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Linus on GPL3 In Forbes 316

Posted by Zonk
from the rehashing-bad-blood dept.
musicon writes "In an interview via e-mail with Forbes, Torvalds discusses GPLv3, digital rights management and sharks with laser beams. From the article: 'I'm sure changes will be made [to GPLv3]. The fact that the FSF and I have some fundamentally different views of what the GPLv2 was all about makes me worry that we won't find a good agreement on the next version.'"
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Linus on GPL3 In Forbes

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  • oh man! (Score:5, Funny)

    by nb caffeine (448698) <nbcaffeine@gmaCHEETAHil.com minus cat> on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:30PM (#14892295) Homepage Journal
    sudo apt-get install sharks-with-lasers_kernel_module

  • by UseTheSource (66510) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:30PM (#14892302) Homepage Journal
    Welcome our laser beam-wearing shark overlords!
  • by Kaellenn (540133) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:33PM (#14892339) Homepage
    First off, please forgive my ignorance, but is it really *that* important for Linus to decide to move Linux from the GPLv2 to the GPLv3? Just because version 3 of the license becomes available does not automatically invalidate the version 2 license does it? Why is this such a hot button issue?

    For the most part, I completely agree with Torvalds on his points--and I can't say I'm at all surprised to see Stallman and the FSF take this direction with version 3. Simply put: they are "zealots" for lack of a better term. For them, free software is less about open source and open development and more about a form of political agenda.

    Now I'm not trying to bash Stallman or the FSF, they have made some wonderful contributions to the community. But let's call a spade a spade here and look at what GPLv3 is about: attempting to hide attempts to restrict developers under the guise of being an update to the world's most popular open source license. For all of the FSF's talk against bad copyright policy and software restrictions, this license introduces their own set as if to say, "we don't like their way; so you should definitely do it our way instead."

    Too much politics and agenda and not enough open source development.
    • by GigsVT (208848) * on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:38PM (#14892386) Journal
      Is it even possible to relicense Linux under GPLv3?

      Did Linus get copyright assignments from every contributor? If not, then there's no way it can ever be really GPLv3, not legally.

      Even if the contributors put the "or later" clause, that would still give end users the option for using Version 2.
      • Once you add your own code and upgrade the license to V3, I think that it's possible to effectively lock it into a V3 license. I could revert to the original v2.1 cidem code, but if I want to use your new code, I'd be pretty much stuck with V3.
      • That is an oversimplification. If someone receives code with the GPL V2 or later license, they can redistribute under GPL V3 (once it's final). That does not stop someone from receiving it from another source under GPL V2. The GPL allows the recipient to license others under the same terms. This allows them to license others under GPL V3 (if that was one of the terms). However, if someone takes a V3 version and modifies it - the modifications will not be obtainable under V2 (unless the modifications ar
      • by Mr Z (6791)

        It's actually pretty simple. Portions of code licensed as "GPL v2 or later" can be incorporated into a GPL v2 program or a GPL v3 program. Portions of code licensed as GPL v2 only can only be incorporated with GPL v2 programs (or other licenses compatible with GPL v2, of which I believe there are precious few). GPL v3 is not strictly compatible with GPL v2, because it "adds additional restrictions." When you integrate GPL v2-or-later code into a GPL v3 program, the result is GPL v3.

        This is sorta like h

    • by XanC (644172) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:39PM (#14892399)
      From my vantage point (and I may well be missing something important), it looks like the anti-GPL3 sentiment comes from a misinterpretation about encryption keys. If that's clarified, either in people's heads or the wording or both, I don't see any real negatives.

      I see a GPL that prevents companies from using DRM (which wasn't around for v2) to get around GPL requirements. Basically those same requirements that we liked from v2.

      • by dgatwood (11270) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:21PM (#14892882) Journal
        Not a misinterpretation, a legitimate difference of opinion. RMS wants to make sure that GPLed software can be recompiled by the end user and replaced with an altered version, which is why that was put in the license. By contrast, Linus wants TiVo to continue using the Linux kernel, and TiVo doesn't want to allow users to create custom kernels and still have a usable TiVo, as the ability to do so would potentially allow users to easily break their DRM scheme.

        No, one of the fundamental GPL v3 changes is, by intentional design, antithetical to the continued proliferation of Linux in certain types of embedded devices, including TiVo-like devices, set top boxes, etc. Thus, there is and always will be a fundamental tension between RMS's notion of ideal freedom and the Linux community's goal of "Linux everywhere".

        This isn't something that can be changed by a simple wording change. IMHO, GPL v3 is basically DOA as far as the kernel is concerned; you can pretty much be guaranteed that if Linus did try to push GPL v3 into the kernel, all the embedded Linux developers would fork, and that fork would result in some really ugly politics and a very dramatic decline in the number of Linux (v3) kernel developers.

        • by Mr Z (6791)

          Just to throw my two cents in, that's exactly how I read it as well.

          The thing is, if we really do get "Linux everywhere," enough people are going to want to start hacking that it'll create an economic incentive to cater to the hackers. Witness the Linux variant of the WRT54G.

          IMHO, DRM will only die by collapsing under its own weight, and by heightening consumers' awareness of the issues. Fighting DRM head on by denying access to its underlying technologies (when, as Linus states, those technologies them

        • ...there is and always will be a fundamental tension between RMS's notion of ideal freedom and the Linux community's goal of "Linux everywhere".

          You seem to suggest that Linus wants Linux everywhere also? From the article his opinion seems to be rather well rounded with no real interest other than making a great kernel.

          I was rather disappointed with the following quote:

          I just care a lot more about some things than I do about others (I would refuse to buy a computer that I can't replace the OS on, but a di

      • by DRJlaw (946416)
        I see a GPL that prevents companies from using DRM (which wasn't around for v2) to get around GPL requirements. Basically those same requirements that we liked from v2.

        The GPL does not require the licensor to allow the licensee to run modified code on particular hardware. It is not there, ergo it is not a requirement.

        Arguments that it was an unintentional or unenvisioned loophole are wholly unpersuasive. RMS was fully aware that compiled code could be burned onto a PROM and incorporated into a hardw
        • You may not see a negative, but the business community certainly does. Considering that the business community is the one paying for support for GPLed software and purchasing GPL products, I fully expect to see GPL v2 versions of any commercializable collaborative apps exist far into the future. Whether you release particular code under GPL v3 or not, others can examine the code, document its interfaces, describe its processes, and rewrite it under GPL v2. Give RMS credit where credit is due, because he has
    • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:42PM (#14892448) Homepage
      GPLv3 is closing loopholes, see the TiVo example, by which people could use other people's work and ignore their obligations under the license, i.e. by making the code modifiable but making modified versions of the code unrunnable.

      If Linus is fine with TiVo's method of coopting the kernel and making it for all practical purposes unmodifiable, that's his business. But lots of other people have contributed code to free software and are not.

      PS: this is how I understand it so far. My opinion is subject to revision

      • They're only "loopholes" if everybody agrees they should be closed. Apparently that's not the case. Stallman is more principled whereas Torvalds is more pragmatic, so there are bound to be differences of opinion.
      • "...and ignore their obligations under the license, i.e. by making the code modifiable but making modified versions of the code unrunnable."

        Unrunnable? On the hardware they make, yes. These are specialized devices for specific purposes. But anybody can take a look at the code and use it for their own TIVO device.

        I hate it when people are locked out of the devices that they use. I think it is of no business to anybody if I decide to alter things that are legally mine. But I do not think that this is a cause

    • First off, please forgive my ignorance, but is it really *that* important for Linus to decide to move Linux from the GPLv2 to the GPLv3? Just because version 3 of the license becomes available does not automatically invalidate the version 2 license does it? Why is this such a hot button issue?

      I'm sure his mailbox is filled with GPLv3 questions, and of course he can't just ignore GPLv3 since I'm sure there will be attempts to add code to the kernel with this license. Seems that he is saying that GPLv3 code w

    • by kfg (145172) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:52PM (#14892564)
      For them, free software is less about open source and open development and more about a form of political agenda.

      Dude, copyright and patents are a political agenda by identity.

      KFG
      • You are correct.

        But is that what a software license about? Or rather; should be about? In my eyes (and apparently in Linus' eyes as well) its about fostering open development because its a better way to do things, not pursuing an agenda.
        • Well, these are the two camps.

          The Free Software People want licenses that make the source available for social/political reasons, because they believe that the general purpose computer is too important a tool to allow anyone to control it.

          The Open Source People want licenses that make the source available for practical reasons, because they believe that doing so makes for better software.

          These are two seperate groups, and while their needs and aims often coincide, they don't always. Linus is an open source
    • "attemping to hide attempts to restrict developers"

      RMS can be accused of many things, but rarely attempting to hide things. He's
      always been active about describing his reasons.

      The GPL is about politics. It always has been. So has GNU. This is what it is
      for. FSF is attempting to change the way that an industry worth billions behaves.
      How can this not be about politics?

      Linus' postion is also about poltics, but a different sort of politics.

      It's entirely reasonable to argue that the FSF position has the wrong so
    • by vertinox (846076) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:05PM (#14892709)
      For all of the FSF's talk against bad copyright policy and software restrictions, this license introduces their own set as if to say, "we don't like their way; so you should definitely do it our way instead."

      RMS and the FSF aren't saying saying "All your old GPLv2's are invalid and now you must upgrade to our new GPLv3!!!"

      They are giving developers the options to restrict what others from restricting the next guy down the line from doing something with their work.

      You don't have to use GPLv3 if you don't want to.

      If someone else releases their work with a GPLv3 license and it bothers you...

      Then tough. The original author has the right to release it under any license he wants be it BSD, closed source, or GPL.

      If Linus doesn't want to use GLPv3 then it is his right. He can keep v2 forever. The GPL license doesn't belong to RMS. He just made up the wording of the contract that others can use to release software with.

      No one is being forced to anything they don't want to...

      Well other than the people who are being restricted from adding DRM and various freedom restricting to other people's work released in GPLv3.

      Well if you really want that DRM so bad... Then make your own program from scratch. Don't use someone elses open source code whose express wish is to not have his work used in ways he did not mean it to.

      GPLv3 gives the original author this ability.
    • by amightywind (691887) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:05PM (#14892710) Journal

      Simply put: they are "zealots" for lack of a better term. For them, free software is less about open source and open development and more about a form of political agenda.

      Stallman repeatedly states that software freedom is his goal, and not its widespread adoption by "practical minded" corporations. He has nothing against corporations if they do not interfere with his primary goal. That make's him a zealot, I guess. I call it clear thinking. Time [gnu.org] and [gnu.org] again [newsforge.com] he has been proven correct in the face of criticism.

      • by Arandir (19206)
        Stallman has repeatedly stated that universal Free Software is his goal, including its universal adoption by otherwise practical minded corporations. He wants the complete elimination of proprietary software.

        He is a zealot, because he is willing to use coercion to promote his ideology. He has demonstrated this by calling for a software tax to fund Free Software, and has supported government regulations requiring the use of Free Software.
    • "Zealots" again. Why cant you just use another word to qualify Stallman actions? Like CONSISTENT with his beliefs, STEADY in his view of Free Software.

      RMS did not change his views on developping software to empower users. The world of Open Source Software did and is in great danger of falling in the same trap again. This time DRM/DMCA and patents are the trap set by the corporations to gain control of OtherPeople IP (TM).

      RMS does not force you to abide by his rules. You can use whatever license you want and
    • by quentin_quayle (868719) <quentin_quayle&yahoo,com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:42PM (#14893102)
      Suppose a vendor creates a distro, Blue Hat. It's designed for platform P but P is made to require binaries signed by Blue Hat, it won't run anything else. Now Blue Hat releases a body of source code and claims to have complied with GPL v.2.

      Now has Blue Hat complied with GPL v.2? No one outside Blue Hat can know. The only way to verify that some source corresponds to the binary you're running is to compile it and run the result. If you can't do that without a key, and Blue Hat won't give you a suitable key, they could violate GPL with impunity.

      It doesn't require that BH give up their ultimate private key, just one sufficient to sign source. This is all that GPL 3 requires in regard to DRM and keys.
    • First off, please forgive my ignorance, but is it really *that* important for Linus to decide to move Linux from the GPLv2 to the GPLv3? Just because version 3 of the license becomes available does not automatically invalidate the version 2 license does it? Why is this such a hot button issue?

      Well, from TFA, Mr Torvalds seems to have disagreements with FSF about what GPL2 really means. If that's the case, the Linux kernel needs to move to something else, which both Mr Torvalds and the people who own the

  • Somewhat Dupe ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by karvind (833059) <karvind&gmail,com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:38PM (#14892398) Journal
    Our earlier slashdot stories unless he explains more ..

    Torvalds Explains Dislike For GPLv3 [slashdot.org]

    Linus Says No GPLv3 for the Linux Kernel [slashdot.org]

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The GPL v3 is aimed at ensuring that you always have the right to modify a GPL v3 program and still have it work as it did. That's all. It's rather unfortunate that lots of people hear the term "DRM" and immediately think of music/video piracy, because DRM is really about the control of applications, and preventing you from modifying them.

      You see, one of the main aims of the GPL v3 is to stop Trusted Computing from being used *against* the owner of a machine. With the previous version of the GPL, it's qui

    • Forbes is a big magazine, though. This is the difference between you telling your significant other that you don't like your job, and you telling the New York Times that you don't like it.

      This Forbes interview will make business-types who know nothing about software, but recognize Linus's name and think him a genius think that the GPLv3 is bad news, and they won't read any RMS rant on some random blog that gives the other side of the argument.
  • Most popular OSS? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by woobieman29 (593880) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:43PM (#14892464)
    From TFA: "Torvalds' opinion matters because his program is by far the most popular open source program in the world."

    I'm not sure....would maybe Firefox have more overall users? Seems that it's on 80-90% of Linux boxes, plus an ever growing number of Windows machines and other OS's as well.

    • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:46PM (#14892490)
      Firefox is only on workstations -- headless servers typically won't have a web browser; my company's certainly don't. I was thinking gcc would be a better candidate: Not only is it installed on a strong majority of Linux-based systems, but also on a large number of traditional Unix systems elsewhere.
      • Firefox is only on workstations -- headless servers typically won't have a web browser; my company's certainly don't.

        I'm sure meant "graphical webbrowser" ;-) The default install of OpenBSD has lynx installed, though I don't use it often, it's very handy when you need some kind of web browser, like reading docs that is in html format.

      • Like I remember installing Ubuntu once and gcc wasn't on it. Some other nontechnical-user-oriented distros I've seen were like that. They assume you'll use package managers to do everything?
      • Firefox is only on workstations -- headless servers typically won't have a web browser

        "popular" is a measure of how many people would be using it, not how many installations. I think firefox is used directly by more people than linux, unless you count the fact that google uses linux and more people use google than they do firefox. So, yes Linux does win the popularity contest, just the people voting don't know it.

      • And the rest. Eg. I believe it's the defacto compiler for VxWorks, a popular realtime OS.
    • "I'm not sure....would maybe Firefox have more overall users? Seems that it's on 80-90% of Linux boxes, plus an ever growing number of Windows machines and other OS's as well."

      The article was written by a poor journalist. The theme of the article hovers around GPL3 -- so I believe its context was meant in that of "Most popular GPL program"

      Firefox is not released under the GPL.

      I would be willing to bet that xfree/xorg are more popular though, being on Solaris, BSD, Linux and more boxes. GCC is also another p
    • Firefox just recently passed the 150 million download mark [spreadfirefox.com].

      Redhat alone sold 215,000 sold 215,000 Linux licenses [itjungle.com] in just the 2nd quarter of 2005.

      Think outside of your tiny world of single-pc households and do the math. There are a lot more Linux installations than there are Firefox installations.
  • community split (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slackaddict (950042) <rmorganNO@SPAMopenaddict.com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:47PM (#14892511) Homepage Journal
    I've read several other articles that point to the impending split within the OSS community. We've got the fringe OSS purist element on one side and the business community on the other side. The fringe element doesn't want anything commercial tainting OSS and the business community wants OSS to play with commercial products and technologies.

    I don't think it's a matter of right and wrong, but a battle of ideas between purist "ivory tower" types and the real-world that has legitimate needs for OSS and the business community to work together. Like I said before, if you think that businesses like IBM have purely altruistic motives for supporting Linux and OSS then you are sadly, sadly mistaken. Businesses have a responsibility to their shareholders to make money. Linux/OSS is a means to an end. But in the meantime, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    • Instead of calling it GPLv3, make it PRPLv1 (People's Revolutionary Public License) or whatever. It kind of obviates the problem. Linus is right in regard to the GPL being about (in probably most people's minds) open exchange of software, not some kind of general libertarian revolution. Restricting use of the software in other ways is a major step that should be a different license.
    • Can we please not mix up commercial with proprietary. It's really not that hard if you really concentrate :P
    • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@gmai l . c om> on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:10PM (#14892772) Homepage Journal
      You cannot install it on your hardware (laser-equipped shark or otherwise) without also making sure that others can install another version. And that's my gripe.

      Call me a fanatic, but open source isn't worth crap if it can't be redistributed. This is _THE_ principle of open source, that anyone can make AND RUN their own version. There are business-ready licenses out there, but the GPL was made to perpetuate the programmers' and users' freedom.

      I think Linus needs a reality check. Perhaps a few months of working for Microsoft will make him realize his mistakes. There ARE evil people, evil corporations trying to take over the world, just look at the patent business.

      I'm kinda disappointed after reading this, I always had seen Linus as a hero, and thought he was as enthusiastic about open source as many of us were. Sad to see he's just yet another programmer who went corporate, like Steve Jobs. He just happened to cooperate with the open source movement.

      Oh well. We should be thankful he's still cooperating, and consider him an ally rather than a leader.
    • by mengel (13619) <{mengel} {at} {users.sourceforge.net}> on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:22PM (#14892899) Homepage Journal
      You're falling for the classic confusion here (which the FSF "purists" are trying to correct) that doing commercial software somehow requires being proprietary.

      The FSF folks would be ecstatic to have busnesses actually embrace the open source model, be commercial, and sell lots and lots of support, installation, and maintenance for software that is still modifiable by the end customer.

      People keep trying to paint the FSF folks as anti-commercial, or anti-business. They are most assuredly not. They are trying to educate companies and the public about a better way to do software, whether as a business or not.

      And neither companies nor people should adopt FSF principals out of altruism. They should adopt them because they realize that once customers understand what the free software rights really do for them, they will begin to demand them by not doing business with companies that don't grant them. Just as you wouldn't buy a car from a dealer if you could only ever get it fixed at that dealership (for whatever rates they choose to charge), you will stop buying software that can only be modified by that software company. It doesn't mean you won't go to the dealer for some or all repairs, it just means you don't want to be forced to.

      Of course, pushing the car analogy, this only really happens when you become aware of local car repair companies. And this is where companies like IBM can really help -- by offering the "Jiffy Lube" of free software -- a national, well known chain of software maintenance, configuration, and repair for open source.

      • As long as there are companies selling software as modules to be embedded into other software, there will be proprietary software. The business model of "our software goes into yours, you pay us royalties and sign an NDA" happens a LOT in IT, and while it continues to exist it makes entire GPL'd systems from BIOS upwards unlikely.
  • GNU/Linux kernel? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amightywind (691887) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:49PM (#14892535) Journal

    I wonder if Linus even has the real authority to unilaterly switch to an alternative license. I don't think so. By his own admission he is not a deep thinker about the philosophical (he says polical) part of the job. Many of his colleagues are. Any change would have to be accepted by the core kernel developers. If not a fork is all but inevitable (GNU/Linux anyone?). My guess is he will talk like this from time to time but will be under pressure to maintain the status quo.

    • Linus can't unilaterally change the license, but nor can it be forked with another license since the kernel is GPLv2 with no "or later" clause. Unless the entire kernel community wants to rewrite every part of the kernel that Linus has touched since its inception, Linus will get the last word on the license. The whole argument is mostly moot since they couldn't possibly get all the contributors to agree to change the license anyway.
      • It depends whether there agreement is really necessary. Lets assume that Linus had the opposite opinion and released the kernel under GPL 3. Developer A agreed and developer B disagrees. Both people's code is in the kernel. What does B do about it?

        Lets say he sues distributor C. C argues he has done nothing outside GPL 2. As far as the additional encumbrance clause C may argue that B lacks standing over the entire kernel and the license applies to the whole. Who is he going to sue where he has enough
        • Convoluted? Public Domain? Not hardly. Companies have repeatedly bent when challenged over breaking the GPL. That's why it never (rarely) ends up in court. When it has gone to court, it has won, but going to court is expensive, and the Linux community has tried to avoid this.
    • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Friday March 10, 2006 @05:06PM (#14893959) Homepage

      I wonder if Linus even has the real authority to unilaterly switch to an alternative license.

      He doesn't. The Linux kernel hasn't been under his exclusive copyright for most of its existence. Not even his fork is under his copyright alone because he doesn't collect copyright assignments from contributors to his fork. This seems to me to be right in line with the general lack of foresight and considerable confusion about software freedom I've come to associate with him (see his use of Bitkeeper and his objection to Andrew Tridgell's work on a Bitkeeper repo pulling program for other examples).

      By his own admission he is not a deep thinker about the philosophical (he says polical) part of the job.

      All the more reason why Forbes should have interviewed people who are deep thinkers about issues relevant to the GPL: RMS, Eben Moglen, or someone from the FSF who could have spoken with more insight and a clear understanding of what the license is meant to achieve. Interviewing Torvalds about licensing is usually fruitless because he gets another chance to demonstrate how much he doesn't understand the goals of the license and how much he doesn't agree with what he doesn't understand.

      He claims that use of GPL-covered programs is restricted by the first draft of GPLv3: "You cannot install it on your hardware (laser-equipped shark or otherwise) without also making sure that others can install another version.". That is a good thing because that's critical to software freedom. His criticism is confusing: he professes to want to be allowed to fix things, yet he criticizes along the lines of preventing people from stopping users to be able to fix things. He also doesn't seem to understand that others might want to tinker things he doesn't want to tinker with (a dishwasher or a DVR). Heaven forbid anyone wants to change the length of a wash, rinse, or dry cycle or a DVR that only deletes recorded programs when the user says to do so.

      He views the GPLv2 as a contract: "However, I don't think that's part of my GPLv2 contract." and Eben Moglen made it quite clear in his detailed discussion of GPLv3 that the GPL has not been and will not be a contract. There's even a section in the draft GPLv3 called "Not a Contract". I'd rather take Moglen's legal advice than Torvalds', particularly when it comes to interpreting the GPL.

      It's also hard to take Torvalds' complaints seriously because he refuses to become a part of the year-long revision process, even by submitting comments to the GPLv3 FSF site [fsf.org].

      If not a fork is all but inevitable (GNU/Linux anyone?). My guess is he will talk like this from time to time but will be under pressure to maintain the status quo.

      GNU/Linux isn't a fork, it's the GNU operating system featuring the Linux kernel. This is distinct from the GNU operating system featuring a kernel from one of the BSD systems, or the official GNU operating system which runs with the HURD.

  • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:50PM (#14892551) Homepage
    GPLv3 code "crimps the style of mad scientists everywhere by also putting restrictions on the use of the source code. You cannot install it on your hardware (laser-equipped shark or otherwise) without also making sure that others can install another version"

    If I understand it right, and I prolly don't, you can install any modified version whatsoever on your sharks. Your obligations re: making keys available etc. do not kick in until you distribute the modified version. i.e. if you're a shark salesman rather than a mad scientist.

    Is that right?

    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yes! I'm confused as to how Linus gets this part wrong. Mad scientists (or the military, or Microsoft, etc.) can use modified GPLv3 code however they want. However, if they try to distribute the code to the public (they sell software, or hardware with software on it), then they have to make it possible for the recipients to:

      1. See the code.
      2. Modify the code.
      3. Run the modified code.

      Private shark zoos are not subject to any restriction. Shark salesmen, however, would be required to make the source available
  • Ignore him. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@gmai l . c om> on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:54PM (#14892603) Homepage Journal
    Linus isn't an activist. He's just a programmer. Sure, he made a wonderful kernel, but it's the GPL that made his kernel popular and freely-downloadable.

    In any case, does it really matter if he redistributes his kernel under GPL2 or 3? It's not like it's the end of the world or anything. I think this is plainly media hype.
    • He's not really even a programmer, he's more a product manager. One of the best product managers in the world, of course.
      • "He's not really even a programmer"

        Of course he is. It may have been a while but he wrote the initial code and a lot of what came after. And he reads code at a level that makes most of us blush.

        Just because you don't write as much code as you used to doesn't mean your not a programmer anymore. Besides, what's he doing in his free time that we don't necessarily know about?
    • Re:Ignore him. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444)
      bolony.

      People downloaded Linux because it was a free unix that they didn't have to put down $$$$ for a unix worksation.

      The GPL just happened to be the license that it was under. FreeBSD probably would have taken over if it were not for the AT&T lawsuit. INfact I heard of BSDI and FreeBSD long before Linux back when I wanted a heavy duty BBS system in 1993. I heard of linux several years later.

      Personally the license had noting to do wiht it and possix and BSD userland and kernels have been around for alo
  • by drrck (959788) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:58PM (#14892636)
    Due to the public outcry GPLv4 will no longer include sharks with laser beams. They have been replaced with Sea Bass. Extremely ill-tempered sea bass.
  • by FlorianMueller (801981) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:01PM (#14892671) Homepage
    For a long time it seemed to me that a distinction between Free Software and Open Source was hair-splitting: the key open source programs were Free Software at the same time. Now there are two trends that suggest a distinction may be increasingly necssary:

    • Oracle et al. try to acquire open-source projects by buying up the companies behind them.
    • IBM and like-minded large players try to effectively control open source based on their huge patent portfolios. Companies like Nokia sometimes say it pretty directly that they believe patents enable them to potentially open-source some code while still retaining ownership.

    Looking at those disconcerting trends, I very much support the GPL v3's approach to software patents. But when it comes to DRM, I think the FSF goes too far and addresses an issue for philosophical reasons that isn't worth it. DRM is a lot more legitimate per se than software patents are. Categorically opposing DRM may be perceived as downright anti-commercial by a number of people, and it's a move that I fear will only hurt the FSF and the GPL without changing anything about the fact that DRM is here to stay.

    • Categorically opposing DRM may be perceived as downright anti-commercial by a number of people, and it's a move that I fear will only hurt the FSF and the GPL without changing anything about the fact that DRM is here to stay.

      Fact? Why don't we give the FSF the chance to fight the good fight and see how it turns out? Do any of us really want to see a corporate dominated DRM world? The FSF already has a good track record (e.g. GCC, Perl, and Linux all use the GPL) so lets not write them off yet.

    • may be perceived as downright anti-commercial by a number of people,

      Since when exactly has the FSF been concerned about be perceived as anti-commercial? Its been like 20 some years of them fighting "what's good for business".
    • In all fairness, I really don't have a fundamental problem with DRM, what I have a problem with is when someone figures out how to bypass or hack a DRM scheme and goes to jail. I think the GPL needs to protect people from that just as it protects people from going to jail and being fined if they copy and add to other peoples modifications of GPL'd code.

      I have confidence that GPL3 would protect me from that, I'm not so sure about GPL2. My world really does have room for DRM and the GPL, just not DRM backed
    • I think there is a distinction between two different uses of DRM.

      Firstly, it can be used to "protect" copyrighted content - films, music, etc. I would agree that this could be a legitimate use for DRM, because it is "protecting" something which the people who created the content in question want protecting (arguments about who really "owns" the content notwithstanding).

      But secondly, it can also be used to ensure that program code cannot be run on particular hardware unless it has been properly signed (or wh
      • "I think there is a distinction between two different uses of DRM."

        Let me rephrase your two categories, while trying to preserve the essential meaning.

        First, DRM can be used to help stop people from breaking the law, e.g. by making copies beyond what is permitted by fair use.

        Second, DRM can be used to restrict users from exercising rights that otherwise would be theirs by law, such as making fair use copies of copyrighted material or running a copy of a program that they have purchased.

        Unfortunately, a

  • From the article... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Right at the end:

      Are you participating in the GPLv3 process?

    No, I'm not actively involved. And it's not so much because I couldn't be, it's more because I just can't find it in me to care too deeply. I'm the kind of person who hates office politics. I'm pretty happy with the GPLv2, and I just don't have the motivation or inclination to start talking to lawyers. I'm a programmer. I worry about kernel bugs.

  • by Stalyn (662) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:11PM (#14892791) Homepage Journal
    GPLv3 is anti-evil-DRM in which the GPL would be circumvented by DRM methods. Such as providing you with the source code by unable to compile/run it because of DRM. Yet GPLv3 as I understand it does not say you can not include DRM in your software, you are free to do so.

    I just find Linus too trusting of business. You would think he would have learned his lesson with BitKeeper but in the end I think he blames Andrew Tridgell instead of BitMover. Even RMS may be too distrusting of business, but isn't it better to be safer than sorry?
    • s/by unable/but unable

      *sigh*
    • Its not just about drm. Its about requiring upgrades to its users. Something that is technically difficult and a pain with linux rather than a fresh install of the latest versions.

      DRM is here to stay and EFI is being pushed for the sole purpose to prevent windows piracy. Our own computers will need to interact with drm TCPA chips and use EFI to trust all our components in our computers. WIth GPL3 its impossible to port linux to the pc anymore because it needs to use it in order to boot.
  • Bitkeeper anyone? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Jamieson (890438) on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:12PM (#14892799)
    Why the facination with Mr. T's thoughts on the GPL? He really isn't that big of a believer in Open Source. It just happened to be the vehicle that propelled him to fame. IT IS HIS RIGHT TO NOT REALLY CARE ABOUT OPEN SOURCE!

    But what is this thing that /. seems to have about pretending there is this big NEW rift in the open source movement with Stalmans GPL v3? There is no rift, you have Stallman who is a believer, and Linus, who couldn't really give a crap as long as he can keep working unencumbered. That is why he chose bitkeeper, again, that is his right, as long as he does not pose as an Opensource poster boy(I don't think he usually does).
  • by RLiegh (247921) * on Friday March 10, 2006 @03:51PM (#14893184) Homepage Journal
    Morally, Linus is on the wrong side of the DRM battle, since he supports it (and is willing to be used as a PR pawn by Forbes), however Pragmatically, he's on the right side of the battle, since DRM is ineveitable and perhaps by doing their bidding, the robber barons^W^W business world will allow him to continue living^w coding.

    Stallman may be right morally, but so was John The Baptist; and look at what happened to him.
    • What happened to John the Baptist? He got killed for fairly random reasons, then was immortalised, and then him and the guy he announced (a certain Mr. Christ) went on to change the world.

      That's all Stallman wants, too, and all I've got to say is, more power to him. I would much rather live in a world without DRM than one with.
  • Linus RMS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrCopilot (871878) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:13PM (#14893407) Homepage Journal
    Linus "I'm pretty happy with the GPLv2, and I just don't have the motivation or inclination to start talking to lawyers. I'm a programmer. I worry about kernel bugs."

    RMS "Pragmatically speaking, thinking about greater long-term goals will strengthen your will to resist this pressure. If you focus your mind on the freedom and community that you can build by staying firm, you will find the strength to do it. ``Stand for something, or you will fall for nothing.''

    Pretty much sums it up. I'm sure RMS doesn't like talking to lawyers either, he just has Beliefs and convictions that force him to. (No offense Mr MOGLEN)

    I will adopt GPL v3 as soon as finalized. I have much more faith in the "Ramblings" of RMS than the casual "Who Cares" of Linus. Great as the kernel might be. Without the Convictions of Stallman and GPLv2, Most of us would still be Running Proprietary OS's and paying for several different Compilers and toolsuites and Graphical toolkits, ad infinitum. We have those choices now because Stallman sat down with a few lawyers despite his distaste for authority. There is something to be said about beating the big guys with their own stick, Software Licenses

    Note to Article Author: I believe GCC is a little more popular (at least in terms of users) than Linux or Firefox. And that was written by?

    Ramble on RMS

  • Is it just me, or is the comment from Linus about inteligent people can change their minds a dig at Bush?
    • Only if you see Bush in every shadow. Or a Bush hater in every shadow

      Being able to change your mind has always been a part of being a reasonable person.

  • by Trestran (715384) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:20PM (#14893487)
    Maybe someone can explain this to me, but I'm not sure if GPL3 is saying what Linus says (or thinks) it's saying.

    I watched some of the explanations on GPL3 given by RMS and Moglen here [slashdot.org], and they seemed fairly adamant about the fact that GPL3 did not forbid the use of DRM-ish encryption/authentication in code that falls under it, just that any keys necesary for running it need to be given to the user.

    Same deal for Trusted Computing-esque machines; it's perfectly fine to make a machine that uses keys to restrict usage of the machine maker's code that falls under GPL3, as long as they give the keys to the end-user. It's even fine to make a seperate key for each and every machine, only give it's unique key to one single end user tied to his or her machine. Just as long as the end-user gets those keys:
    RMS: Now, if each machine has a different signature key, they only have to give your signature key to you. Your machine's signature key. They have to give it to you, they don't have to publish it, they don't have to give it to anyone else. They can even promise you that they won't give it to anyone else, but they have to give it to you.
    Or as the GPL3 licence puts it:
    Complete Corresponding Source Code also includes any encryption or authorization codes necessary to install and/or execute the source code of the work, perhaps modified by you, in the recommended or principal context of use, such that its functioning in all circumstances is identical to that of the work, except as altered by your modifications. It also includes any decryption codes necessary to access or unseal the work's output. Notwithstanding this, a code need not be included in cases where use of the work normally implies the user already has it.

    Complete Corresponding Source Code need not include anything that users can regenerate automatically from other parts of the Complete Corresponding Source Code.
    Reading through the DRM clause it mentions "no permission is given to distribute covered works that illegally invade users' privacy" which is already "illegal", so you wouldn't be allowed to do it anyway, and "[no permission is given] for modes of distribution that deny users that run covered works the full exercise of the legal rights granted by this License" which you wouldn't be allowed to do anyway, without breaking the licence.

    Or is this dispute about some other part of the new licence?
  • Gross out (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FishandChips (695645) on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:25PM (#14893551) Journal
    If Torvalds declared he was simply walking away from it all, one really couldn't blame him considering the sometimes disgusting criticism levelled at him. And what has he done, apart from helping to give the world a free operating system, inspiring the open source movement and saying simply "Please treat me with the freedoms and respect I extend to you"?

    Mr Torvalds is just one guy, an engineer with an optimistic, congenial outlook on life, not a professinal advocate or evangelist with a foundation or six behind him full of law professors. Have Lessig and Moglen condemned some of the personal criticism levelled at Torvalds or would that be too much like hard work?

    Yet as a hard-working regular guy Torvalds has a better grasp of daily realities than many of his critics. Tightening up on software patents is a good idea, but rejecting DRM as the devil's work is a poor idea, perhaps simply immature. As the underdog in this affair he gets my support every time. If a better, revised GPLv3 emerges, one that two people or more can actually understand and agree upon, which is more than can be said for the present draft, then Torvalds will deserve our gratitude for sticking up for what he believes despite the hyena-like behaviour of some in the open source world.
    • Re:Gross out (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Spaceman40 (565797)

      the hyena-like behaviour of some in the ... world.

      Unfortunately, you'll get hyena-like behavior in any group with more than a few people. While I don't support it, I also recognize that anyone in Torvalds's position (being known by millions of people) is going to have his/her detractors, occasionally vocal and caustic.

      If a better, revised GPLv3 emerges, one that two people or more can actually understand and agree upon, which is more than can be said for the present draft

      There are actually quite a few peop

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