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Torvalds Critiques of GPLv3 and FSF Refuted

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the time-for-a-face-to-face dept.

548

j00bar writes "After Linus Torvalds' impassioned critiques of the second draft of GPLv3 and the community process the FSF has organized, Newsforge's Bruce Byfield discovered in conversations with the members of the GPLv3 committees that the committee members disagree; they believe not only has the FSF been responsive to the committees' feedback but also that the second draft includes some modifications in response to Torvalds' earlier criticisms." NewsForge and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.

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Sure to happen (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854425)

Has Linus lost his mind?

Re:Sure to happen (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 8 years ago | (#15854434)

One indeed has to wonder what's going on with Torvalds. It's one thing to feel that Stallman is a kook and the Free Software ideal is often overly zealous. I admire Stallman and his movement, but I acknowledge that many people consider it all an embrassment. However, it's another thing entirely to actively cheer on the introduction of DRM, which Torvalds has been doing now for a couple of years. Doesn't Linus realize that with strict hardware controls enforcing what may and may not be run, one's freedom to tinker may disappear? You'd think that someone who invented an operating system "just for fun" would want other people to be able to experience the magic of doing whatever they likes with their computer.

Re:Sure to happen (-1, Troll)

packeteer (566398) | about 8 years ago | (#15854462)

This may be me going out on a limb but maybe Linus knows he personally will be allowed to tinker no matter what gets implimented. Remember that hes not immune to being corrupted by money too.

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Re:Sure to happen (1, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854642)

This may be me going out on a limb but maybe Linus knows he personally will be allowed to tinker no matter what gets implimented. Remember that hes not immune to being corrupted by money too.

Your way past out on a limb. I think you've fallen deeply into your own crevice.

On what basis can you make such an allegation? Someone disagrees with you, so they must be corrupt? What the fuck is wrong with you?

Re:Sure to happen (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 8 years ago | (#15854480)

a well implemented DRM/TC system will not require code signing or other forms of verified binaries, rather blocks of memory will be restricted in what code can do with them, to work with a protected set of data you would create a thread that would handle that data and only certain actions could be taken. to allow backups of data the data or any derivitive of it could be exported in an encrypted block back to "normal" space and depending on rules encoded in the original data it could be openable by a limited (or unlimited) set of other devices and classes of devices.

an audio stream could be exported to encrpted compressed audo for loading on any one of many portable audio players with a TC chip.

programming around these rules would take some getting used to but it would allow complete source and binary freedome by separating the rules applied to the data and the applicaitons handling it. this also removes the possibility of an insecure or secretly malicious application compromising a set of protected data.

I can see both sides (5, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 8 years ago | (#15854430)

The FSF intends to use the GPL as a means to prevent people from doing certain "bad" things with free software. I get that and I support the idea. Linus seems to have chosen the GPL for practical reasons. He didn't want the code that he and so many others poured their hearts and souls into to be stolen and closed like the Cedega situation.

I suspect that Linus just wants to make his software while the FSF wants to change the world.

LK

yeah but guess who owns the future? (1, Insightful)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 8 years ago | (#15854467)

Absolutely right. But so far it's been Linus who's done the most to actually change the world. Proving once again the superiority of actually getting working technology out the door, versus spending a decade or so fine-tuning your philosophy about how to begin working on the great technology that you will eventually design when you have the philosophy just perfect (if everyone hasn't succumbed to old age first).

I've had enough troubles in my own career directly traceable to wanting to Get Things Right at the expense of Getting Things Done to appreciate this particular point with some sensitivity, not to say bitterness. Feh.

GNU project non-existent? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854479)

Wow, the GNU utilities you use every day, the compiler, and many other things the GNU project started were completely ignored in your post.

Re:GNU project non-existent? (1)

wenzi (6465) | about 8 years ago | (#15854540)

We use a lot of utilities. They were not all written by Stallman, and not GNU by the way.

We use Cron, written by Paul Vixie, everyday also.

What is your point ?

Re:GNU project non-existent? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854571)

Nowhere did I say "all" utilities. The "GNU utilities" refers to things such as the entire coreutils package.

My point doesn't need all utilities to be written by the FSF, of course. The parent merely implied that the FSF didn't do *any* coding toward his software freedom in ignorance. My pointing of *some* contradicts a statement that there were none at all.

If you missed these connections, I apologize and stress that I will point out the doubly (and more) obvious in future posts. I should have known better than to point out the singly obvious when there are so many ways to miss the obvious!

Re:GNU project non-existent? (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 years ago | (#15854631)

I can replace all the GNU utilities in a Linux system with functionally similair tools from other projects - however, the GNU kernel is practically unusable. Its simply a matter of convenience that the GNU tools are used, but I guess that should be acknowledged as well.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (5, Insightful)

Mornelithe (83633) | about 8 years ago | (#15854486)

Yes, yes. Quite right. Hardly anybody uses gcc, or glibc, or gdb, or emacs, or bash, or...

Damn those FSF nuts for never writing any software that's good enough for use. After all, everyone knows that all you need is a bare kernel to get things done.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (4, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 8 years ago | (#15854594)

Well, yes, good point. A very good point.

But...I dunno. Until Linux came along, these things seemed a bit on the fringe to me, except for Emacs, which predates the FSF anyway. I installed GCC and GDB once or twice in the early 90s, but it never did as good a job as the compiler and debugger you always got along with your proprietary Unix, which you got along with your workstation. (The $1000 license fee being peanuts compared to the $40,000 hardware anyway.)

So at least in my experience -- and I admit I was a scientific programmer, a user, and not a systems programmer or applications developer -- the GNU tools were pretty much just curiosities until Linux made it possible to run Unix on your PC. Now that was a Great Thing. All the elegance, stability, security and network-savviness of the work computer now available at home. Very nice. And the GNU tools made that possible, yes. But the free kernel was the keystone to that arch, I think. Linux could have squeaked by with few less GNU tools (albeit not without GCC), but I think all the GNU tools would have remained curiosities without the free kernel. As soon as a great free Unix existed, a lot of people jumped in to add what was still missing, like a fancy desktop instead of plain old X and fvwm, drivers, or package managers instead of a giant tarball and a 64kb README. But would people have ever jumped in to create the kernel, knowing the various GNU system applications already existed? Well, they didn't -- not until Linus. Maybe it had to wait until hardware prices came down, so if it hadn't been Linus it would've been someone else anyway. But maybe it's also harder for people to get excited when they see a bunch of pieces lying around, so that if maybe you built the central piece you could assemble everything into a coherent whole. Maybe it's easier to get excited when you can see a working model, even if it's crude and belches smoke everywhere, and could use some serious extra tinkering to work better. It's from that point of view that I think Linux has inspired and will inspire more people to do OSS work, or use it, than GNU. Maybe Linus is Shakespeare stealing Roger Bacon's plays -- but it's nevertheless Shakespeare who gets remembered in the history books.

Also, what I recall (vaguely) is that between '85 and '95 or so, the GNU kernel was always coming along Real Soon Now, but seemed stuck because they wanted to Get It Right. Let's just pass lightly over the gcc/egcs wierdness, which is maybe harder to understand than the Pope's nuanced position on masturbation among priests. I think substantial dithering got short-circuited by Linus, and by the people fired up about Linux,

Now, I'm not saying RMS or the FSF's work isn't highly valuable. The value of their work isn't what I'm talking about at all. What I'm saying is that I think the future belongs more to people like Linus -- that they will have more lasting influence -- because, as the OP said, they seems more focussed on getting stuff out the door, and the FSF (and RMS in particular) seem more focussed on making sure it's the right stuff, built with the right moral philosophy, isn't going to exploit the masses or give you karma, et cetera. In all my working experience, folks who spend substantial amounts of energy on the aesthetics of their product rather than on its bare ugly function get chewed up by the real world sooner or later. Jobs and NeXT, Betamax vs. VHS, Multics, DEC's Alpha chip -- tragedies like that come to mind. The perfect is often the enemy of the good, as they say.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (5, Insightful)

ultranova (717540) | about 8 years ago | (#15854634)

All the elegance, stability, security and network-savviness of the work computer now available at home. Very nice. And the GNU tools made that possible, yes. But the free kernel was the keystone to that arch, I think. Linux could have squeaked by with few less GNU tools (albeit not without GCC), but I think all the GNU tools would have remained curiosities without the free kernel.

The GNU project was trying to create a free version of Unix - the GNU system - and was going about it in a systematic fashion, one tool at the time. The kernel was left until last, and Linux simply happened to come at the right moment, when most of the system was already up and running but the kernel wasn't.

As it happens, the GNU project does have a working kernel of their own, HURD. HURD never really took off, mainly because Linux got the snowball effect going - it got some users, some of whom began co-developing it, making it better, which in turn gained it more users and more developers and so on. Linux has almost all the developers, so HURD has almost none.

But thinking that Linux is the true success story and the GNU project just a less important side path is absurd. It's the GNU project that made Linux possible, not the other way around.

What I'm saying is that I think the future belongs more to people like Linus -- that they will have more lasting influence -- because, as the OP said, they seems more focussed on getting stuff out the door, and the FSF (and RMS in particular) seem more focussed on making sure it's the right stuff, built with the right moral philosophy, isn't going to exploit the masses or give you karma, et cetera.

You think that Linux - a single operating system kernel - is going to have more lasting influence than the whole free software movement, of which the Linux kernel is just a part of ? Especially when what allowed Linux to grow in the first place was the development model made possible by the GPL ?

I beg to differ.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 8 years ago | (#15854636)

But the free kernel was the keystone to that arch, I think. Linux could have squeaked by with few less GNU tools (albeit not without GCC), but I think all the GNU tools would have remained curiosities without the free kernel

There already was a free kernel. It was called BSD, and it ran on VAX and a few other things. Due to an SCO-like lawsuit, the first x86 port was delayed by a few months, and it wasn't really ready until 1992. By this time, you could build a complete Free Software system on x86 without Linux.

These days, there are at least three Free direct descendants of the BSD kernel in active development. One is even supported by the Debian project; you can swap out the Linux kernel and install a FreeBSD kernel under Debian, and not notice the difference. Even Linux binaries work, since it has a system call translation layer (with a negligible performance hit.

The GNU project created more than just a compiler, a shell, and a few bits of userspace. I would not be at all surprised if you are running an order of magnitude (or more) more GNU code than Linux. If you're running GNOME, then you certainly are (you know what the G stands for, I presume).

Trying to build a Free Software system without Linux is trivial; I have three machines that I use regularly without a single line of proprietary code on them, and none of them runs Linux. Trying to build Free Software system without any GNU code is almost impossible.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (1)

Kaktrot (962696) | about 8 years ago | (#15854549)

You can make the argument that Linus created the single most important piece of the whole, I suppose. I'm not sure I agree. In any case, the kernel is still a small thing compared to everything the GNU project did. Linus is brilliant, of course, but somehow I think that things might be going a bit smoother now if maybe the GNU kernel project hadn't been such a clusterfuck.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (1)

cryptoluddite (658517) | about 8 years ago | (#15854570)

Hurd is a failure because Linux exists. Without Linux, the same developers working on it would be working on Hurd (or a fork of hurd). Torvolds was in the right place at the right time, and did a competent job of capitalizing on it. In this respect he is like Bill Gates, with people saying how if it hadn't been for Microsoft we'd still be using DOS. I think this kind of argument, that it could never have turned out as well without <insert person here>, is pretty absurd.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (2, Insightful)

joto (134244) | about 8 years ago | (#15854626)

Hurd is a failure because Linux exists. Without Linux, the same developers working on it would be working on Hurd (or a fork of hurd).

I seriously doubt that. Hurd development was slow before linux existed, and it remains slow after linux came to life. Now it's 15 years since linux was first created, and linux is at this stage the centerpiece of an entire industry of software products and services. Meanwhile, lots of other operating systems have been written from scratch, and I can probably list dozens that are (a) more usable than hurd, (b) younger than both hurd and linux, and (c) still written by volunteers.

Hurd development is not slow because of a lack of developers, it is slow because of bad architectural decisions, a severe case of second system effect, mach instability, failure to follow a "worse is better"-philosophy, and so on. Adding more developers to this kind of project can in many cases slow it down even further (read: "the mythical man-month").

Torvolds was in the right place at the right time, and did a competent job of capitalizing on it.

His name is Torvalds, not Torvolds. His place was minix enthusiasts, and yes, it probably was the correct place to find developers for a new free unix kernel. I'm quite sure I would disagree that he did a competent job of capitalizing on it, Torvalds remained a poor student for a pretty long time.

In this respect he is like Bill Gates, with people saying how if it hadn't been for Microsoft we'd still be using DOS.

Uh, Microsoft was the company that brought us DOS in the first place (although they didn't write it, they bought the right to it, and sold it to us consumers). And no, Torvalds is not filthy rich, like Bill Gates.

I think this kind of argument, that it could never have turned out as well without <insert person here>, is pretty absurd.

Maybe you find it absurd, but sometimes it's just the truth. The right man in the right place can and do make an important difference at times. You can argue that without Linus, someone else would soon have written a free 386 unix-clone. And you would probably be right, but what happened afterwards, the unique community, and so on, is largely a result of Linus being who he is, it would happened differently with another person at the center.

Re:yeah but guess who owns the future? (3, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854596)

I don't think it's so much that Linus eschews changing the world. I think that he has an eminently more practical way of doing it. For one thing, he's not hung up on converting people through either religious fervor or through convincing them his way is best (if there's a difference). As he's said, he's not trying to shove anything down anyone's throat. Instead, he shows by example how it's supposed to work, and why open source development is a better way of software development, whatever your motives are. I think it's great that he's not "at war" with proprietary software and proprietary software makers. They aren't relevant to him one way or the other. They can either follow his way now or follow it later. Linus in confident in his methods. He doesn't need to fight anyone. (He's probably confident in his manhood as well.)

And I think this was the most damn part of his indictment of the FSF. That they're hate and fear based, and when you let hate and fear dictate your principals, you end up hurting yourself and those you want to help. A good example of this is the whole issue of specific code tied to hardware. The FSF wants so badly to hurt DRM that they are willing to hurt legitimate uses. The funny part is that DRM is going to turn out to be a non-issue. DRM is not going to be relevant for long, with no action from the FSF*.

Really, though, the ones that are going to wind up getting hurt are the FSF themselves. It will be a lot easier to rewrite the userland than it will be to rewrtire the kernel. Or so I'm told.

Some people will take up GPLv3, but I think the majority will continue to use the GPLv2. The GPLv3 people will risk getting left behind.

*Here's why DRM will fail on it's own: at this point in history, when a cartel of copyright holders are trying to wall off culture and charge admission, we have unprecedented new tools for the creation, marketing, and distribution of culture. The more that these culture holding companies try to control culture and withhold it, the more new culture will rush in to take its place. The more new culture developed, the less overall value for the walled off culture. There is no scarcity of culture and there will not be a scarcity of culture. On the contrary, music, literature, and art are set to explode. The power of the culture holding companies is already broken. Now it's just the long unwinding of their monopolies.

So we want evil to win because good is dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854484)

> I suspect that Linus just wants to make his software while the FSF wants to change the world.

One problem I have with *not* trying to "change the world" is that unrestricted computers may not be possible in all legal venues if certain parties have their way. And, honestly, that issue is *much* more important to me than simply having technically superior software. What good is having a superior computer if you can no longer do what you want with it? And yet Linus has repeatedly opined that the hardware seller has some kind of right to lock me down? I'd kick the hardware maker in the balls before I'd take that kind of crap from them. You won't catch me with a TiVO.

Also, it's ironic that one of Linus' objections to the DRM clauses were that they might forbid useful future technology, when he's so against giving Linux the opportunity to be relicensed under newer versions of the GPL. Given that the licensee gets to choose which license they wish to accept from among those allowed by the copyright holder(s), I wonder if he isn't working against the system instead of with it? After all, if the DRM clause really did forbid the use of Linux or other software in useful ways, the GPL could be modified in later published versions to allow for those uses...

Re:I can see both sides (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854495)

"He didn't want the code that he and so many others poured their hearts and souls into to be stolen and closed like the Cedega situation."

The thing is, changes in the GPL (mainly those dealing with DRM) are absolutely necessary if you don't want code to be "stolen and closed." It's not some theoretical, idealistic thing. It's an extremely practical consideration.

If you write a program and release it under the GPL, and if it's permissible to make derivative versions that will no longer run when modified (due to DRM in hardware), then I can take and build upon your code and never give the improvements back. You may be able to see the source, but you can't use my changes because your future alterations will no longer execute on the hardware you own. I can also sell hardware including your code, and even though the GPL intends that my customers should thus have the right to modify the code -- they can't.

Allowing commingling of DRM and GPLed code is a huge loophole. It essentially allows someone to make a proprietary branch of your code. From then on, you can still look, but you can't touch.

As for patents, that's another very similar situation. By claiming patents on my modifications to your GPLed code, I can make my own proprietary branch of your code. You can no longer build upon my changes, because to do so would be a patent infringement... but I can freely take yours.

Re:I can see both sides (5, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | about 8 years ago | (#15854533)

You may be able to see the source, but you can't use my changes because your future alterations will no longer execute on the hardware you own.

The way Linus sees it is from the "developer" viewpoint. The code is still free from this viewpoint, since all modifications are published. You can modify it and run it on a DRM-free machine. The FSF rather thinks of the "end users" viewpoint, where modifying the code and running the modified code on the same machine is paramount.

For myself, I understand Linus view, but I tend to go along with the FSF view. Being unable to modify free software on a hardware device and run it on the same device violates the spirit of free software. The vendor could build upon the mountain of free code, saving a lot of money in the process (i.e. not reinventing the wheel), but does not grant any of these freedoms to their customers.

So to sum it up, I'd say they can write their own OS, or license a commercial one, if they don't want to give their customers the same freedoms they have.

Re:I can see both sides (1, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854615)

Being unable to modify free software on a hardware device and run it on the same device violates the spirit of free software. The vendor could build upon the mountain of free code, saving a lot of money in the process (i.e. not reinventing the wheel), but does not grant any of these freedoms to their customers.

But the vendor must still publish the source of any changes he makes to the code. So the vendor is giving back. If you don't like that a vendor's device is locking you out, don't buy it. Is that so hard? Do you think you can avoid buying something you don't want on your own, or do you need the FSF to protect you from your own bad buying decisions?

Meanwhile, for whatever reason, I want to buy this hypothetical vendor's device. Maybe I have a certain application where I want a TPM set up. Because the FSF wants to protect me from myself, I no longer have the choice to buy a machine that will run OSS.

That's the sort of world we'd have if the GPLv3 became the dominant license. Yuck.

Re:I can see both sides (2, Interesting)

temcat (873475) | about 8 years ago | (#15854629)

I'm afraid that soon DRM will be implemented everywhere at a low level so you'll have to completely refrain from buying any devices that can run user code, because neither of them will let you run what you choose.

Re:I can see both sides (2, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 years ago | (#15854501)

The FSF intends to use the GPL as a means to prevent people from doing certain "bad" things with free software
There are two things to think of that are important about this - first,it will also stop things that are not "bad" by the FSF definition, second - the FSF didn't write the software and does not own the copyright on it or have any obligation owed to them by the authors - attempted name changes or not.

It is up to the FSF to convince the authors that any new licences are a good idea - the implication that the authors haver to do what the FSF says at all - especially when it is only a draft version of the new licence - is an odd way of looking at things. Effectively to get linux th use a different licence the FSF has to convince Linus, nearly every other kernel developer and all the groups that package distributions that it is a good idea, and even since a superficial look at the new draft licence turns up some problems there is more work to be done. Going out of your way to hurt companies that already comply with the GPL and add to the devlopment of free (as in look it up in the dictionary not make up your own meanings) software but have signed binaries on their hardware may be seen as "collatoral damage" by the thoughtless - but surely the FSF and other contributors can do better than that?

Re:I can see both sides (2, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | about 8 years ago | (#15854610)

"It is up to the FSF to convince the authors that any new licences are a good idea"

Partly. Most programs under the GPL retain the GPL v.2 or later options, meaning redistributors and authors of derivative works can update the license to the newer version at their discretion. This is by design, so that the FSF can update the GPL, should loopholes appear or technology change the situation and allow code to be updated to more recent versions, _even when authors are out of touch or dead or otherwise_.

The Linux kernel version of the GPL, however, does not retain that clause, rendering it stuck permanently in v2 land; and as the kernel, unlike FSF driven projects, doesnt require copyright reassignment, it would be more or less impossible to accomplish a change.

Which means that a) the linux kernel is vulnerable to changes in law and technology that may render the v2 GPL ineffective and b) what Torvalds thinks is really has little bearing on the issue.

"look at the new draft licence turns up some problems"

I see no problems. The new version closes several holes; to get affected by them you'd have to have been willfully abusing those loopholes, violating the intent and spirit of the GPL. It's not as if the FSF's views are a well kept secret, so any due diligence would have made it obvious that such loopholes would be closed down.

Re:I can see both sides (5, Insightful)

DrJimbo (594231) | about 8 years ago | (#15854504)

Lord Kano said:
I suspect that Linus just wants to make his software while the FSF wants to change the world.
The FSF wants to change the world so that people like Linus will continue to be free to create and modify their free and open source software.

Without the DRM provisions in the GPLv3 that Linus is complaining about, we could eventually face a situation where it is literally impossible to develop FOSS for the latest generation of computers. Worse, those computers could be running the GPLv2 software we wrote even though we have lost all of our rights to further modify it and we've lost the right to even choose what software we run on our own computers.

Re:I can see both sides (0, Troll)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854608)

we could eventually face a situation where it is literally impossible to develop FOSS for the latest generation of computers

Care to explain how this scenario is actually supposed to play out? And does your example require that the hardware makers conspire against OSS?

I no longer trust the FSF. I know a power play when I see one, and this isn't about freedom and fairness. They want to dictate how people use software. It's no longer about distribution.

You want a social revolution? Then let it happen, let it play out. If you want to push it forward, go develop something. If you're not a coder, go write or create something and release it under a CC license. The Revolution that the FSF is selling is top down, Stalinist/Leninist. I much prefer Linus's way, which reminds me more of a different Lennon.

Re:I can see both sides (1)

NMerriam (15122) | about 8 years ago | (#15854641)

It doesn't require a conspiracy to change hardware, just economies of scale. If someday both Windows and the Mac OS require hardware with TPM/DRM at the boot level, then that's what 99% of the hardware available will have built-in. other options will be more expensive due to their niche status (and I'm sure Linux will be really popular when it requires a more expensive computer to run than Windows does!).

If you find such a situation impossible to believe, just compare the price of a winmodem to a real modem and imagine the whole computer were built with the same marketing principles.

Has Linus sold out? (was: Re:I can see both sides (4, Insightful)

quentin_quayle (868719) | about 8 years ago | (#15854646)

First a minor point which keeps getting overlooked. With DRM hardware, you cannot verify GPL compliance. The only way to verify that a set of source code purporting to represent the binary that is running, is really the binary that is running, is to compile from that source and run the new binary. Any hardware that requires signed binaries prevents this unless signature capability is given to anyone who wants it. Thus without GPLv3, there cannot be public verification that any vendor of supposedly-GPL software for "trusted" hardware really is complying with the GPL. So another way to characterize the anti-DRM provision would be to call it verifiability.

Now, DrJimbo in parent post:

"Without the DRM provisions in the GPLv3 that Linus is complaining about, we could eventually face a situation where it is literally impossible to develop FOSS for the latest generation of computers. Worse, those computers could be running the GPLv2 software we wrote even though we have lost all of our rights to further modify it and we've lost the right to even choose what software we run on our own computers."

Right, exactly - And this is what Torvalds consistently refuses to address. He snipes at GPLv3 with invective and complaints about the process (and if he really was the poster in the Groklaw thread, about the definition of source code), etc.. But on the hardware issue he just flippiantly declares that if you don't like the inability to run modified GPL code on the same device, get some other device.

This obviously ignores the "trusted computing" initiative that is intended to make all PCs slave devices, and is progressing like an onrushing freight train while DRM apologists quibble on the tracks and say "let's wait and see what it really turns out to be" or "how it is used" - then of course it will be too late.

This makes me wonder of a darker possibility which I do not like to think of ,but it fits the facts: Has Linus sold out? This is suggested by another poster below and in this post at the Newsforge thread: [newsforge.com]

"You need to understand why Torvalds opposes this. Torvalds sits behind a wall of IBM/HP (and other companies) lawyers. They pay his wages and defend him from the SCOs of the world. In return, he spouts their views... and in this case, these technology companies want this hardware in every PC very very badly. To get the level of control over the user that they want, they must be able to use a "trusted" kernel (the kernel/bios/boot loader are critical components in a trusted system).
"Basically, Torvalds has turned into a mouthpiece for technology companies. "

Otherwise why does Linus fail to address the real and appropriate concerns about TC hardware becoming exclusively available?

Re:I can see both sides (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about 8 years ago | (#15854563)

Problem is there that FSF actually wants to prevent BAD business practices (like bullying customers with DRM and patent stuff), but GPLv3 is definetly not a right way to do it.

I can see both sides too and Linus have lof of it's points right (DRM is *legitive* way of protecting something, now what, we could not have crypt software in GPLv3? Crypt software in combining with hardware - I see lot of real legal use).

If you don't like DRM - don't buy products with it (Music CD and DVDs). If you don't like software patents, campange and make it real for change like Europeans do. Make people aware about those serious issues, but not with THIS licence. That is the only real way to deal with it.

Managing requirements (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 8 years ago | (#15854431)

There is a lot of waffle in the article about listening to people but nobody had presented a simple table showing the requirements for GPLv3 in different drafts. This is the sort of thing you do to design commercial software and I would expect that the same approach would make the GPL more transparent.

If they want to give Torvalds's input a low priority then show that somehow. Otherwise show where his input has gone.

I don't want to take sides in the Linus v RMS thing here, I am just a bit sick of people having to reinvent the argument each and every time.

Oh Horrors! (1)

RunningGeek84 (955604) | about 8 years ago | (#15854437)

Mentioning RMS and Linus Torvalds in the same post; this is going to start a flame war ...

Re:Managing requirements (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854461)

There is a lot of waffle in the article about listening to people but nobody had presented a simple table showing the requirements for GPLv3 in different drafts.

What about this one? [fsf.org]

Re:Managing requirements (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854628)

A lot of hand waving. This "article" is really an editorial, not news. Linus himself has said that the section on DRM is not what bothers him, but other parts of the license that are actually engineered to interfere with DRM. The problem is that it will interfere with a lot of legitimate uses.

I don't see any real refutation of Linus's points in the article. It reads more like a personal attack, or at least an unsubstantiated one.

Isn't Linux beside the point here? (4, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | about 8 years ago | (#15854433)

I'm sure lots of people will correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Linux kernel - and thus Torvald's views - rather unimportant here?

The entire kernel, and all contributions from hundreds or thousands of people, are explicitly licensed as GPL version 2. Even if the kernel people were rabidly enthusiastic about GPL v3, they'd have a very, very difficult time changing the license in any case; as a practical matter it'd probably be impossible. So what Torvalds, in the guise of kernel maintainer, thiks of the license is not really relevant since the licence, no matter what it looks like, would never be used by the kernel in any case.

Torvalds views as an OSS developer are of course relevant - but as one voice among the hundreds of other leading developers in various projects. And as has been pointed out, if he really wanted to be constructive he'd have joined in the debate itself, rather than just sniping at it via the media.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

jpardey (569633) | about 8 years ago | (#15854435)

But who owns the copyright to each bit of code? I haven't looked at the source, but I assume the copyright would be granted to whatever body oversees linux. It would be a nightmare to maintain otherwise.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (2, Informative)

LLuthor (909583) | about 8 years ago | (#15854445)

Nope.

I still own copyright on the little pieces of the kernel that I wrote.
The only rights anyone else has are those granted by the GPL 2.

Changing the kernel license is impossible. Many contributions have been made by people who are now unreachable, dead, or simply disagree with a license change.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

headkase (533448) | about 8 years ago | (#15854472)

Um, there is no body that has oversight for the Linux kernel. As a public service announcement for you, most of what people call "Linux" is actually the Linux kernel [kernel.org] plus the GNU Free Unix base [gnu.org] and a windowing layer [x.org] . There is no maintaner because the because the various licences that cover these code bases (including the gpl v2) are permissive. You are allowed to use the code as long as you list in your own documentation where the code came from and who it is copyrighted to. Usually, there are conditions in a particular license where derivative code must be released under the same license. Some licences such as the gpl require you to publish your source code while others such as the bsd license doesn't require this and also allows commercial use without any payment.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 years ago | (#15854522)

most of what people call "Linux" is actually the Linux kernel plus the GNU Free Unix base and a windowing layer
Hence the silly name change suggestion of LiGnuX - later revised to the irrelevant gnu/linux. Call it Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo or whatever instead if that is what you are talking about - I'm sick of newbies flaming me when I don't call the kernel gnu/linux becuase they think it is a gnu project and RMS wrote most of it.

I for one have a nvidia binary kernel module loaded which would never have been allowed if RMS ran the project or had any meaningful involvement in it - and I'm fairly sure the new version of the GPL would prohibit that sort of thing.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

flooey (695860) | about 8 years ago | (#15854474)

But who owns the copyright to each bit of code?

Whoever wrote that particular bit of code. That's one of the amazing things about the way the GPL is written, it takes what would normally be a complete mess and makes it workable. And not only that, but by having each coder retain copyright to what they wrote, you also create a huge body of people who have standing to sue were someone to violate the GPL.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

init100 (915886) | about 8 years ago | (#15854562)

I assume the copyright would be granted to whatever body oversees linux. It would be a nightmare to maintain otherwise.

As other people have already pointed out, every developer owns the copyright to the piece of code they wrote. The is one advantage of this not yet mentioned in this thread: By retaining the copyright to the code you wrote, you can prevent Linus (or the suggested oversight body) changing the license to a proprietary one, locking the code up along with your contributions. Not that I see this happen too soon, but it is still a kind of insurance against this happening in the future.

I'd refuse contributing my spare time to a project that requests me to transfer the copyright of the code I wrote.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

mesterha (110796) | about 8 years ago | (#15854590)

The is one advantage of this not yet mentioned in this thread: By retaining the copyright to the code you wrote, you can prevent Linus (or the suggested oversight body) changing the license to a proprietary one, locking the code up along with your contributions.

As understand the GPL license, even the copyright owner can not change the license. If you could change the license then this would be a big problem for anyone who depended on GPL software. At any time your software could become illegal. Instead, what the copyright owner can do is release his software under multiple licenses. Therefore, if some owns the copyright they can effectively create a proprietary fork but anyone can take up the old GPL software and continue developing it.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

init100 (915886) | about 8 years ago | (#15854612)

As understand the GPL license, even the copyright owner can not change the license.

This is certainly true for the current version, but for upcoming versions the copyright owner can change the license. So users of GPL software does not have to worry that their software suddenly becomes illegal.

But still, if I would refrain from contributing to projects that requested copyright transfers, because they might take my code proprietary in the future. If I wanted to allow that, I would use a BSD (or similar) license instead.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 8 years ago | (#15854535)

The entire kernel, and all contributions from hundreds or thousands of people, are explicitly licensed as GPL version 2. Even if the kernel people were rabidly enthusiastic about GPL v3, they'd have a very, very difficult time changing the license in any case; as a practical matter it'd probably be impossible. So what Torvalds, in the guise of kernel maintainer, thiks of the license is not really relevant since the licence, no matter what it looks like, would never be used by the kernel in any case.


that's true for the kernel as a whole, but i'm not sure that it's true for particular parts of the kernel. GPLv2 and GPLv3 will be compatible licenses, so i can't see any reason why the author of a particular part of the kernel can't license their work under GPLv3. if it's a crucially important part of the kernel (i.e. too big to be rewritten and replaced) then, for all practical purposes, anyone using the kernel has to comply with the terms of both GPLv2 and GPLv3.

personally, i don't see what Linus' problem is. i would have thought that prohibiting the misappropriation of GPL code via sneaky DRM mechanisms would be a good thing - after all, the point of GPL is "once free, always free". subverting that by by using DRM to make sure that no "unauthorised" version of the code can be installed is not a desirable outcome.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15854605)

If the code is already released, it can't be relicensed to GPLv3 only. If, for example, the guy who wrote the scheduler was to release the scheduler under GPLv3, he could do so. The license would not change the code to GPL3 only, it would make it GPLv OR GPLv3 (whichever the person using the code wishes to use). So no, that won't work as a backdoor way to make Linux GPL3. Although it would be nice if individual contributors made things available as GPLv3 as well, so future OS writers can use the code in future OSes.

Re:Isn't Linux beside the point here? (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854633)

Please explain to me how GPL code can be misappropriated by sneaky DRM mechanisms. And please make the distinction between misappropriation and "using it in a way with which I don't agree".

The GPL needs to go (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854443)

Hello,

Consulting for several large companies, I'd always done my work on
Windows. Recently however, a top online investment firm asked us to do
some work using Linux. The concept of having access to source code was
very appealing to us, as we'd be able to modify the kernel to meet our
exacting standards which we're unable to do with Microsoft's products.

Although we met several technical challenges along the way
(specifically, Linux's lack of Token Ring support and the fact that we
were unable to defrag its ext2 file system), all in all the process
went smoothly. Everyone was very pleased with Linux, and we were
considering using it for a great deal of future internal projects.

So you can imagine our suprise when we were informed by a lawyer that
we would be required to publish our source code for others to use. It
was brought to our attention that Linux is copyrighted under something
called the GPL, or the Gnu Protective License. Part of this license
states that any changes to the kernel are to be made freely available.
Unfortunately for us, this meant that the great deal of time and money
we spent "touching up" Linux to work for this investment firm would
now be available at no cost to our competitors.

Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any
products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to
its source code released. This was simply unacceptable.

Although we had planned for no one outside of this company to ever
use, let alone see the source code, we were now put in a difficult
position. We could either give away our hard work, or come up with
another solution. Although it was tought to do, there really was no
option: We had to rewrite the code, from scratch, for Windows 2000.

I think the biggest thing keeping Linux from being truly competitive
with Microsoft is this GPL. Its draconian requirements virtually
guarentee that no business will ever be able to use it. After my
experience with Linux, I won't be recommending it to any of my
associates. I may reconsider if Linux switches its license to
something a little more fair, such as Microsoft's "Shared Source".
Until then its attempts to socialize the software market will insure
it remains only a bit player.

Thank you for your time.

How much did M$ pay you to 'write' that? (0, Redundant)

Travoltus (110240) | about 8 years ago | (#15854455)

And it's 'Gnu Public License', thank you very much.

Re:How much did M$ pay you to 'write' that? (1)

chicagotypewriter (933271) | about 8 years ago | (#15854459)

"GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE" - taken from the first line at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt [gnu.org]
thank you very much

Re:The GPL needs to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854458)

egg troll? Is that you??

Re:The GPL needs to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854536)

sup my nigga

Re:The GPL needs to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854469)

From one Anonymous Coward to another, your post is total and complete troll bullshit. There is no requirement in the GPL that forces anyone to publish changes that were made for internal use, as in by a corporation for internal applications. Only if the software is to be redistributed, are changes required to be published. It is really the best deal in the history of software.

jwwjr

Re:The GPL needs to go (1)

Sterling Christensen (694675) | about 8 years ago | (#15854510)

The GPL doesn't do that.

As I understand it (I'm not a lawyer), the GPL dictates the terms/conditions by which you may COPY the work. Meaning: if you publish your modified kernel (as a binary or whatever) the GPL kicks in and requires you to publish source code too. If your modifications stay internal, private, on-site (i.e. no COPYING occurs) you're at no obligation whatsoever.

Re:The GPL needs to go (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854647)

YHBT.

However, GPLv3 seems to be changing control to beyond mere distribution. That is at the heart of this debate.

Re:The GPL needs to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854512)

this is all so wrong that it isnt even funny. Where are the mods? If this comment doesn't deserve a -1 WRONG tag I don't know what does. Please mod it down to stupidtrollland, where it came from.

Re:The GPL needs to go (1)

slack_prad (942084) | about 8 years ago | (#15854515)

...any products compiled with GPL'd tools - such as gcc - would also have to its source code released.
WHAT?! is this true? Can someone clarify?

Of course not (1)

Sterling Christensen (694675) | about 8 years ago | (#15854527)

The FSF says GCC's output doesn't have to be GPL:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLOutput [gnu.org]

glibc is *L*GPL, but that's different. It requires modifications to glibc itself to be published, but allows the program using glibc to be closed source.

(I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice)

Re:The GPL needs to go (2)

Punboy (737239) | about 8 years ago | (#15854524)

Ok, well since you know nothing about Linux (even though you claim to have worked with it), I'll let you in on a few secrets.

Ext2 is ancient. Don't use it. Instead use a journalled filesystem such as Ext3 and ReiserFS, the latter being my favorite for production environment. Both ext2 and ext3 filesystems can be easily defragged with e2defrag. Although, Ext3 and ReiserFS both have technologies to prevent major defragmentation.

Token ring? Please. Nobody really makes good tokenring equipment anymore (if they ever did in the first place), and nobody cares to. Use ethernet, its cheaper, faster, more reliable, and has far more products available. But in any case, Linux has supported tokenring for a very long time. Don't believe me? Google it.

As far as your lawyers' analysis of the GPL, they are completely wrong. You don't have to release any sourcecode that's compiled with GCC just because GCC is GPL'd. Neither do you have to release any modifications you make to the linux kernel. This is the wonder of the GPL version 2. If you want to sell your modifications, fine. Do so. Sell it, distribute it for free, whatever. Just cite the source. But, only the modifications. If you are going to release the modifications already builtin, you have to provide the original source prior to modification. Simple.

You totally made up most of your argument, you've probably never worked in the IT field a day in your life, at least not with Linux. Stop acting like you're an engineer/lawyer/whatever. You are not.

You just fed a troll (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854577)

n/t

Re:The GPL needs to go (2, Informative)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 8 years ago | (#15854625)

This troll is posted in every GPL discussion, and most linux discussions. Ignore it, it's complete crap intended merely to provoke responses.

Parent blatently incorrect (2)

Workaphobia (931620) | about 8 years ago | (#15854541)

At first I thought it odd that a well written (that is, grammatically correct), lengthy post should be modded -1 Troll, but by the time I finished reading your post it became clear that you are either grossly misinformed or deliberately spreading lies about the license. I believe it is the latter, since I doubt that any commercial legal department could interpret the GPL so poorly, when most slashdot readers are aware of these simple facts:

A: You are *NOT* under any obligation whatsoever to release your source code to anyone else so long as you do not distribute your modified binaries. If you do distribute your binaries, the GPL aims to make certain that the recipient also has access to the source code corresponding to it.

B: Programs compiled under GCC are not GPL'd. In fact, the output of any GPL program is never automatically covered by the GPL unless a significant portion of the output originated from said program. Also, the gcc libraries are LGPL'd, not GPL'd, so this concern doesn't even apply.

But you already knew that, didn't you.

Re:The GPL needs to go (3, Funny)

Godji (957148) | about 8 years ago | (#15854617)

Furthermore, after reviewing this GPL our lawyers advised us that any
products compiled with GPL'ed tools - such as gcc - would also have to
its source code released. This was simply unacceptable.


You sure have some really dumb lawyers. How much do you pay them?

Linus (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 8 years ago | (#15854451)

I am very grateful for the contributions Linus has made to the world. But he can be an ass from time to time.

And when he said that nothing much changed between the second and third drafts, he was not only being flippant, but ignorant. Many of the changes were in direct response to criticisms he made.

GPLv3 will happen regardless of whether or not it is accepted for the Linux kernel. I'm not sure they need to make Linus happy. I think the GPL crew needs to make the license best suit their needs.

Regardless, I don't think Linus will back down and accept it any time in the future. He has been very clear that the kernel is to be licensed under GPLv2 and GPLv2 exclusively.

Re:Linus (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854493)

I'll go you one further, and I hope Linus gets to read this. His behavior regarding this new draft is starting to cost him significant respect, and he's also hurting both the free software camp, and his own open source group, while providing Rovian press material for some real class A crooks. Linus is a great developer, but he needs to show a little moderation, and a little more respect for Richard Stallman. Call him what you will, but Stallman's vision regarding the GPL to this point has been beyond genius. And if it was not for Stallman's vision and tenacious courage (with Eben Moglen's help) in the face of just about every kind of demeaning criticsm and ploy one could imagine, Linus would still be in Finland, himself eating herring every day and trying to get Windows to stop crashing.

Stallman's license has stymied a large nest of very nasty people for 20 years, people who would steal Linus blind if it weren't for Stallman and his vision. And given Stallman's record, dedication, and results, if he sees issues with patents and DRM, if I were Linus, I'd listen first, and then ask respectful questions via professional channels.

Based on the past 20 years, and the benefits that will accrue to all of us due to his work, Richard Stallman is deserving of a Nobel prize nomination. Linus is just a developer and project manager, and he should show Stallman commensurate respect.

jwwjr

MOD PARENT UP (3, Interesting)

cryptoluddite (658517) | about 8 years ago | (#15854586)

The problem I have with Linux re: GPL 3 is that he's just being ignorant. He has some beef about people having to give out their own personal private keys that has been shot down by any number of people that actually know what they are talking about legally (PJ, Eben, etc). Just casually reading the license and Linus' comments, he just isn't making any sense.

My best bet is that Linus doesn't actually want to understand the GPL v3. Linux is eminently practical, and the practical thing to do to increase Linux usage, fix bugs, and add new features is to make Linux corporate friendly. A *lot* of contributions come from the likes of IBM, Red Hat, Sun, Novell, and other companies. I bet the prospect of these companies pulling out their support is a major consideration (whether intentional or not).

Re:Linus (2, Insightful)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | about 8 years ago | (#15854543)

> Regardless, I don't think Linus will back down and accept it any time in
> the future. He has been very clear that the kernel is to be licensed under
> GPLv2 and GPLv2 exclusively.

However, if the compiler that they use to compile the binary versions of the Kernel is licenced under the GPL v3, then wouldn't the Kernel also need to be licenced under the GPL v3?

Surely GNU/Linux is an ecosystem, and the Kernel is but one part of that ecosystem that would not be able to function without all the rest of the system - at least sufficient to produce an interactive system that people would be able to use.

Re:Linus (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 8 years ago | (#15854583)

Nope. The license covers the program itself, not things you create with the program.

Just because an office suite might be under the GPL, that does not mean documents created by it are under the GPL.

Re:Linus (1)

portmapper (991533) | about 8 years ago | (#15854598)

> However, if the compiler that they use to compile the binary versions of the Kernel is licenced under the GPL v3,
> then wouldn't the Kernel also need to be licenced under the GPL v3?

It's true that GPL is viral, but it does not infect output from programs ;-)

Re:Linus (2, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | about 8 years ago | (#15854545)

GPLv3 will happen regardless of whether or not it is accepted for the Linux kernel.


Sure it will happen. You could also write a GPLv4 or any other license. On my SUSE there are some 20+ different licences. The question is not wether or not you can make a new license, but wether or not people will start using it.

I could make a "houghi license" and I am sure nobody will use it, not even me. Now if nobody is going to use it, why make it?

Re:Linus (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 8 years ago | (#15854591)

You seem to suggest that if Linus isn't using this, then there is no point to the license. Given the number of committees that worked on this, and their connection to major software projects, their involvement all but guarantees that many major software projects will use the new GPL license.

Re:Linus (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854635)

Dude!! I'll use it!
---------------
The above comment is released under the houghi license, whatever that is. =)

Re:Linus (1)

init100 (915886) | about 8 years ago | (#15854564)

He has been very clear that the kernel is to be licensed under GPLv2 and GPLv2 exclusively.

I wonder what would happen if the authors of some important part of the kernel suddenly change the license for their contributions to GPLv3. It is certainly in their power to do so (unless they transferred copyrights). This might effectively change the license of the entire kernel, since use of said part would require adherence to the new GPLv3 restrictions.

Re:Linus (2, Informative)

Kaktrot (962696) | about 8 years ago | (#15854573)

I don't think anything would happen, really. The pieces that are in the Linux kernel would still be licensed under the GPLv2. They have the option of giving the code away under v3, but that doesn't change the exact copy that is already in use in the kernel.

Re:Linus (1)

init100 (915886) | about 8 years ago | (#15854589)

that doesn't change the exact copy that is already in use in the kernel.

I think you are right. If someone changed the license, it would not affect the current version, only upcoming versions. And then someone might simply deny the inclusion of the new GPLv3-licensed code into the Linux kernel, to make sure that the kernel as a whole stays GPLv2.

Re:Linus (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 8 years ago | (#15854592)

I haven't read over GPLv3, but past versions of the GPL support multiple licenses, and general flexibility in that regard. I've even heard that the GPLv3 allows you to specify which restrictions you want to use, and which not to use.

Just because one part of the kernel shifts to GPLv3, I don't think that requires the entire kernel to migrate to the new license.

Translation of Torvalds' attack (1, Interesting)

njdj (458173) | about 8 years ago | (#15854473)

Torvalds complained that the FSF didn't listen to people's comments.

What he really meant was, "The FSF listened to everybody's comments, instead of just doing what I told them to do."

The experience of being a benevolent dictator in one area has given him the idea that he should be a benevolent dictator in other areas.

Re:Translation of Torvalds' attack (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 years ago | (#15854511)

What he really meant was, "The FSF listened to everybody's comments, instead of just doing what I told them to do."
I think you have it backwards - remember who it is that insists on a name change another persons project to "advertise" the gnu project and bring attention to the FSF.

It is up to the FSF to convice others that changing to a different licence is a good thing - instead of some overbearing person insisting that people have to change because they said so. If I was Linus my polite response would be to tell me when it's finished and I'll tell you if I like it enough to change licences. There is still some way to go.

Re:Translation of Torvalds' attack (2, Informative)

init100 (915886) | about 8 years ago | (#15854574)

remember who it is that insists on a name change another persons project to "advertise" the gnu project

Are you referring to the term GNU/Linux? In this case, you are wrong. Stallman does not insist on Linus to change the name of Linux, he just insists on using the term GNU/Linux when referring to a working (GNU/)Linux system, which contains a lot more than the Linux kernel. I understand his argument, and in principle I agree, but using the term GNU/Linux in practice is unduly complex.

Re:Translation of Torvalds' attack (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about 8 years ago | (#15854611)

Except noone is asking Linus to change the kernel license- it would be pretty much impossible, since copyright belongs to the individual contributors. You'd have to convince thousands of individual devs, some of whom are dead, to agree to it. The FSF has never asked Linus to change license, this is Linux blasting it on his own. Which wouldn't be a bad thing if they were throught out criticisms, but his criticisms have no basis in reality. Many of them are just flat out wrong- the license doesn't require what he says it does.

Re:Translation of Torvalds' attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854516)

Wow, such a skewed interpretation is marked "insightful." Only on Slashdot...

Article is one-sided (2, Insightful)

vdboor (827057) | about 8 years ago | (#15854475)

I've read TFA, but noticed most arguments against Linus' option are made by members of the Open Source / Free Software communities. It would be more interesting to hear the feedback from commercial party's who're involved with Linux as well (e.g. Novell, HP, Oracle, Trolltech). This doesn't exactly put any weight under the arguments of the article.

I believe Linus is more open towards commercial development then most FLOSS community members are. This makes it understandable why he is so against enforcing freedom through everyones throats. Linus has always been the more practical type.

if only the corporations were more willing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854500)

to help the free software / open source community without a direct personal interest.

Corporations are by definition not benevolent, they are stockholdocratic.

I care not a wit what the corporations think about the process. The community are my brethren, not the corporations.

Re:Article is one-sided (4, Insightful)

DrJimbo (594231) | about 8 years ago | (#15854528)

vdboor said:
I believe Linus is more open towards commercial development then most FLOSS community members are. This makes it understandable why he is so against enforcing freedom through everyones throats. Linus has always been the more practical type.
I've heard over and over again that Linus is taking the practical and/or pragmatic side of this debate. Poppycock! He is not being practical, he is being very short sighted in a way that could come back and bite all of us in the hat someday.

The DRM provisions in the GPLv3 that Linus is complaining about are there to help ensure that FOSS developers like Linus will not be locked out from developing software on future generations of computers.

Furthermore, if we are locked out from developing FOSS on those computers, we can take some comfort in the fact that it will be illegal to run GPLv3 code on them.

Re:Article is one-sided (2, Interesting)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 8 years ago | (#15854639)

This is the second time you've proposed that without the GPLv3, OSS developers will be locked out from developing a whole generations of computers. Could you please explain this scenario for me? Is there going to be a conspiracy of hardware makers that are going to lock out OSS development?

It is a (the?) Free Software license (1)

hooykaas (544190) | about 8 years ago | (#15854601)

So it makes sense that the Free Software communities are most heavily involved and it seems perfectly logical and acceptable that the process is lobsided to those communities.

In fact if one looked at the persons in the 4 committee, one would see many representatives of commercial companies. I found these list quite impressive (even though I can't estimate how actively everyone is involved, and what kind of influence they have). That we don't hear them in the article might be that in such corporations talking to the "press" is often more controlled.

Linus.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854489)

Linus is a dumb focktard, why should anyone listen to him anyway? He trolls on every project if he doesn't agree with it.

Re:Linus.. (1)

slack_prad (942084) | about 8 years ago | (#15854502)

He's not dumb, but he trolls, alright

The answer... (4, Insightful)

dosius (230542) | about 8 years ago | (#15854491)

The answer if you can't handle Linux being bound to GPL2 when the rest of the world goes GPL3, is to drop Linux for a GPL3-compatible system. Don't get me wrong, I like Linux, but maybe this will cause a lot of movement from Linux, not to Hurd - Hurd is still shit - but to FreeBSD, which is the next best thing to Linux and the license ought to be compatible with any version of the GPL.

And besides. In this "GPL vs Proprietary! White vs Black!" debate that's been going on past 15-aught years, I've sided with NetBSD.

-uso.

Wow, you missed the whole point of the DRM clause. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854546)

the bsd license includes even fewer freedom-protecting clauses than gplv2, so why would people who wante a freedom-protection clause in gplv3 defect to bsd licenses?

They'd have to relicense the bsd stuff (since it's missing the freedom-protecting gplv2 clause of no extra limitations) as gplv3, but it wouldn't be a bsd project anymore, it'd be something else.

Re:Wow, you missed the whole point of the DRM clau (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854565)

Freedom to? Users? The BSD license allows freedom to developers. I'm a developer, and perfer bsd licensed code. I'll give code if the client asks, and charge more. People have mouths to feed you know. There is no point in freedom to users, I perfer freedom to developers, and will send patches to the used project if I somehow improve the code.

Thanks for not thinking

Re:Wow, you missed the whole point of the DRM clau (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854584)

Now I understand why *BSD only has at most 8 or 9 users in the entire world. You guys have fun, though, don't let us users stop ya. lol

Re:Wow, you missed the whole point of the DRM clau (1)

dosius (230542) | about 8 years ago | (#15854614)

The thing is you can convert BSD license to GPL license. There's nothing stopping you from doing that.

-uso.

No point in doing that (1)

_jameshales (983564) | about 8 years ago | (#15854644)

There's no point taking something and placing restrictions on it, if people can still use the freer version. Changing its license would be pointless unless someone was planning on making major modifications and improvements to the BSD software, and then maintaining it.

Re:The answer... (1)

Kaktrot (962696) | about 8 years ago | (#15854648)

I think this is a fantastic idea! GNU should fork FreeBSD into GNU-BSD! Then they wouldn't have to worry about what Linus thinks. If the rest of the kernel developers are any indication, Linus would probably be one of the very few who would be upset by it, and one of the best operating systems would be protected from commercial hijacking.

*Guiness guys* Brilliant! I know that's not what you had in mind, but I'm inspired now.

Who cares what Linus thinks about the GPLv3? (3, Informative)

Korgan (101803) | about 8 years ago | (#15854498)

Maybe I'm being ignorant here, but if anyone actually reads the version of the GPL that is used by and distributed with the Linux kernel, it does not allow you to use a later version. The Linux kernel is, and always will be, GPLv2. That was a conscious decision by Linus and the other developers.

Because of that, who really cares what Linus has to say about the GPLv3? He's made it pretty clear he doesn't like it, but the only work that he's producing that anyone cares about is Linux. And the Linux kernel will never be anything other than GPLv2. Even if they /WANTED/ to change it, too many people that have contributed in the past under the GPLv2 license are either dead or simply not accessible to get their permission to change to the newer license. The logistics of keeping track of which part is GPLv2 and which might become GPLv3 just makes it simply "too hard."

Personally, I don't give a damn if Linus likes GPLv3 or not. Its not about Linus, its about everyone in the Free software community as a whole. Individuals can go shoot their feet off instead of their mouth. Its about whats best for the majority, not just Linux or just Gnome or just GCC or just whatever...
[/rant]

What's ERS' Opinion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854518)

ERS has been pretty silent about the whole thing, and it was him what started the OPEN-SOURCE software?

He's probably too busy working on his good programs, fethcmail is still been extend...

nothing to see, move along (0, Redundant)

maxpublic (450413) | about 8 years ago | (#15854526)

I don't really see the problem here. It's not as if any of the folks in question (Torvalds, FSF, EFF, whatever) have any sort of actual authority to force the adoption of any particular licensing scheme. They can recommend a licensing scheme until they turn blue in the face, but that's all that they can do and all they'll ever be able to do.

So what if one set of folks chant mantras over the greatness of v3, while another group do the same over v2? Neither group can enforce an agenda on anyone else, so if you don't prefer v3 or v2 (or vice versa) then fuck what the opposition thinks. Choose whatever license makes your little developer heart go pitter-patter and move along, doggie.

My guess here is that the very lack of real authority is what gets the fanatics panties in a twist. They can't *force* everyone around them to adopt v3 or v2, so they get royally pissed when others won't automatically adopt The One True and Right Way(TM) with cheerful abandon. If anything this should make the non-fanatics happy, as the situation provides *us* with the right to make that choice, rather than some bunch of arrogant fuckers who prides themselves over being our intellectual or moral 'superiors'.

Max

It's about the right to 'Fix' problems yourself (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15854640)

Sorry, but Linus is simply late to the game, and therefore misses the point of what the FSF is all about.

The FSF starts based on the premises that if you have a problem (something does not work the way you want it to) you have the right to fix it yourself, not rely on some third party to 'fix' it or not, as they choose.

If you buy a bit of hardware that uses GPL code, but will not allow you to 'fix' a problem yourself (because your fix will not run on the hardware they have restricted to run only their own version of GPL code), then you have lost the right to 'fix' your own problems.

Destroys the whole point of it using GPL code, doesn't it? At least for the end user - but it is sort of nice for those that then profit from GPL code used this way.

The FSF has this one right - just as RMS was right when he wanted to fix a print driver and was not allowed to - and so started the whole GPL/GNU Copyleft thing.

This is as simple as the FSF fights the war, so others can actually produce code that will be of actual open use to all.

Linus produces some of that code - he should be a bit grateful.

As I am grateful to Linus for writing his bit and releasing it under the GPL - making it possible for me to use.

I just value the freedom RMS and crew have created for me - and protected for me, and that they continue to protect for me. Including the code Linus (and so many others) wrote and released under the GPL.

Locking GPL code into hardware, never to be changed is a Bad Thing.

BTW, I don't expect anyone to have to agree with me - it's just a post of my strongly held opinions - no more no less.

This is only A/C because I used some mod points in this thread, and this is the only way to post without undoing those - and I have no more mod points so it's not gaming the system so I can mod this up (I doubt it will be anyway).

NewToNix.

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