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Don't forget - mount is only a trivial coding exercise. | 197 comments | Create New Account
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Don't forget - mount is only a trivial coding exercise.
Authored by: Ian Al on Saturday, September 15 2012 @ 04:04 AM EDT
The court will hear Red Hat saying that:
This program is essential to make Twin Peaks’ “replication solution” software usable.
Twin Peaks will have to admit that it would have been a trivial exercise to recode the mount software, but that they copied someone else's code without a licence. The court will not consider copied software that is 'essential' is a trivial case of copying.

---
Regards
Ian Al
Software Patents: It's the disclosed functions in the patent, stupid!

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Don't forget - mount is trivial.
Authored by: ais523 on Saturday, September 15 2012 @ 04:51 AM EDT

You could write a short program yourself to do the mounting, if you have a compiler handy. (And you probably do; a minimal compiler setup is typically available during the boot process nowadays in case there's an unexpected change to system hardware and there's a need to recompile a kernel module in order to boot the system.) The syscall is used much the same way that the command-line function is used, you just have to deal with a C-like rather than textual API.

The command-line tool is basically just argument-parsing (which you don't need if you're writing a program to do one specific mount), maintaining the fstab (not crucial, especially if you're doing things by hand; you can use /proc/mounts instead), and handling special cases that aren't needed in the basic case of just mounting a filesystem to get the system running.

There's still a lot of stuff going on in mount(8) (for people unaware of standard Linux/UNIX naming, the (8) indicates a command-line tool for use in system administration, and refers to chapter 8 of the original manual) that isn't part of the trivial system call; it's understandable why someone might want to copy it rather than replicating it. I don't see an obvious reason why, if you wanted to add a closed-source filesystem to Linux without breaking any laws, you wouldn't just write a driver for the kernel and let the standard mount command in util-linux talk to it, though. (It probably wouldn't need modification; it's designed to be generic enough to handle filesystems it wasn't programmed to know about unless they're very weird, and even for the ones that are, it can act as a front end and call another program as its backend.)

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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