Re: Plan to add Linux Kernel Enforcement Statement to SPDX additional permissions list (Re: meeting minutes: Linux kernel enforcement statement / GPL Cooperation Commitment)

James Bottomley

On Fri, 2018-11-30 at 21:03 -0800, Bradley M. Kuhn wrote:
Michael Dolan wrote:
It solely modifies an individual's contribution with additional
Indeed, that's precisely what every "additional permission" does
(going back to the Bison Exception in the 1980s).

I think this is effectively asking if the kernel community would in any
way care about codifying the Kernel Enforcement Statement into SPDX. I
think the answer is "not really". We already have our own process for
adding developers and companies to the existing enforcement statement
and so far no-one has submitted any file to the kernel with the
enforcement statement in it, which is when we'd need it codifying.

Can you explain the fundamental legal difference between
Linux-syscall-note and the Linux Enforcement Statement? I am really
having trouble seeing it because (a) both are additional permissions
that give permissions not in the GPL and (b) both are not granted by
all copyright holders in Linux.
Yes: your (b) isn't true for the syscall exception. The syscall
exception has been part of the linux kernel COPYING file since before
revision control history began. Accordingly it applies to every
contribution to the Linux kernel and thus is granted by all copyright
holders and we will continue to maintain this.

The system call exception is therefore a reliable promise from every
copyright holder. The enforcement statement currently isn't (at least
it's a reliable promise from some but not all of the copyright

(Admittedly, Conservancy itself, which holds copyrights in Linux too,
has yet to sign on but it's only because we're a small org and hadn't
been able to set aside the time to get it done. Mike, if you let me
know when a good time would be for Conservancy to sign on for its
copyright -- so Linux Foundation can build some promotion around that
-- I'll follow your lead on when we should do that.)
The documented process is to have one of your contributors submit a
patch on behalf of the your organisation to


The file shows the format.

Then, as an optional step, which has nothing to do with the kernel or
your statement, you can put it on your website and do press releases
around it, but there's no requirement for this. However, if you really
want the publicity and need a guide, this is what Red Hat did:


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