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Thoughts From The Drive-Thru

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I’m was waiting in the drive-thru lane at the bank today when I picked up the June 2005 issue of Dr. Dobb’s Journal from my backseat. Reading an engrossing article in the car is a fun way to meet new people. When the person behind me honks and shouts “Pay attention, moron! Move forward!”, I know what they are really saying is “I am bored and have nothing to read, will you share?”. You’d be surprised at the conversations that ensue.

One of the articles covered new features in the Linux 2.6 kernel, including the EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL() macro for use in loadable modules. The macro allows a module to hide it’s API from any module that does not use a GPL-compatible license.

What a great way to punish developers who write Linux software but don’t (or can’t) GPL their work. It’s like a declarative digital rights management system that, like most DRM schemes, inflicts most of it's pain on innocent bystanders.