Yeelong and SiliconMotion driver: asking for developers

Bridgman, John John.Bridgman at
Tue Mar 16 10:16:29 PDT 2010

Is there a reason that graphics code can not be included in the GRUB2 project with its current license ? 

My recollection was that the X11 license was considered "GPL compatible" in the sense that it *could* be relicensed if necessary. Graphics driver code is included in the Linux kernel without relicensing, ie it retains its current X11 license even though it lives in an otherwise GPLv2-licensed tree. 

Is there something about GPLv3 which prevents the same approach from being used, or are we just talking about a GRUB2 project rule which disallows "compatible" licenses and requires actual GPLv3 licensing ?

-----Original Message-----
From: xorg-bounces at [mailto:xorg-bounces at] On Behalf Of Daniel Clark
Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:25 AM
To: Daniel Stone; Owain Ainsworth; Octavio Rossell; xorg at
Cc: Vladimir 'φ-coder/phcoder' Serbinenko; Bernie Innocenti; Brett C Smith
Subject: Re: Yeelong and SiliconMotion driver: asking for developers

On Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 5:16 AM, Daniel Stone <daniel at> wrote:
> Hi,
> On Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 08:51:56AM +0000, Owain Ainsworth wrote:
>> On Tue, Mar 09, 2010 at 10:22:28PM -0430, Octavio Rossell wrote:
>> > The idea of this wiki:
>> >
>> > is to collect all info for makin this easy. If any of you have more 
>> > info or has a technical correction is ok (is on free editing mode) 
>> > but is only a space where to put the info with an universal scope.
>> Can you please clarify what the comments about GPLv3 are supposed to 
>> mean on that page? Is it a reference to a non-public discussion?
>> If the current driver is licensed under the MIT/X11 license (as it 
>> would appear that it is) changing it without adding substantial new 
>> work is legally questionable at best. Furthermore, changing this 
>> license after adding to it could be considered to be obnoxious and anti-community.
> Anyone's free to tack on a more restrictive license to their work, 
> which would bring the entire collection under the same license, but 
> yeah, it would be incredibly obnoxious.  X.Org's does not (currently) 
> accept GPL packages anyway, so we couldn't merge it back.
> I heard vague rumblings about the FSF convincing Silicon Motion to 
> relicense it as GPLv3+ in private, with complete disregard for X.Org.
> Good for the FSF: maybe they can do all the work on it then.

I believe the issue there was that FSF needed some small subset of code dual-licensed to be able to incorporate it into GRUB2, which is
GPLv3 - GRUB2 is very close to being able to be the only boot firmware on the actual hardware PLCC chip of the yeeloong, and of course would load before Xorg.

I don't believe there is any intent to actually try to relicense X; as you are probably aware FSF has in the past helped the X project with licensing issues - - and knowing the people involved I sincerely doubt there is any intention to do anything that would splinter the Xorg codebase.

Daniel JB Clark | | Activist; Owner
Free Software respecting hardware ~ Lemote Yeeloong reseller _______________________________________________
xorg at X.Org support

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