OpenPGP Card

Lionel Elie Mamane lionel at
Tue Sep 6 08:16:09 CEST 2005

On Tue, Sep 06, 2005 at 03:14:56PM +1200, Peter Gutmann wrote:
> Lionel Elie Mamane <lionel at> writes:
>>On Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 10:14:41PM +0200, Alon Bar-Lev wrote:

>>> Since your GPLed program does not contain any other licensed code it is
>>> still GPLed...
>>> The same goes with GPLed licensed program that loads PKCS#11
>>> module...

>>Not unless that PKCS#11 module "is normally distributed with the major
>>components of the operating system". (Assuming here that the PKCS#11 module
>>would is a library that GnuPG would be dlopen.)

> PKCS #11 is a device driver without which it's impossible to use
> critical (to the application) hardware.  If you take this
> interpretation then GPG already violates it because it ends up using
> all manner of components (RAID drivers, ATI/nVidia video drivers,
> PC/SC drivers, etc) that aren't distributed as part of the OS.

GnuPG doesn't *link* to RAID drivers or video drivers. They don't end
up "running linked together in a shared address space". They
communicate over syscalls or sockets; mechanisms that are well-known
as to be "GPL-safe" (as long as the coupling between them isn't too
tight). See .

On the other hand, some people interpret the GPL in a way saying that
if a library implements a "standard" ABI, then one can link GPL
software to it. <shrug> I think it is a good idea to stick to the
copyright holder's interpretation.

> In fact if you wanted to go reductio ad absurdum even kernel32.dll
> is excluded because the hotfixes that are constantly applied to it
> aren't "normally distributed with the system components" - they're a
> special download.

Do I have to answer that?

> On the other hand using a particular interpretation of the GPL in
> order to make it impossible for GPG to be able to support widespread
> smart cards and crypto hardware is a great example of cutting off
> your nose to spite your face.

That's a choice for the copyright holder to make.


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