Linux News Today: Debian Devs Realized They Were Shipping Pre-Built Nvidia Module, Breaking GPL
Debian developers and maintainers have just realized that they were shipping the ISO of the distribution with the a pre-compiled non-free Nvidia kernel module, which technically should be a violation of the Linux kernel.
With the recent discussion on the official support for ZFS in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, another interesting piece of information has come to light. One of our readers pointed us in the direction of a mailing list topic regarding the inclusion of a pre-compiled non-free kernel module from Nvidia.
The developer who made the observation also noted that it was most likely a violation of the GPL license used by the kernel. He also made the connection with the ZFS modules, which are only shipped as source code.
If there was only the mention of the Nvidia module, we might have glanced at the topic with less interest, but Debian developer also happens to casually reference ZFS, which is weird since he’s also an Ubuntu member, and Canonical says that they don’t have a problem.
Nvidia kernel has been removed
The discussion on the Debian mailing list goes on for a while, and there are quite a few that question the so-called conflict, but in the end, the module got removed.
“The Nvidia-graphics-modules provides pre-compiled non-free kernel modules. Several lawyers and people believe this to be a violation of the GPL license used by the kernel. This interpretation is consistent with our position on ZFS modules, which we also ship in source code only. As such, the work is not distributable and should be removed from the archive in all suites, ASAP,” Julian Andres Klode said.
The pre-built modules are no longer available by default, which could make some Nvidia users unhappy. It shouldn’t be a problem since Debian also ships Nouveau, which are the free Nvidia drivers built by the community. I only call into question the timing and the connection made with Ubuntu’s ZFS.