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Torvalds Describes DRM and GPLv3 as 'Hot Air'

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the where-there-is-smoke dept.

Software 420

An anonymous reader writes "In Sydney this week for the annual Linux conference, Linus Torvalds has described DRM and the GPL as 'hot air' and 'no big deal'. From the interview: 'I suspect — and I may not be right — but when it comes to things like DRM or licensing, people get really very excited about them. People have very strong opinions. I have very strong opinions and they happen to be for different reasons than many other people. It ends up in a situation where people really like to argue — and that very much includes me... I expect this to raise a lot of bad blood but at the same time, at the end of the day, I don't think it really matters that much.'"

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Shows it... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629112)

That pretty much shows it, Torvalds is out of touch with reality. DRM is getting more pervasive and he says it's no big deal.

Re:Shows it... (4, Insightful)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629162)

At the same time there is a chance that DRM will collapse under it's own weight. People are annoyed with it, especially iTunes users. I know few non-geek ones that started researching into the subject because they changed iPod for different player. We will see what future brings.

Re:Shows it... (3, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629456)

Doesn't really matter. The real battle of DRM is going to happen in Congress; if the content industry gets what it wants, people won't have any option as to whether they buy DRM or not, any more than you have a choice of whether or not to buy a MacroVision-enabled VCR. They're just going to get Congress to mandate it, and that will be the end of the discussion.

The technology of DRM is hardly even worth discussing, because it's inherently flawed. There cannot ever be a 'perfect DRM' system, because of the model's fundamental problems. So whatever gets implemented, will be broken -- the discussion is whether the people who break it, and others who subsequently take advantage of the break, will be criminals.

Re:Shows it... (5, Interesting)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629654)

Don't forget that States are not the whole world. There's also Europe. There's Asia with South Korea, Japan and CHINA. Guess which of those countries are in favour of DRM? I think that RIAA/MPIA will try to enforce DRM as widely as possible but they are already failing. Take a look at South Korea. It's DRM free. You can download as many songs as you like for flat fee starting $5 per month.

Another one is China: they don't even care about DRM. But who produces most of electronics? Who sets the prices?

IMHO there are more factors that US Congress. It's an important factor, but not everything. Canada still didn't ratify anti-piracy laws. And they're just over the border.

Plus there's a Linux that is gaining very strong foothold especially in Europe.

Re:Shows it... (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630020)

Another one is China: they don't even care about DRM. But who produces most of electronics? Who sets the prices?

If China doesn't care about DRM - why have both their attempts to compete with HD-BLU-DVD-RAY included DRM? First, the apparently dying on the vine EVD and now the HD-FVD [theinquirer.net] system?

Re:Shows it... (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630058)

Canada still didn't ratify anti-piracy laws.

yet. from what i've heard, they're reving up to try again. time to start mailing some letters.

Re:Shows it... (0, Offtopic)

MrAnnoyanceToYou (654053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629776)

(Stupidity is the most painful thing in my life. Your sig is completely wrong.)

Re:Shows it... (2)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630442)

The real battle of DRM is going to happen in Congress...

The REAL battle will be in the courts.

Re:Shows it... (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629504)

Yeah, I remember loving JHymn [hymn-project.org] about 2 years ago.. I've heard of myFairTunes [hymn-project.org] as well as others for stripping the DRM from iTunes music. If I buy it, I should be able to put it on whatever I want.

Hence why I don't buy songs from iTunes anymore. Or Sony.

Where? (1)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630178)


Hence why I don't buy songs from iTunes anymore. Or Sony

Just out of interest, where do you buy your songs from? (Not trolling, just interested)

Re:Where? (2, Funny)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630292)

Buy?

Re:Shows it... (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629224)

DRM is getting more pervasive and he says it's no big deal.

You didn't RTFA did you?

According to Torvalds, both DRM technology and GPLv3 will cause "lots of arguments" but in the bigger scheme of things, neither will stop good technology from prevailing.

How is that point not valid?

Re:Shows it... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629806)

Good technology will prevail, yes... but if DRM manages to turn Linux into a system where most people have to pay to get code signed so that it'll actually run, I think many of the developers will disappear from the inside. Creating a free OS in your spare time? Cool. Being free labor for a DRM company in your spare time? Not cool.

Re:Shows it... (-1, Troll)

FirstPostReplyTroll (1051956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629232)

Shut up, you fucking moron.

Re:Shows it... (4, Insightful)

Lazerf4rt (969888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629566)

Here we go. Bring on the legions of dorks who are hell-bent on appearing more intelligent than Linus. Boy, it sure would be great to be smarter than the guy who wrote Linux, wouldn't it? I would sure love to warp every fucking thing he says in order to make him look stupid, even if it's only to myself! That way, I can cling to my private little fantasy of being smarter than him!

Come on, the guy makes it clear that he is only sharing his gut feelings and personal opinions. He doesn't claim to be right -- unlike you. He's very careful with his words, and we should at least recognize that.

I suspect -- and I may not be right...
I suspect it is not going to be that big. But time will tell...

By qualifying his opinions, he's acknowledging that they are only opinions, and not facts. That's what keeps him in touch with reality. Pay attention to that. We should all choose our words so carefully.

And don't call me a fanboy either, because I don't even use Linux.

Re:Shows it... (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629742)

Boy, it sure would be great to be smarter than the guy who wrote Linux, wouldn't it?

It has its pros and cons.

KFG

fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629136)

"At the same time, on a completely different tangent -- forget about technology -- I am a big believer in letting people do what they want to do. If somebody wants to do DRM it is their problem."
Well, no Linus, it's not their problem. It's the user's problem. You're a big believer in letting people do what they want to do.. that's great stuff. Very liberal minded. I'm sure I've said something along those lines myself. Of course, I tend to clarify it with the caveat that what they want to do can't hurt or take away the freedom of others. Is that just an omission on the part of the reporter or do you really believe you have no moral responsibility to intervene when you see someone doing something wrong?

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (5, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629258)

All he is saying is that if people want to write DRM then thats up to them and no doubt he also thinks that if people wish to use it then thats up to them too.

Having a "moral responsibility to intervene when you see someone doing something wrong" has got nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629334)

So, ya know, if people want to run sweatshops then that's up to them and no doubt, if people wish to work in sweatshops then that's up to them too.

Having a "moral responsibility to intervene when you see someone doing something wrong" has got nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Grow up.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (0)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629458)

So, ya know, if people want to run sweatshops then that's up to them and no doubt, if people wish to work in sweatshops then that's up to them too.

Whether or not one agrees with that view (I don't), that's freedom and it's Orwellian to declare that regulating voluntary choices is "freedom".

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (2, Insightful)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629572)

"Whether or not one agrees with that view (I don't), that's freedom and it's Orwellian to declare that regulating voluntary choices is "freedom"."

And are you willing to take the stand that the world needs to legalise slavery again in order for us to be more free?

all the best,

drew

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629764)

It is your belief that slavery is a voluntary arrangement on both sides?

Libertarianism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629924)

It is your belief that slavery is a voluntary arrangement on both sides?

Why couldn't it be? After all, the people in Brazil [google.com] who work without pay, living in hovels ankle deep in muck and jungle rot, cutting and burning trees to make charcoal to be used in producing iron used all over the world agreed to be employed, they should have asked whether or not they'd be driven off hundreds of miles away from civilization and dropped off at the labor camp and told to work or die alone in the jungle.

After all, it's not the employer's fault the employee didn't do due diligence to make sure they weren't going to be enslaved.

Re:Libertarianism (1)

Martin G. 1984 (770524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630102)

Then they did not agree to be enslaved. They were tricked.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630450)

[It is your belief that slavery is a voluntary arrangement on both sides?]

While I feel certain it would never be anywhere the norm. I am not sure it is an impossibility though. Even if it isn't, I think we woule be "safer/better" to keep it all forbidden rather than to just forbid involuntary slavery. (I think. This is off the cuff and I am not thinking too clealy right now due to health issues.)

I asked the question because someone has taken that position with me when discussing Freedom and the GPL. So now I tend to ask when things get near there.

all the best,

drew

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629808)

And are you willing to take the stand that the world needs to legalise slavery again in order for us to be more free?

I'm not sure what was so difficult to understand about "Whether or not one agrees with that view (I don't)", but to laboriously explain-- I don't think seven-year-olds should be allowed to drive, and I don't think voluntary human sacrifice should be legal, because I don't think "in order for us to be more free" is a value that trumps everything else.

The problem for the FSF and their zombie followers is that they *do* claim to place "freedom" above everything else. They don't actually believe that, of course, so they need to continuously redefine "free" and "not free" as "whatever I like" and "whatever I don't like".

all the best,
drew

Well, thank you, Drew!

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630324)

[I'm not sure what was so difficult to understand about "Whether or not one agrees with that view (I don't)"]

I have been known to misunderstand a thing or two in the past and I am sure I will not be immune in the future no matter how hard I try.

I guess this was one of those cases. I think I misunderstood your, (I don't) - sorry.

I have run into those taking that stand in discussions like this and when it gets near that point, I try to ask to clear things up and know how to proceed.

"Well, thank you, Drew!"

You are most welcome!

all the best,

drew

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629634)

it's Orwellian to declare that regulating voluntary choices is "freedom"
Well said. If only freedom fighters and activists would understand this! Forcing freedom is a self-contradicting idea.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (3, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629480)

No - the difference is that not everyone sees DRM as such a critical moral issue.

I'm amazed that you think there is a parallel between sweatshop labor, and mechanisms that prevent you from copying the latest Christina Aguilera track.

I see no moral issue with DRM-encumbered products. If you don't like DRM, you don't have to buy them.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629590)

yup, the two are worlds apart. See, whilst sweatshop labour is something bad that happens to other people in smelly countries, I want Christina, and I want her Now. Right Now. me me me. See the difference? :-)

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630038)

Yep, my right to participate fairly in the world culture and a worker's right to participate fairly in the world economy are completely unalike.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17630182)

>Yep, my right to participate fairly in the world culture and a worker's right to participate fairly in the world economy are completely unalike.

Glad you finally got a clue.

LOL, "right to participate in the world culture" indeed. The only culture you've is a culture of entitlement.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629486)

I'm no fan of DRM, but comparing the inability to play a song on every player made to the plight of working 12-14 hours per day, every day, in dangerous facilities, from the time you're 6 till you die, is offbase.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629502)

One can not care about DRM and yet feel greatly about sweatshops. There is a scale for these things.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

SuperStretchy (1018064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629672)

I think this thread just proves his point:

People have very strong opinions. I have very strong opinions and they happen to be for different reasons than many other people. It ends up in a situation where people really like to argue -- and that very much includes me... I expect this to raise a lot of bad blood but at the same time, at the end of the day, I don't think it really matters that much.

Even tho he wasn't referring to a /. post. I emphasize the last 1/2 of the last sentence. If we let DRM shape our lives, it has won. Like terrorism. RIght?

Ooo.. there's a new analogy.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629736)

Assuming they aren't physically holding them hostage, yes its their right to work in a sweatshop if they want to... :)

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629770)

if people want to run sweatshops

Try a better grade of stuffing for your straw man, sunshine. DRM is something that you can buy or not, nobody's got a gun to your head. It's not a moral issue, period.

-jcr

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629984)

Try a better grade of stuffing for your straw man, sunshine. DRM is something that you can buy or not, nobody's got a gun to your head. It's not a moral issue, period.

Yeah, and Microsoft doesn't have a literal monopoly, they have a virtual monopoly, whereas you're not literally forced to buy DRM, you're virtually forced to. Microsoft and Apple are both staunch DRM supporters and between them they hold nearly the entire market.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629992)

wtf? People *choose* to work in sweatshops too ya know. Why do they do that? Because their is little choice otherwise. Are you trying to suggest that in the brave new future of DRM'd media we're going to have ample opportunity to buy media that is not DRM'd? What world have you been living in?

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629826)

Moron.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (4, Insightful)

MysticOne (142751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629436)

I disagree. If you're at a store and notice that a customer keeps distracting the cashier, then proceeds to take a dollar or two from the cash drawer, you have a moral responsibility to either point it out to the cashier, contact the authorities, etc. Ignoring it makes you complicit in the act.

In essence, this type of activity is what the recording industry and movie industry are doing to consumers. They distract them long enough to steal a few rights from us when nobody is looking. The average person, much like the cashier in my example, is probably very trusting and open, especially to somebody they feel is trustworthy. Staying silent, refusing to point out that the consumer is being robbed blind, and then going on about how people are allowed to do as they please, is really just a way of saying you're either 1) too lazy to be bothered with doing the right thing or 2) too apathetic to care.

I really respect Linus for what he's done for Linux. I don't think it's appropriate for people to always look to him for guidance on such things, because he's consistently pointed out that he isn't an activist on any issues with which the FOSS community concerns itself. But, this isn't because he has some sort of superior view on the issues at hand. He simply doesn't care. So why don't we stop looking to Linus for answers here, and stop being disappointed by his views, and continue to fight the fight without him.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629636)

The recording industry aren't 'stealing' rights. They are creating goofball contracts that people seem to be perfectly willing to follow. I have a feeling that as more people get bitten by DRM, it will become a much tougher sell. That our legislative system is so broken that laws can more or less be bought is a different problem entirely.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629708)

> The recording industry aren't 'stealing' rights. They
> are creating goofball contracts that people seem to
> be perfectly willing to follow.

They also spend a lot of effort destroying alternative distribution models through various means, legislative and otherwise. If they are so confident of their contracts, why do they also destroy any possible competition?

sPh

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630026)

They don't give a shit about alternative distribution models so long as they get paid for work for which they own the copyright, as is their legal (and, imo, moral right). They're not trying to shut down new bands and their MySpace pages, they're trying to shut down networks where the number one use is distributing their work for free.

The only way you could be concerned about the RIAA "destroying any possible competition" in relation to P2P lawsuits is if you consider taking peoples' work for free legitimate competition to buying it.

Allofmp3, for its part, is a far less clear cut case.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630098)

They have plenty of resources, so they can fight their war on several fronts. It would be nice for business if they could get people into contracts that required them to hand over more money, and that would be even better if they had no competitors.

Because then, if you are an entertainer, and you want the entertainment you produce distributed, you'd have only one place to go and, regardless of the contract terms, you'd probably sin. And that whole process would be heped along if there were a law that prevented entertainment from being released into the atmosphere without the industry's explicit approval.

So we have a very large company doing several things at once, all with the goal of making more money.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (-1, Redundant)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629816)

Selling DRM'd products is robbing no one. The person that produced the work is simply trying to protect their rights, and their rights include how they let you "consume" their creation. Your right is to choose to buy their product or not, if you don't like the restrictions they put on their product, DON'T BUY IT!!!

If you want to inform consumers about the restrictions of DRM'd products, knock yourself out, but you don't have a right to restrict people from selling DRM'd products.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630306)

I personally don't buy DRM'd material. I think it's worthwhile to inform people about what they're losing if they give in to DRM (especially given the mess that is Vista and its currently propagating effects on the hardware market).

Once its reached this level, where I, no matter whether I consume DRM'd products or not, am now paying for the RIAA/MPAA's bs encryption overhead in any new hardware I buy, it is in fact infringing on my rights. My rights to use my hardware to the fullest of its ability given that I own it. My right to have my demand shape the market. My right to do what I wish with the information contained on devices I wholly own.

Licensing software is one thing. Essentially licensing hardware that I own is quite another. No one seems to see the line that is currently being crossed. If you don't want your equipment to do what you tell it to, continue down this path. If, on the other hand, you want to be sure you have control over what your equipement does under the hood, fight against DRM, its the first step on a slippery slope to controlling data flow in and out of your computer (and other electronics). You won't like the way the world looks at the bottom of that slope.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

Merkwurdigeliebe (1046824) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629602)

I'll agree here with parent. This is not a life or death situation. Water -a renewable resource- is restriced in use. It is metered. Don't pay and your service is cut. So long as DRM is not dictated to be necessary by government it should be tenable. If DRM become cumbersome another scheme should usurp and take its place and make DRM the bastard child. It would be natural. While I can see reasoning in the arguments against DRM, I don't see DRM as being inherently immoral. It takes control away from the user and in most cases puts it in the control of the works publisher. Good, bad, neutral?

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630016)

"So long as DRM is not dictated to be necessary by government"

Anti-circumvention laws are such a dictate.

"It takes control away from the user and in most cases puts it in the control of the works publisher."

Essentially, it's approximately the same as other forms of taxation, taking away part of owners rights to their property and giving them to someone else (in this case the economic value of being able to reproduce the item).

Wether taxes are good or bad is certainly debatable, but personally, I'd say taxing the population and appropriating their rights to their property for the purpose of funding particularly ineffective corporations at best falls within the 'bad idea' realm, if not actually in the 'evil' camp.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (4, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629608)

he also thinks that if people wish to use it then thats up to them too
I agree and I'm sure even RMS agrees. If people want to use DRM, let them use it. The trouble is that many people don't want to use DRM but are forced to, because it's part of the software on their computer and they cannot change that software.

Even if the software is GPL'd and so meant to be free, you might be unable to change it (whether to remove DRM or anything else) because of 'trusted' keys and signing. That's what GPLv3 aims to fix.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630096)

The trouble is that many people don't want to use DRM but are forced to, because it's part of the software on their computer and they cannot change that software. ...what? When has that ever happened? And don't give me the old BS about having the ability to play DRMed files being the same as being "forced to use DRM".

I don't want to use DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17630100)

Oh cut the sophmoric libertarian crap; moral responsibility has got everything to do with it. If your friend wants to drive drunk, are you going to give him your keys? What's the difference between enabling your friend to drive drunk (by giving him your keys) and enabling someone to do something bad with the software you write? Now you can argue that DRM is never bad, but many disagree; and in any case, that's a completely different argument to the one you're making, which is that software licenses can't have moral implications.

I don't want DRM to interfere with my access to my own medical records, for example; but there's absolutely nothing I can do to stop that from happening if the software licenses for the components people use to build their EHR applications allow it. So you're happy to protect the vendor's freedom, and you're happy to protect the hospital's freedom, but you don't give a shit about my freedom to my own medical records? If people want to use DRM on top of linux so that they can limit access to your medical records to a specific vendor's application you're o.k. with that? DRM has more important ramifications than what the media conglomerates decide to do with Laverne and Shirly re-runs.

Re:I don't want to use DRM (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630304)

Even more than just giving him your keys. If you see someone about to drive drunk, take their keys off them. If they won't give up their keys, kick their ass until they do. If they try to hot wire their car so they can drive drunk, kick their ass some more until they pass out. I've lived in California and every single night I went out drinking watched the number of people who drive home drunk from the bars that close at 2am. I can't understand how US culture tolerates that kind of behaviour. A man's right to drive his car home stops the minute he becomes a danger to pedestrians and other drivers. He has no right to drive that car, and you have a moral responsibility to stop him. Coming from Europe I would have thought Linus would have more social responsibility than the drunks in California who let their friends drive drunk, but I bet Linus would be the kind of guy who says "who am I to intervene?"

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629312)

You're mearly trading one person's freedom for another's. I'm with Linus on this one (woh, there's something that doesn't happen often!) The whole GPLv3 VS DRM arguement is full of blowhards on either side of the road. GPL will not end DRM any more than the DRM limitations will end GPL.

-Rick

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629814)

GPL will not end DRM any more than the DRM limitations will end GPL.

No, but the new version of the GPL will end GPLed code being used for DRM. Just like you have the option of writing GPL code because you don't like proprietary code, you should have the option of writing GPL code because you don't like DRM.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (3, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629400)

Is that just an omission on the part of the reporter or do you really believe you have no moral responsibility to intervene when you see someone doing something wrong?

I think he just means that if someone wants to write code that implements some sort of DRM scheme, he thinks they should be allowed to do that. What he should be saying is that he is OK if they do that with HIS code, because that is his position.

If he is really OK with "letting people do what they want," then why force them to allow further modification of works derived from your code?

Why not just let them take your code, create their own version and use a signed key to make any further modifications unusable on the device? Oh wait. That's what DRM does. He **is** OK with that.

Linus sure is a confusing guy.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (2, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629402)

And the user is free not to use products with DRM.

If you think your freedom is being impinged by DRM-encumbered music and movies, you are free not to purchase them. No one is taking away your freedom - music and movies are not necessary for life, and there are plenty of independent musicians and cinematographers who are willing to sell you music without DRM.

The media companies are free to sell products with DRM, and you are free not to purchase them.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629700)

If I discuss the DRM implementation with somebody just in order to break it and extract some material from a DRMd disk and use it for a review or critique, it is illegal. At least in the USA. Talk about taking away freedom.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

avalys (221114) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629748)

You're talking about the DMCA, which is a law specific to the US. I agree with you about the problems with that - but I think it's a separate issue from DRM in general.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630068)

Yes, but that's due to a bad law (the anticircumvention part of the DMCA.) The GPLv3 will do nothing about that one way or the other. The GPLv3 is concerned with the technical measures of preventing copying, not the legal ones.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629438)

Well, no Linus, it's not their problem. It's the user's problem. You're a big believer in letting people do what they want to do.. that's great stuff. Very liberal minded. I'm sure I've said something along those lines myself. Of course, I tend to clarify it with the caveat that what they want to do can't hurt or take away the freedom of others. Is that just an omission on the part of the reporter or do you really believe you have no moral responsibility to intervene when you see someone doing something wrong?

To answer this, let's take a look at the biggest users of DRM: The audio/video industry. Say they take movie X, slap some unbreakable DRM on it. They own the rights to the movie and content, therefore it's their choice how they market and release it ( if that is their goal ). And it's my choice whether I wish to buy a knowingly crippled product ( the right to watch the movie on approved players ).

What would you argue I do here: Class action them into releasing their rightfully owned product in a more open format? What grounds would I have to do so? I'm not being forced to buy their product ( and in fact, the DRM would hurt their sales ). You want to get riled up about an injustice, look at the states and mandatory car insurance.

In this, Linus is absolutely correct: Let people play with DRM; In the long term, it hardly matters.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629756)

And it's my choice whether I wish to buy a knowingly crippled product ( the right to watch the movie on approved players ).
Yes, but there is this very slippery slope here.

They take some extremely popular movie X, slap DRM on it, sell millions of copies to a group of consumers (say teens) who don't necessarily value or "get" the subtleties of freedom and rights; they have a disc, view the movie, instant gratification relieved, get movie Y.

Unfortunately this business model is extremely effective for 5% of movies/music/games made. Excessively successful. So much so, that industry (who owns 99% of all content) decides that this model should be applied to 100% of content. So the other 95% doesn't sell...they write the problem off to poor quality or fickleness of the customer base. This is "the cost of doing business" thinking (put out 10 CDs with 10 formula-derived tracks hoping that at least one track goes super-hextillion-platinum).

See, the issues is that the vast majority of the public then is either forced to put up with reduced rights or to not get access to the media put out by this industry...which is just about everything. So either I lose my rights, or I lose the ability to see the (few) true quality pieces produced. And my attempting to argue that the latest "enviro-ware" movie (or whatever) should be released outside of their regular business model goes completely unanswered because there simply is not enough return-on-investment for them to consider anything less than super-hextillion-platinum.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630188)

The problem in this whole argument is perspective -- what works on the micro-scale is not necessarily what works best on the macro-scale. While I enjoy my freedom more than anyone, I realize that my freedom and my beliefs do not necessarily match up with the majority of the population. I am a belief system of one. I am accountable only to myself and those I interact with. A corporation is a large entity, with thousands or tens of thousands of employees, hundreds of thousands of shareholders, and perhaps millions of customers. A corporation has to on the one hand, cater to the population that uses its service/buys its products, and on the other hand turn a profit.

So while I, as a person, see DRM as a threat, a corporation sees DRM as a tool to help it maintain its ability to make money off the products/services it supplies. I believe that I should have the right to see content in an unfettered fashion, whenever and wherever I want. The corporation believes that it should be compensated for the effort required to provide the product/service I am demanding. It's not so much a question of right and wrong, but to what extent a company is going to protect its interests at the expense of its customers./p.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629646)

The problem is that DRM on itself doesn't work as a pure technological measure. So far no DRM has been able to stop people from copying stuff they want. The problem is that DRM comes with goverment regulation and goverment enforcement. Basically, what happens is that police comes and takes away your freedom to copy arbitrary stuff and to even discuss DRM implementations with others.

Re:fine line between "moderate" and "apolitical" (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629942)

But you're advocating a technical solution to a clearly non-technical problem, and that's always going to be difficult/impossible. After all, DRM itself is a technical solution to a non-technical problem, and look how ineffective and offensive it is...

Exactly (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629218)

It doesn't matters that much. Good said. Not that the words of a regular person like this overrated one (Linuzzz something) means a thing, but that is the scence of the problem. DMR may be good for some, bad for some others. In the end of the day, there is not black or white, but a lot of colors there inbetween.

... the colors in between (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629412)

It's always about 'losing your rights', and such, but I can think of plenty of times where DRM could be an advantage.

Okay, say that you're trying to talk your girlfriend (I know, this is Slashdot, but this a purely hypothetical situation), into letting you take naked pictures / movies of her. She doesn't want to, because she doesn't want you posting them to the internet should you ever break up. If there were a way for her to place DRM on the files, so that you couldn't go printing them out, or giving them to others (okay, you could have them look at your computer, but it keeps you from attaching it in e-mail), or so that she can revoke access should you ever break up, she might be more willing to do it.

(okay, she'd have to actually be technically oriented enough to understand that what you propose has merits, without knowing enough about DRM to know that it can be cracked with a little effort) ... So, in this case, it's like the argument that the movie studies claim -- by protecting their rights, they're more willing to make content. ... the problem is, DRM is always associated with big companies ... why isn't there a DRM system out there for the rest of us?

DRM? What DRM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629270)

DRM is hot air.

Because it does protect nothing from getting ripped or copied.

DRM is made to steal money from customers. It certainly isn't anything like a threat for the warez scene.

DRM is also important to generate news with big headlines.

One sentence from Torvalds has more news and truth for nerds than a thousand /. articles.

*Not* pragmatic (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629332)

People often contrast Torvalds and Stallman as being pragmatic and idealistic, respectively. I don't think this is the case. Stallman *is* pragmatic - the only thing is, he's pragmatic about the long-term consequences and Torvalds only looks at the short-term consequences.

One example of this is the version control debate. Stallman rightly pointed out that Bitkeeper was a problem waiting to happen, and Torvalds didn't care until it was too late. Sure, you might say that the problem was avoided because Torvalds wrote git. But if he'd have done that in the first place, git would have been years ahead in development by now, and the Linux community could have avoided an embarrassing debacle.

This isn't an isolated incident - there is a history of Stallman making a point about something, a lot of people laughing at him and saying that it won't be a problem, and then a few years down the line, it becomes a problem.

Another example: the GNU project has required contributers to sign copyright waivers on the code their contribute, or have their employers do it if necessary. If Torvalds had done this from the start, half of the things SCO were complaining about to the press would have been more readily rebutted and easier to face in court. But Torvalds didn't bother with this until it was too late either.

Now I'm not saying that everything Stallman does is perfect. But he has a history of being right, even in the face of people saying that he's wrong or that it doesn't matter. So instead of simply writing him off because golden boy Torvalds says so, perhaps it would be prudent to take a closer look.

Re:*Not* pragmatic (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629614)

Pragmatic eh? Where's Stallman on security?

Apparently, he thinks that everyone should have root. Even Uncle Bob and Aunt Mabel in Pahrump, who have neither the expertise nor the interest in using all the possible capabilities of their computer.

It's not okay to say that people should write reliable code (because they don't), or that users should behave responsibly (I'm of the opinion that if something intuitive, like opening an attachment, has far-reaching negative implications, then it's the software's fault, not the user's.)

Existing approaches to security, and the notion that everyone should just learn to use a computer, are both arrogant and unhelpful. You don't need to know thermodynamics to drive your car, nor should you if you don't want to.

I would like for someone to point out to me Stallman's allegedly pragmatic views on computer security, especially on the internet. Within the next ten years, computer security will become the most important issue in commerce, whether it's due to one spectacular event or a large number of slowly escalating little ones.

Re:*Not* pragmatic (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629804)

the Linux community could have avoided an embarrassing debacle.

Oh please. What embarrassing debacle? I'm an avid Linux user, read news sites constantly, and only heard that they were switching to git from BitKeeper. If it was a "debacle", I'm 100% sure it would have been more newsworthy than it was.

Now I'm not saying that everything Stallman does is perfect. But he has a history of being right, even in the face of people saying that he's wrong or that it doesn't matter. So instead of simply writing him off because golden boy Torvalds says so, perhaps it would be prudent to take a closer look.

Stallman is a moron and always has been. Just because he happened to be right about BitKeeper doesn't mean that we should worry our pretty little heads about GPLv3 and DRM. If someone wants to write DRM stuff for Linux, so be it. There is a huge opportunity for the kernel to be written by someone else that doesn't want to have that functionality.

Let Linux run the way it always has -- with very little care about how the code is modified.

Re:*Not* pragmatic (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629940)

Another example: the GNU project has required contributers to sign copyright waivers on the code their contribute, or have their employers do it if necessary. If Torvalds had done this from the start, half of the things SCO were complaining about to the press would have been more readily rebutted and easier to face in court. But Torvalds didn't bother with this until it was too late either.

And how is that exactly? SCO is claiming IBM breached their contract, and if IBM signed a license or copyright waiver wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. I haven't seen a single argument that'd be made easier.

Handing over copyright is handing over all control. If the FSF goes beserkoid either making a completely impossible GPLv4 or decide to release it as public domain, you'll probably have no recourse. That's definately only for the true believers, if you ask me.

It's a difference of philosophy (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630190)

Socialist/Fascist/Controlling/Anal. This is a problem! Something must be done!
Liberal. If there's a problem, someone will do something.

The first is the planned economy of the socialists and the second is the free market economy of the liberals. Over the years, it's the liberal philosophy which has turned out to be the most profitable. The former controlling philosophy there's the belief that you can control events, the second is the understanding that most of the time you can't.

I'm not saying that Stallman is wrong, it's just that he's only one among many in the market and if it wasn't him it'd be someone else.

You keep saying "too late" and debacle. Except that Linux is plodding along just fine. Feel free to get worked up about everything, but I'll go with the flow, along with substantially lower blood pressure.
 

He May Be Right (2, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629364)

I'm going to skip DRM. It's an ad nauseum discussion.

I've watched the arguments on the GPL 3 and it seems like what some of the louder voices are saying is, "GPL is all about freedom. Our version of freedom." It smacks of the voices from ages past that yell, "Heretic!"

To draw upon the analogy of religion, and those watching the discussion know that the movement, FOSS, GPL, OS flavors and distributions, has become a religious discussion, and in some circles holy war cum Jihad:

We are told that early settlers in America were seeking to protect themselves from religious persecution back in merry old England. The Puritans (now there's a tolerant sounding moniker) decided to place an ocean between them and the State sponsered religion. So, what happened when other religious groups started to arrive in the "new" world? Suddenly, those freedom lovers didn't like some of the newer religions that were springing up. "You have freedom of religion," they would say, "As long as you pick ours." (read: "You're either with us or against us.")

This is what is happening in the world of GPL 3, when looking in from the sidelines. GPL 3 are the silky bonds that when all is said and done, could bind us tighter than any EULA developed by Microsoft. A license that grants absolute freedom to the users, and follow on developers and integrators would place absolutely NO restriction on implementations.

Maybe its time to drop the zealots and their Prophet, the Grand Ayatollah Stallman, and create the Truly Open and Free License of All Choices (TOFLAC).

Re:He May Be Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629464)

Yeah. But maybe you're just wondrously dumb.

Re:He May Be Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629564)

Wow, you are so obnoxious. Just who do you think you are labeling as "zealots"? Can you not discuss something without resorting to colorful labeling? Having a unwavering point of view on a subject does not constitute "religion". Grow up.

Re:He May Be Right (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629784)

create the Truly Open and Free License of All Choices (TOFLAC)
It has existed for ages and it's called the BSD license.

Re:What Would Bill Gates Do? (1, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629810)

This is what is happening in the world of GPL 3, when looking in from the sidelines. GPL 3 are the silky bonds that when all is said and done, could bind us tighter than any EULA developed by Microsoft

Clearly you need to examine the issues much closer. One important example that needs to be examined carefully is Tivo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tivoization [wikipedia.org] This is a novel form of theft that made GPL V2 meaningless. Maybe you've heard about Novell and their "innovative" end-run around the GPL? GPL V3 is required to close the loopholes that opportunistic asshats have opened. There will probably be a GPL V4 as other "innovations" are discovered in the GPL.

Attempting to marginalize free (as in freedom) software benefits no one. I would argue it actually reduces innovation and overall public benefit that computers/software bring to a society.

Re:What Would Bill Gates Do? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630246)

Tivo [...] is a novel form of theft that made GPL V2 meaningless.
Wow, so stealing music is *not* theft while stealing Linux *is*. Talk about double standards...

Re:He May Be Right (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629930)

["GPL is all about freedom. Our version of freedom." It smacks of the voices from ages past that yell, "Heretic!"]

The problem is, that is pretty much the situation with anyone choosing any Free Softwarre license instead of putting their code in the public domain.

It is especially true re people using the GPL2 versus BSD. Isn't this the same accusation the BSD folks have been making against the GPL2 folks all along? (In a very loose way.)

[A license that grants absolute freedom to the users, and follow on developers and integrators would place absolutely NO restriction on implementations.]

The GPL has never been about granting absolute freedom to the users, it has been about preserving as much freedom as it can for all users down the line. Yes? no?
all the best,

drew

And when they came for the hackers, I said nothing (4, Insightful)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629370)

Maybe Linus is one of those people for whom it will only matter very much when it bites him in the ass and it's too late to do anything about it.

Or, maybe you're one of those people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17630116)

who likes to use passive-aggressive language in order to appear moderate and insightful.

Just admit it already, you're steeped in dogma just as much as any bible thumper.

gpl3 and drm clash of idealogys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17629376)

no big deal he says. the next killer application could be gpl3 and it may just set a standard for free software. appearently drm doesn't run on gpl3 legally.

Linus assumes... (1)

sphealey (2855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629428)

Linus seems to assume that since he (and Linux(tm)) have never experienced a directed, concerted attack (other than the SCO lawsuit) that he (and Linux) will never experience such an attack. Whereas I think that the major media and communications organizations were caught off-guard, first by the Internet itself and then by Linux, and required some time to gather their forces and develop a strategy.

With the _Democrats_ in the Senate now introducting /additional/ DRM legislation, I strongly suspect that the strategy is in place and rolling. And that free communication in general, and Linux specifically, are going to come under very heavy attack over the next 4 years.

So I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Torvalds.

sPh

Torvalds is a brilliant programmer... (5, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629468)

...but I don't think he has the legal understanding and I don't think he understands why the content industry is pushing DRM (hint: it's not because of piracy).

That is why I take Torvald's world on any programming issue related to the kernel and support RMS's position when it comes to freedom, content industry issues. While RMS may not be legally trained, he realises that and has a team that is competent in legal matters. Of course Linus is entitled to his opinion on these issues, but I believe that his take on it is harmful because it's the "famous people slightly connected to the issue seeming to be expert on the issue to the public" syndrome. He is no more competent in this case than the celebrities ridiculed by the bbc in a previous article.

Stop hushing, Linus (1)

krasmussen (891165) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629576)

Apparantly Linus hasn't got the basic idea of debating and democracy as a whole. If nobody discussed this issue, it would not be adressed, and no effort would be put into creating a better solution. He's right that the debate might get a bit too hot at times, but the solution to that isn't to call it off.

The problem with DRM and the GPL (4, Insightful)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629666)

I will give one thing to Linus. He is right that there is a lot of hot air involved. That's because people (including him) miss the point about DRM and the GPL.

For DRM to work, it has to use technical means to prevent modification of the code. This is open source we're talking about. If they don't prevent modification of the code, a crack will be easily implemented.

The GPL prevents a party from relicensing your code with a modification restriction... but DRM allows them to use technical means instead of legal means to accomplish the same result.

DRM (or at least, that part of it that I've described) is a loophole that should be closed. We are not talking about "someone's right to create programs that use DRM". We are talking about someone's right to modify **your** code, while preventing further modification by others. That's one of the core rights that the GPL is meant to preserve.

Re:The problem with DRM and the GPL (1)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629874)

Isn't imposing a restriction on what someone can do with your code violating the freedoms that Stallman advocates and demands, or are we supposed to do as he says and not as he does where DRM is concerned?

Re:The problem with DRM and the GPL (2, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630392)

Isn't imposing a restriction on what someone can do with your code violating the freedoms that Stallman advocates and demands, or are we supposed to do as he says and not as he does where DRM is concerned?

No and no.

The point of the GPL is to allow sharing and modification, while disallowing activities that would prevent further sharing and modification.

If you don't prevent others from restricting sharing and modification, then you might as well release your code into the public domain.

No - IBM has made censorship an issue NOW. (4, Interesting)

btarval (874919) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629710)

I'm sorry, but Linus is absolutely dead wrong when he says:

"both DRM technology and GPLv3 will cause "lots of arguments" but in the bigger scheme of things, neither will stop good technology from prevailing."

He doesn't seem to be aware of the current actions to limit his options here.

The problem is that IBM appears to be trying to take control of Linux via software patents. Specifically, censoring it when a Linux solution gives them competition that they don't like.

And they are doing this in the fashion of a Patent Troll, with some rather questionable software patents.

I've mentioned this before; here's the link again. "IBM's decision to sue Platform Solutions is another indication that the company is becoming more aggressive about defending its intellectual property in an effort to extract more revenue from its extensive patent trove." [informationweek.com]

What is especially disconcerting is that if IBM wins this lawsuit, it means they will have extreme influence (if not effective control) over most (if not all) Linux products out there, given IBM's vast Patent trove.

Note very well that this is what people were worried about with Microsoft and Novell. The sad news here is that this may have already arrived, via IBM. Which is probably why IBM wants to keep this quiet.

Hello - where's the Linux community on this one? People (myself included) were up in arms when Microsoft and Novell tried to skirt the GPL. IBM's approach strikes me as much worse. It's here. Now.

While Linus would like to keep adding good technology to the kernel, if IBM's lawsuit is allowed to stand, Linus doesn't seem to recognize that his options may be taken away from him. He will no longer be able to publish software without IBM's blessing.

What's next? Is he going to need Microsoft/Novell approval after that?

The only option that I can see is the GPL v3 license approach. One wonders how long Linus can keep ignoring this issue. It would be much better if he were taking a proactive approach here, because simply ignoring the issue doesn't seem to be working.

Re:No - IBM has made censorship an issue NOW. (1)

nickos (91443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630532)

But the Linux kernel can't move to the GPL v3 licence without the permission of everyone who has ever contributed to the project (or by stripping and rewriting code from people who won't or can't give permission).

Wow. (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17629824)

"Which mindset is right? Mine, of course. People who disagree with me are by definition crazy. (Until I change my mind, when they can suddenly become upstanding citizens. I'm flexible, and not black-and-white.)"

"I'm always right. This time I'm just even more right than usual."

Re:Wow. (2)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630056)

Don't take that literally. Linus is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek kind of guy. I say the exact same kinds of things myself, but I don't really mean them. Linus has the same kind of humor going on. (o;

It reminds me of another programmer I used to work with; He and I disagreed on almost everything. So we ended up telling people that 'we', collectively, were always right no matter what because I would take position A and he would take the opposite position B.

Re:Wow. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17630282)

WOW! I didn't realize you read slashdot Mr. President! :P

kerneltrap drm rants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17630010)

yo8u FAIL it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17630254)

over a quality 4 previously

Solaris GPL3 versus Linux GPL2 (1)

hutchike (837402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630280)

If Solaris goes with GPL3 and Linux stays with GPL2 (for DRM and other reasons) it will mean that Linux code can be added to Solaris, but Solaris code can't be added to Linux. Surely this is a disadvantage for Linux?

LInus and GPL (1)

PzyCrow (560903) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630398)

Linus has said before that he'd probably choose a different licens if had was to choose one today.

GPL for him was never about freedom he only had one requirements, if people improved his code, they should give the improvements to hom.

What they do with the code, and how that affects other people was never an issue, as long as he can use their code (and apparently he don't want to use it with their hardware).

I agree with the quote, for different reasons... (1)

crazy blade (519548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17630490)

Yeah, Linus is right: "...at the end of the day, I don't think it really matters that much."

Why? Because all DRM will eventually be circumvented. Look at DVD, HD-DVD and (soon would be my guess) Blue-Ray. Even on Windows and Mac OSX, with Microsoft's / Apple's blessed and fully supported state-of-the-art DRM solutions, people will come up with ways to achieve what is rational: fair use. So yeah, develop away. Stuff as much DRM as you want in Linux as well. At the end of the day, I'll still want to be able to use media like I use CDs and DVDs nowadays. The industry doesn't get it, but people want / need it, so it will happen.

.
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