell
    • RE: Android Linux FUD Debunked

      @Loverock Davidson
      Awcrap, dude! I always look forward to your silly little comments, too, so why'd you have to go and fail so hard on this?? SJVN actually DID reference a lawyer. C'mon, gimme somethin' I can work with here, man!
      jeverettk
    • Better the reason to switch to Linux

      I avoid Microsoft software all together, because of Microsoft's ongoing business practices and control of the user with their software, not to mention the extreme value of Linux over Windows in regards to freedom, flexibility, and cost. Hopefully other companies will do the same, these patents can be worked around and Linux and open source can continue on its way without Microsoft.
      Chris_Clay
  • Loverock Davidson debunked

    Linus is not a lawyer, true, but he is the creator of Linux. If he says the claims are bunk, then they most certainly are! Do you seriously think the Linux Foundation would go after Google or Android developers for purported violations when the author says, "No violations here!"

    Businesses are certainly not going to waste their time with specious claims from a self-proclaimed half-wit. In fact, the largest business on the planet chose Linux long, long ago and are not about to revisit decision. Meanwhile, Android rules the cellphone market. Home users? By the end of 2011, 1/3 to 1/2 of them will have Android-based smartphones. Not to mention Linux already runs their TV's, PVRs, refrigerators and even toasters!
    a2897440
    • this article cites only other people opinions

      @a2897440 They can say whatever they want but courts, the lawyers and all their games will have the final say.

      I do not like these legal games, but all we can do is speculate at this time. Nobody knows how the courts will rule...and even if they do rule, another court might throw that ruling out.
      otaddy
      • That's not how copyright works.

        @otaddy<br>There will be no ruling, because <b>there is no case</b>. Only the <i>owner</i> of the copyright would have standing to bring such a case to Court, and Linus Torvalds has just called the whole thing "bogus".<br><br>Give it up already, it's done.
        Zogg