Linux 5.9 Brings Safeguard Following NVIDIA's Recent "GPL Condom" Incident

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 14 August 2020 at 06:47 AM EDT. 141 Comments
Stemming from the recent discussions over NVIDIA NetGPU code that relied on another shim for interfacing between NVIDIA's proprietary driver and the open-source kernel code, a new patch is on the way for Linux 5.9 to fight back against such efforts.

As a result of that "NetGPU" code patch series and the ensuing discussion, longtime kernel developer Christoph Hellwig followed through with a set of kernel patches to tighten up access to kernel symbols exported as GPL-only and are frequently used by these open-source "shim" drivers to sit between the open-source kernel code and the binary kernel modules. This situation also known as the "GPL condom" defense is working to be better avoided with Linux 5.9+ kernels.

The summary of the change amounts to:
Have modules that use symbols from proprietary modules inherit the TAINT_PROPRIETARY_MODULE taint, in an effort to prevent GPL shim modules that are used to circumvent _GPL exports. These are modules that claim to be GPL licensed while also using symbols from proprietary modules. Such modules will be rejected while non-GPL modules will inherit the proprietary taint.

Jessica Yu this morning sent in the modules updates for Linux 5.9 that include Hellwig's patches.
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