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. 140 Comments
LINUX KERNEL --
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.
Related News
About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

Popular News This Week