Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Torvalds "Pretty Pleased" With Latest GPLv3

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the with-sugar-on-top dept.

GNU is Not Unix 295

Novus Ordo Seclorum writes "According to CNet, Linus Torvalds is 'pretty pleased' with the current GPL v3 draft. He said, 'Unlike the earlier drafts, it at least seems to not sully the good name of the GPL any more.' After his earlier criticism, some had questioned whether such controversies would lead to rifts in the community, especially if the kernel ended up under a different license than the GNU tools. But with the latest revisions, Linus will entertain moving the kernel over to the GPL v3."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Bribed. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528013)

Yep. Call me a troll if you wish, but I know for a fact there was some negotiation.

Re:Bribed. (0, Offtopic)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528037)

Ah... So that was what those boxes of red herring was! I should have known.

Re:Bribed. (3, Insightful)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528039)

Of course there was negotiation, but I'm sure Linus paid for his own lunch.

Re:Bribed. (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528257)

The bottom line is that FSF cannot realistically release a GPLv3 that doesn't have Linus' stamp of approval. Linux is just too big a part of the Free software community to ignore. Of course Stallman and/or Eben Moglen had to convince Linus. It seems to be that at least some of changes were in direct response to his criticisms.

Re:Bribed. (0, Flamebait)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528383)

I honestly don't see how Linus is that relevant.

Re:Bribed. (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528531)

No? Who's bigger and more well-known amongst todays geeks: Stallman on Linus? I'll bet there's a bunch of young whippersnappers out there who have never heard of rms. (HEY YOU KIDS, GET OFF MY LAWN!) Compare to Linus. Not since Ken has a hacker been known universally by his first name only. If I say 'Linus' in the context of software, you immediately know I'm talking about the blanket-holding, piano-playing kid in the Peanuts cartoon.

Re:Bribed. (3, Insightful)

seaturnip (1068078) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528565)

Who the hell is Ken?

Re:Bribed. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528633)

Wanna hear a bedtime story, lil' seaturnip? Wayyyyyyy a long time ago, in a land far, far away (well, New Jersey) there were two Multics hackers and a PDP-11...

Re:Bribed. (1)

GuidoW (844172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529047)

AFAIK it was a disused PDP-7...

Re:Bribed. (2, Informative)

Otto (17870) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529209)

You know.
Ken [wikipedia.org] .

whooops. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528575)

s/I'm talking/I'm not talking/

whoops. Preview, preview..

Re:Bribed. (2, Funny)

Brad Eleven (165911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528943)

Stallman on Linus?
Ugh, I just got a visual.

Re:Bribed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18529645)

Lemon Party?

Re:Bribed. (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529029)

Linus is, I grant you, a figurehead. I wonder who does more kernel development, Linus or Redhat? How about IBM? How about Linus vs Novell? Yeah. His historical significance is immense but his value as a figurehead to me (and who the hell am I, anyway), is in decline.

Re:Bribed. (3, Informative)

ttrafford (62500) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529147)

Linus spends his time reviewing submitted patches, AIUI. It's project management, but a required part of development on a largish scale.

Re:Bribed. (4, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529761)

I honestly don't see how Linus is that relevant.
Linus is like the head priest of the bazaar.
 

Re:Bribed. (3, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528609)

The article submitter paints a bit rosier picture than the article and quotes actually support:

Torvalds: "The current draft makes me think it's at least a possibility in theory, but whether it's practical and worth it is a totally different thing," he said. "Practically speaking, it would involve a lot of work to make sure everything relevant is GPLv3-compatible even if we decided that the GPL 3 is OK."

Basically, GPLv3 makes it go from "impossible" to "maybe someday". I doubt Linux is moving off of GPLv2 anytime soon, though. I doubt most GPLv2 projects are, and suspect those that do will fork instead of go completely to GPLv3. This will more or less be the open source community shooting itself in the foot.

Re:Bribed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18529439)

Like my uncle Jed used to say, "ain't no such thing as a free lunch".

Interesting.. (4, Funny)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528019)

...and this whole time I was losing sleep on whether linus would be pleased.

Slow news day? :)

Re:Interesting.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528061)

Yeah unfortunately there hasn't been any new reports on Vista or pre-built Linux PCs in the last three hours. Things are getting desperate.

Re:Interesting.. (4, Informative)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528911)

Slow news day? :)

No, vitally important news for the future of the free/open source software movement day.

The linux kernel is pretty important to (duh) most linux distributions. However, so is a load of Free Software Foundation-controlled stuff, not least the compilers, make tools, standard C libraries, and shedloads of userland utilities from the "ls" command through to EMACS... plus the GPL license itself. If the two factions fall out then it can only be bad for Linux and other FOSS.

Slighty satirized and only approximately true capsule summary of the problem:

The FSF wants - quite badly - to move to the GPLv3 to prevent "TiVOization" (using GPL code in a hardware device but with DRM-type tricks that stops users changing the code) and, more recently, to stop future Novell/Microsoft FUD campaigns.

Linus and other linux kernel contributors want - quite badly - to keep the GPLv2 because:

  1. if it ain't broke, don't fix it;
  2. TiVO etc. may be irksome but isn't worth the risk of "fixing" the GPLv2 (as programmers they understand this!)
  3. Did we mention "If it aint broke, don't fix it"?
  4. Previous drafts of the GPLv3 contained scary-sounding clauses about patents and use of encryption that, whatever their intention or precise legal meaning, would have had commercial GPL users running for the long grass.
  5. Unlike FSF, "Linux" doesn't ask contributors to hand over copyright - so while FSF can change the license for the next version of gcc at the stroke of a pen, "Linux" can't change the license on the kernel without getting approval from hundreds of people, some of whom have inevitably emmigrated, died, gone to jail or, tragically, got jobs at Microsoft.
  6. "Look, I was up burning the midday oil the other week because I decided to 'just fix' some code that wasn't really that broken so, take it from me, if it ain't seriously broke don't fix it!"

The pro-FSF lobby countered these concerns with:

  1. Trust us, we're lawyers and academics
  2. Feel free to comment on the detailed wording but we're not changing our mind about the principles
  3. If you're against GPLv3 you must be for software patents and TiVOization

At which point ISTR Linus (or someone claiming to be he) said a Bad Word on Groklaw and PJ made him go and stand in the Naughty Corner until he had learned to control his potty mouth :-)

Then when the new draft of the GPLv3 appears it turns out that although the FSF have stuck to their guns they have been listening and have done some substantial re-drafting.

If Linus and the FSF are talking nicely again it can only be good news - even if Groklaw's swear box takings go down.

Re:Interesting.. (5, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529347)

That's a pretty slanted view of what happened.

The FSF's issues concerned more than just TiVo, software patents were another major issue. Fundamentally though, the main issue is that there's a lot of licensing forking going on. The GPL is broken. If it wasn't, the MPL, CDDL, and custom licenses for projects like Apache, wouldn't exist.

And the biggest problem with multiple copyleft licenses is that it undermines software freedom. If you can't mix code from one free software project in another, then how are they both "free"?

Critics of the FSF countered that this was all the GPLs fault, because, erm, it's copyleft and the others are n... well, erm, the problem is copyleft, and the GPL invented that, and nobody else wante... oh wait, well, er, RMS is a dirty smelly hippy! Yeah!

The FSF recognized there is an issue, and went forward and tried to create a set of licenses (it's important to note that both the GPL and LGPL are being modified here) that anyone who believes in free software could find common ground with.

Whereupon Torvalds threw a fit, because he'd fucked up. Seriously fucked up. Early on in Linux development, he settled on the GPLv2, but didn't like one commonly included licensing mechanism, the ability to use future versions of the GPL. By itself, that's fine, trusting a third party to always put out fair licenses is a massive mistake, but where Torvalds screwed up was in not replacing it. He just took it out. It's like seeing:

i = int_add_function(i, 1);

in some code, and deciding that it sucks, and it's hideous, and it's really going to have side effects and stuff that are unpredictable, and God knows why someone would put it in, and deciding to remove the damned line instead of replacing it with "i++;"

Essentially Torvalds replaced a clause allowing for future upgrades with nothing whatsoever, which means that it's going to be very, very, very hard indeed to ever upgrade the license of the Linux kernel, no matter how necessary.

So he made up some spurious complaints about the draft. They were nonsense. In some cases his complaints were even that it was somehow a violation of the spirit of the GPL to outlaw ways of making it illegal to modify software (such as use of the DMCA.) The FSF has had to seriously water down one important clause, and rewrite another so it's obvious even to a anti-FSF zealot that Torvalds was full of shit.

After the revision, even Linus has realized that he's going to be laughed at if he makes the same complaints, so now he's trying to look magnanimous while simultaneously dissing it. Yes, contrary to the headline, he's saying he still doesn't like it.

Meanwhile, the rest of the free software (and open source) communities look on with amazement and sadness. Looks like there's less chance than ever of us settling on common hard-copyleft and soft-copyleft licenses for software we feel should be copylefted. Instead it's more likely that GPLv3 will just add to the mess of licenses that aren't compatible with other licenses.

And if Torvalds had just said from the start, "Hey guys, great idea and everything, but just to let you know, I fucked up with the Linux kernel licensing so it's not going to happen with my project", the project itself may, instead of being compromised by the FSF jumping through hoops to satisfy one egomaniac with no great interest in the free software movement to begin with, be the universal set of licenses we wanted to begin with.

Re:Interesting.. (2, Interesting)

raddan (519638) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529643)

The question is, if the FSF decides to take a hard stance on this and move their entire toolchain, utilities, and apps to the GPLv3, will their developer base follow them? I personally wouldn't see a reason to, and if I had a FSF-owned project, I would most certainly fork it.

Re:Interesting.. (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529305)

Slow news day? :)

Reverse psychology? "Torvalds 'Outraged' With Latest GPLv3" wouldn't be interesting.

Obligatory... (2, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529345)

Slow news day? :)

You must be new here. :P
(Every day is a slow news day to certain /. editors)

Re:Interesting.. (1)

pkcs11 (529230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529633)

Had you read the previous Linus article about having some bad cream cheese on his morning bagel, you would definately be concerned for His happiness.

viral (-1, Troll)

blue.strider (737082) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528047)

I'm not sure I understand how one can change the GPL terms of licensing. Isn't GPL supposed to be viral, i.e. any and all code that touches GPL code will become GPL? This viral process happens regardless of the will of the original author. Unless Linux envisiones a rewrite from scratch, how is this supposed to work?

Re:viral (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528081)

Linus removed the part of the cut 'n' paste GPL copyright declaration that says that later versions may apply. Therefore, only GPL version 2 is applicable to the kernel unless the copyright holders explicity change the licensing.

Re:viral (5, Informative)

rehabdoll (221029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528083)

the gpl is not viral. Also, its just a license. If the copyright holder wants to he can relicense it to whatever he wants.

Re:viral (1)

blue.strider (737082) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528645)

But there is no centralized copyright holder. Linux is the work of a loose knitted world-wide community of contributors. Who is going to get a change approval from every single one of them?

Re:viral (3, Interesting)

dougmc (70836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529051)

Who is going to get a change approval from every single one of them?
It doesn't really matter, because if Linus wanted to, he could start releasing changes to the Linux kernel under GPLv3 (and it specifically said GPLv3) -- so the old code would be under GPLv2 (or really, whatever version of the GPL you preferred, because unless you specifically say what version of the GPL applies, people can pick whichever version of the GPL they want. Read section 9 from the GPL [gnu.org] for more on that) and the new Linus provided code would be GPLv3, with all the baggage that entails.


So, if you were a company that GPLv3 punished, then you'd be punished when dealing with these new kernels, even though most of the kernel didn't have a GPLv3 specific license.

Now, this assumes that Linus wants GPLv3, which so far he does not. If he doesn't want GPLv3, somebody could attempt to sneak in some patches/new code with a GPLv3-only license, and if Linus put them into the kernel, then the kernel would then have the same GPLv3 baggage. But I suspect that Linus would reject any such patches for now, and if one was snuck in, it would probably be removed if found later.

In any event, even if the kernel remains non-GPLv3, we may find some commonly used packages going GPLv3-only -- and I'm thinking of things like gcc, binutils, fileutils, textutils, etc. If this happens (and it sound very likely), then anybody who doesn't want to be restricted by the GPLv3 restrictions will not be able to distribute updated versions of these packages. In the short term, this won't be such a big deal, but in the long term, it certainly will be.

I appreciate what the FSF is trying to do with GPLv3, but I suspect that it's going to cause the `free software movement' a lot of pain, as companies will probably try to move to BSD from Linux (and even then they won't really get away from the GPL, as the BSDs use gcc as their compiler. Perhaps there will be another gcc fork, with the official GPLv3 version and the fork still being GPLv2 or GPLvwhatever?)

Re:viral (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529231)

Nobody, and that's why in all likelihood it will stay v2 unless v3 is very clearly more desirable to kernel folks. Note: not each and every contributor has to approve. If a vast majority is for v3, but a few people have died, don't answer, or have contributed insignificant amounts of code, it is likely that after public announcements are made and some time has passed, the majority can still change to v3 (and possibly rewrite a bit).

Re:viral (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18529177)

the gpl is not viral
the sky is not blue. look, I can make baseless claims too!

Re:viral (3, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528127)

I don't think there's much chance of a Linux license change. Aside from the fact Linus isn't explicitly saying he thinks it's better than GPL2, there is the issue that the Linux kernel has too many copyright holders and no explicit mechanism to move to a new license beyond every single author agreeing.

Some have proposed that perhaps everything written by people who cannot be contacted or who disagree with relicensing could simply be rewritten. I think they underestimate the impracticality of such a feat. You can't easily determine the copyrights of every single piece of code within Linux, and it strikes me that unless almost everyone who is contactable is agreeable to a license change, the amount of code that'll need to be rewritten is huge.

As an aside, I think it's a shame that some of the stuff aiming to make the GPL more compatible with other licenses was struck out, especially the patent retaliation stuff. There was a very real effort to address reasons why others who generally agree with the principles of copyleft had eschewed GPL2, and that effort seems to be falling apart. I'm hoping this doesn't mean that instead of getting a license that almost everyone agrees upon, we end up with yet another incompatible license to add to the maze of incompatible licenses that, today, undermines the freedom of free software.

Mozilla tri-license transition (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528487)

Some have proposed that perhaps everything written by people who cannot be contacted or who disagree with relicensing could simply be rewritten.
That's what happened in the case of Mozilla software. It was originally under Netscape Public License. Under the transition to the current tri-license, the NPL allowed AOL to relicense most of Mozilla as MPL+GPL+LGPL, but I seem to remember that some contributions had to be rewritten.

Re:Mozilla tri-license transition (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528679)

But Mozilla was, what, two years old? And for the most part, almost all the significant developers were Netscape employees.

Linux has got to be about 15 years old, and no one organization holds the copyright on the bulk of the code. It'll take a lot more work to make a relicensing possible.

Re:Mozilla tri-license transition (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529323)

Linux has got to be about 15 years old, and no one organization holds the copyright on the bulk of the code. It'll take a lot more work to make a relicensing possible.
But shouldn't the combined resources of IBM, Intel, and Red Hat make locating contributors more feasible?

Re:viral (4, Insightful)

BlueTrin (683373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528265)

Commercial licenses are also viral, most of licenses do NOT allow you to redistribute/resell products using their tools/librairies, unless you pay an extravagant fee.

People who try to scare you when saying that the GPL is viral are the same ones who put patents over their code and resell you their tools for a fee.

Re:viral (2, Informative)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528627)

"Commercial licenses are also viral, most of licenses do NOT allow you to redistribute/resell products using their tools/librairies, unless you pay an extravagant fee."

And this is viral how? Whether you believe the GPL is viral or not, the fundemental difference is that commerical licenses don't require you to distribute your indepedently written source code even if it's based on their libraries. As far as fees are concerned, many allow you to use their libraries simply because you paid for the tool with no per machine license.

Re:viral (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528785)

and resell you their tools for a fee.

GASP! What a bunch of bloody bastards! Imagine that - people wanting to earn money writing software!

Re:viral (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18529211)

Exactly ! :)

Joke aside I just wanted to say that open source licenses are not that viral as commercial companies are trying to make you believe ...
The only thing that was a problem is the obligation to release source code, which is probably why, like most of the people, I would opt for a BSD license over a GPL ...

So who is more powerful? (-1, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528055)

Stallman the ivory tower idealist, or Torvalds, the real-world genius?

If Stallman falls in the woods, does Torvalds care?

Re:So who is more powerful? (4, Funny)

melikamp (631205) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528329)

Stallman, obviously, is a half-Human cleric of Lathander and a Divination wizard, while Linus is a pure Gnome Enchanter wizard and has some powerful equipment.

Sure, Linus has more powerful spells, being a pure class, but, IMHO, Stallman is more powerful because he usually carries the initiative and can cast Silence, which really screws up other casting types.

Re:So who is more powerful? (4, Funny)

evil_Tak (964978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528625)

I suspect Linus might object to his characterization as a Gnome...is there a race that clearly correlates with KDE?

Re:So who is more powerful? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528857)

is there a race that clearly correlates with KDE?
Soon. Wait for the release of KKKde. It will come loaded with a White-colored theme.

Re:So who is more powerful? (1)

GuidoW (844172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529253)

is there a race that clearly correlates with KDE?
Dragons, maybe? They used to have a dragon as their project mascot.

Both and neither (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528335)

Hurd has gone nowhere because imho, it lacks a central genius like Linus. BSD gets 1/10 the development effort of Linux (if that). Many developers are willing to work with a BSD license but most aren't. Most people aren't willing to publish their hard work just so some big company can sell it back to them. Without the GPL, Linux would be a poor second cousin to BSD but neither would be as widespread as Linux has become. Both the GPL (Stallman's creation) and Linus were necessary conditions for the success of Linux.

Actually, I would add another real-world genius: Eban Moglen, the Columbia University law professor who is the legal brains behind the GPL.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eben_Moglen [wikipedia.org]

Re:Both and neither (3, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528951)

Most people aren't willing to publish their hard work just so some big company can sell it back to them.
Then again, big companies are more willing to pay developers to work hard on a project that they own outright and to which they can sell exclusive rights. I've worked at one of them, and they paid people to work on FreeBSD. It's not such a bad deal.

The only projects I've ever released under a GPL license are projects that I inherited under a GPL license. I'm reluctant to "give away" my code under a license that takes away (or at least reserves for me) rights from other people that may want to use it -- I'd like to really give it away, no strings attached, or to actually sell it. The GPL's it's-yours-but-you-can-only-like-I-say seems a lot like giving a "gift" to someone that you really bought for yourself.

I think I understand the motivation behind the GPL (but I could be wrong), and I'm not angry that other people use it, but to me it seems like a distasteful compromise between giving and keeping, and that sort of license holds no interest for me at all.

Re:Both and neither (2, Funny)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529125)

seems a lot like giving a "gift" to someone that you really bought for yourself.
Honey, for your birthday your getting a boob job...

Re:Both and neither (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528967)

Hurd has gone nowhere because imho, it lacks a central genius like Linus.
Hurd has gone nowhere because it's a dead end. We've got our free *nix kernel, thanks for playing.

BSD gets 1/10 the development effort of Linux (if that). Many developers are willing to work with a BSD license but most aren't. Most people aren't willing to publish their hard work just so some big company can sell it back to them.

Oddly enough, with that 1/10 split across five major development projects, the BSD kernels largely hold their own against Linux, and the userland tools are IMO nicer, less bloated and better documented. The real reason for the lack of BSD marketshare is the AT&T lawsuit. By the time it was settled in 1994, Red Hat and Caldera were both selling commercial products and there were a number of 'hobbyist' distros.

Re:Both and neither (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529351)

We've got our free *nix kernel

I don't want to start a discussion about whether HURD is a good idea or not, but it is certainly not a Unix kernel. Unix is just a possible personality.

Move over? (2, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528103)

Nobody's requested transfer of copyright to any code in the kernel. For the kernel, in practical terms it has never mattered what Torvalds' thoughts on the GPL is, since they'd need individual permission from every contributor to do so (or rewrite the parts that get no permission or where the contributor or their estate recipients can no longer be found). It'd be the mess of mozilla licensing all over again, but even worse.

Re:Move over? (1)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528195)

Bullshit. It's a GOOD thing that the whole Open Source community agrees in the GPLv3. Remember that the GPLv3 will automatically relicense most of the GPLv2 software out there (IMO, the FSF shouldn't have made the GPLv3 an update, but a completely different license that people can choose to use) and that there was rumours that people could fork important projects like libc or GCC due to GPLv2 vs v3 issues.

Re:Move over? (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528321)

I have no comment one way or the other on the advantages of v3 over v2 (and how could I before v3 is even published?). But most of the kernel is explicitly GPLv2 only, not the usual "GPL version 2 or later" and is thus not automatically relicenced.

Re:Move over? (4, Informative)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528209)

Parts of the kernel are licensed "GPL version 2 or later" (which can roll over automatically), and a lot of the lines of code are owned by a few large companies [infoworld.com] . So you can get a large percentage of the code just by getting Red Hat, IBM, Intel, Novell, etc. on board. That's not all the code, but it would represent a substantial amount of the code without having to go "door to door" with the contributors.

Re:Move over? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528583)

Novell on board? Do you think they are going to jump at the chance to hang themselves (again)?

Surely? (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528879)

Surely if *any* fraction of the kernel code is licensed under the GPLv3, this would prevent a manufacturer building the kernel into a device which they do not permit users to modify. The device would include a mixture of GPLv2 and GPLv3-licensed code, so they'd be legally obliged to conform to the terms of both licences and allow users to hack. Obviously, if only a few kernel components were under the GPLv3, they could build around them, but if this were 10%, they'd be forced to use older kernel releases. If the device demanded a new component that is only found in a part GPLv3 kernel, say virtualisation, the manufacturer would have to conform.

Re:Surely? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529061)

The kernel is currently distributed under GPL v2. Some terms allow for it to be "v2 or later", meaning someone can use the code in a GPLv3 kernel. Software companies could also go to dual-licensing and offer it under v2 or v3. Then you could use that code in either a GPLv2 kernel or a GPLv3 kernel. You can't have a part-v3, part-v2 kernel because of license incompatibilities. Thus a kernel would be offered as either pure v2 or pure v3.

Re:Surely? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529765)

Surely if *any* fraction of the kernel code is licensed under the GPLv3, this would prevent a manufacturer building the kernel into a device which they do not permit users to modify. The device would include a mixture of GPLv2 and GPLv3-licensed code (...)

If it is *exclusively* licensed under GPLv3 (well, or higher) then yes. If all the current kernel code said "GPLv2 and higher", they could do that. However, since a lot of code is licensed under GPLv2 only, the GPLv3 code is incompatible with the GPLv2's license requirements. Thus it's not possible to insert any fraction of GPLv3 code in the current kernel.

Re:Move over? (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528923)

Parts of the kernel are licensed "GPL version 2 or later" (which can roll over automatically)...

The "or later" part is an option for those using the code, not the authors. If it's v2 or later, you, as a user, have the option to use v2 or v3 at your discretion. If it were changed to v3, then you no longer have the option to use v2. Hence, code that's "v2 or later" doesn't automatically become v3 and the authors can't just change it to v3 without every contributors' permission.

Re:Move over? (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529097)

Code licensed "version 2 or later" can be moved effortlessly into a GPLv3 kernel. It would still allow for people to use it in a v2 kernel, but it would at least be includable in a GPLv3 kernel, which is what I mean by "can roll over automatically" into a GPLv3-based kernel.

Re:Move over? (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529201)

Code licensed "version 2 or later" can be moved effortlessly into a GPLv3 kernel.

So long as either the files or portions of code that were originally marked as being "under v2 or later" are still so marked, then yes you can include them in code that contains files or portions under v3; but the "v2 or later" parts stay "v2 or later": they don't automatically become v3.

GPL v3 is Novell-cide (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529123)

Imagine this scenario:
Everybody but Novell gives the go-ahead for GPL v3 in the Linux kernel:
-Novell says no: They have to re-write/back port everything new in the Kernel for SUSE
-Novell says yes: Novell must reneg on the "Deal with the Devil" and get sued by MS
      or
-Novell says yes: Novell get sued by the FSF for not reneging on the "Deal with the Devil".

Either way it's loose, loose, loose for Novell.

Re:GPL v3 is Novell-cide (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529319)

There are scenarios under which Novell could get an arrangement in the GPLv3 prohibiting new deals but not blocking existing deals. This would make Novell the only company able to have such an MS deal.

Glad and relieved (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528157)

I'm glad with this latest outcome. Arguably, GPLv3 shouldn't be about pleasing Linus, but his change of stance (Hell no! --> I'm skeptical) is a welcome relief.

Interested, to see Sun's reaction (I remember a Slashdot article about the next Solaris/openSolaris being GPLv3).

Re:Glad and relieved (2, Informative)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528211)

He is a demigod in the community... If he doesn't like GPLv3 at all, and has a good reason, it is going to be a hard sell.

Misleading summary? (4, Informative)

penp (1072374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528177)

If you actually read the article, he specifies:

"Whether it's actually a better license than the GPLv2, I'm still a bit skeptical, but at least it's now 'I'm skeptical' rather than 'Hell no!'"
I just think the summary of this article is a bit misleading. It makes it sound like he's completely for switching to the GPLv3, when after reading the article I found he's still a bit skeptical.

Torvalds was noncommittal about whether he might try to move the Linux kernel to GPL 3--a change that would require the permission not just of Torvalds but also of all other Linux kernel copyright holders. But he didn't rule it out. "The current draft makes me think it's at least a possibility in theory, but whether it's practical and worth it is a totally different thing," he said. "Practically speaking, it would involve a lot of work to make sure everything relevant is GPLv3-compatible even if we decided that the GPL 3 is OK."

Re:Misleading summary? (4, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529009)

How is it misleading? The summary says "But with the latest revisions, Linus will entertain moving the kernel over to the GPL v3" - which means pretty much what the quote of Linus you gave says, "The current draft makes me think it's at least a possibility in theory, but whether it's practical and worth it is a totally different thing."

How are these significantly different?

They have no idea.. (4, Funny)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528191)

on how to get a Finn to see your point in negotiations. It's easy:

1. Invite the Finn to a sauna that's been heated to a 120C

2. Help him down a case of beer and 2 litres of vodka while enjoying the sauna for 4-5 hours

If you are still able to make your case after this, you will find the Finn much more appreciative of your point of view.

Re:They have no idea.. (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528353)

If the sauna temp is 120C, he won't be making much of a counterargument after being boiled alive for 4-5 hours.

Re:They have no idea.. (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528475)

I used to use a sauna on a regular basis that had a temperature of ~250F, at least up near the ceiling where the thermometer was. Since the locker room it was in was uninsulated and frequently had windows left open, I could get >200-degree temperature swings in the winter coming out of it.

Re:They have no idea.. (1)

snoyberg (787126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529661)

I used to use a sauna on a regular basis that had a temperature of ~250F, at least up near the ceiling where the thermometer was. Since the locker room it was in was uninsulated and frequently had windows left open, I could get >200-degree temperature swings in the winter coming out of it.

Sounds like the making of a Darwin Award to me...

Re:They have no idea.. (1)

dgr73 (1055610) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528739)

The use of sauna is in cycles of heating up and cooling down. 4-5 hours is no problem, especially if you have plenty of cold beer available.

Re:They have no idea.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528933)

Why would he be boiled?

You're probably thinking of the boiling point of water, but since you're not sitting in a tub of water there's no problem.

Actually I'm a bit chocked that someone would belive what you claimed, but I guess that explains why non-finns are afraid of heating up the saunas properly.

who cares? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528231)

linus is just another retard anyway. who cares what he thinks of anything?

Most interesting scenario is Linux + Solaris (4, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528253)

While Linus Torvalds is not the sole copyright holder of the Linux kernel, it cannot be denied that an "official" project to shift the kernel from GPLv2 to GPLv3 would open up some interesting possibilities.

One immediate question I would have is whether he would leave in the "or any later version" clause this time or remove it again. If he does that we might have to go through this whole mess again in another 15 years, but maybe that's the idea.

Linux as GPL3 only becomes of true importance if OpenSolaris also becomes GPL3. If that is the case, there could be an immediate and dramatic improvement seen in both projects as the code starts to flow both ways. OpenSolaris could start to take advantage of the driver code in Linux (or at least, use it to make the code Solaris would need) and Linux could start working on goodies like Dtrace support. Mutually beneficial, and everyone wins.

Of course, there is no reason beyond speculation to think Solaris will use GPL3. The situation is potentially very exciting, but it would require both Solaris and Linux to move from their current license and neither decision will be made lightly.

Fingers crossed...

Re:Most interesting scenario is Linux + Solaris (4, Interesting)

russotto (537200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528355)

One immediate question I would have is whether he would leave in the "or any later version" clause this time or remove it again. If he does that we might have to go through this whole mess again in another 15 years, but maybe that's the idea.
IMO, it doesn't make sense to leave in the "or any later version" clause unless you either ARE the FSF, or you trust the FSF completely. Linus clearly doesn't fit either of those two criteria.

"or any later version" insanity (2, Insightful)

ville (29367) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528665)

I've always wondered that who as a non-FSF entity would leave in the "or any later version" clause. That's just insane and I don't understand why a "good" organization like FSF, which also probably tries to educate people, even has such a potentially dangerous clause in their license.


Maybe the clause is just that, a clever scheme to teach people to read carefully. I was once in a situation where an employment contract had a "or any later version" clause. The contract was contested and found to be in fact illegal in Finland. I realize contract and copyright law are different, just an example that read before you agree to anything.

// ville

Re:Most interesting scenario is Linux + Solaris (4, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528699)

You don't have to trust the FSF completely, since even if they release a truly terrible new version of the GPL, the older ones can still be used. About the 'worst' thing the FSF could do would be to say that GPLv4 will be a permissive licence allowing anything.

Unless you have strong feelings that the current version of the GPL is the only right one, it's an easier life for everyone to leave in the 'or any later version' language. I don't agree with everything the FSF does, and in particular I think that trying to retrospectively punish Novell for their patent deal with Microsoft is a bad idea, but in the wider interests of free software we should try to keep in step with the FSF and not have a proliferation of different GPL versions making code sharing awkward.

Re:Most interesting scenario is Linux + Solaris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528937)

Yay! Two opportunities to post my anti-"or later" rant in two days! Okay, so here goes:
Assume that I have made code available under the GPLv2, foolishly copy/pasted from the GNU template, with the "v2 or later" clause.
Further assume that I, for whatever reason, am opposed to the new GPLv3, and I refuse to put any of my software under it.
Now users can take my code, modify it, and redistribute it under the GPLv3. Since the GPLv3 is incompatible with the v2, I can't use the code they release, unless I too switch to GPLv3. In effect, the code is just as useless to me as it would be if it had been covered by patents, or even if they had released binary-only.
So the GPLv3 is in its nature viral, spreading and infecting GPLv2 licensed code, forcing us GPLv2 developers to either adapt it ourselves, or lose the benefits that the licence was supposed to offer, the ability to see and use the source for improvements that other people released.
So if I want my source to be open, and not at the mercy of present and future whims of the FSF, I'll use the v2, without the "or later" clause.
(Or more commonly, I'll just use the MIT license. It's shorter and more permissive.)

Re:Most interesting scenario is Linux + Solaris (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529187)

(Or more commonly, I'll just use the MIT license. It's shorter and more permissive.)

But then some third party could take your code, reuse it, and release their modifications with the GPL3, which means you can't use their code unless you switch to GPL3. Oh look, it's the same "problem" as before.

(Not saying that it IS a problem, but be consistent... ;-))

Re:Most interesting scenario is Linux + Solaris (1)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529261)

Now with this draft you can designate a proxy who can upgrade the license with a public statement. So contributors could say "GPLv3 or later versions approved by Linus". No wonder he likes this version.

License upgrades by proxy (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528587)

One immediate question I would have is whether he would leave in the "or any later version" clause this time or remove it again.
The annotated diff between GPLv3 draft 1 and GPLv3 draft 2 [fsf.org] , page 59, section 14, footnote 103, suggests a new method to handle this: "or any later version approved by Linus Torvalds".

Re:License upgrades by proxy (1)

crt (44106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528901)

This is modded funny, but is actually true - there is a new method for assigning a proxy to decide at a later date if the code should be licensed under a later GPL version.

About time! (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528295)

I still don't feel that Linus "gets it" about GPLv3. I'm still not entirely sure about GPLv3 myself, and I should probably go back and read a draft.

But, at least now it's obvious he's reading and comprehending. He may still disagree with it, and I disagree with him, but it looks like they're talking now.

Which is more than I can say about the last round of flamewars... Last time, he honestly sounded like a Slashdotter who hadn't bothered to RTFA, just repeating the same unfounded arguments, some of which were blatantly wrong to anyone who actually read the license...

Re:About time! (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529659)

I'm still not entirely sure about GPLv3 myself, and I should probably go back and read a draft.

Last time, he honestly sounded like a Slashdotter who hadn't bothered to RTFA, just repeating the same unfounded arguments, some of which were blatantly wrong to anyone who actually read the license.

How do you know they were "blatantly wrong" if you haven't read it?

In any case, his DRM fears were most certainly reasonable given the early drafts. If you didn't bother to even read the summary, the FSF changed the GPL to improve those parts. I haven't read the the new draft, but I would hope that it was improved.

"Pretty Pleased", but... (5, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528303)

Torvalds may be "Pretty Pleased" with the current draft, but I won't be satisfied with it until Torvalds is "Pretty Pleased with a Cherry On Top."

- RG>

And... (4, Insightful)

bnavarro (172692) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528317)

Watch how fast Sun becomes "displeased" with the latest GPL3 draft, and considers not open-sourcing Solaris under the GPL3 license.

Seriously, this is not a troll. I am convinced that the only reason Sun was considering this is because the Linux project was not. There is no chance in hell they want to see any of their kernel code end up inside the Linux kernel.

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528515)

Don't be soft. Sun's proposal was to dual license Solaris under CDDL/GPL3, anybody would be free to fork the GPL3 code. That doesn't change because Linus decides the years of effort getting signoffs to relicense Linux under GPL3 is worth it. How long did the Mozilla relicensing take, does anyone remember the "Have you seen this hacker" page?

Re:And... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18528621)

Who the hell would want Slow-aris kernel code in the Linux kernel?

Re:And... (1)

evil_Tak (964978) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528707)

Anybody who might like to use ZFS?

The anti-tivo clause looks pretty useless to me (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528409)

And whats to stop anyone from just forkign the kernel, and whatever they want, and keeping it on the v2 license?

What are the odds that Linus and crew get "locked out", if such a fork took place? I'm thinking along the lines of X.org replacing XFree86.

Re:The anti-tivo clause looks pretty useless to me (3, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528555)

What's to persuade anyone to use J. Random Forkoff's kernel, rather than the Linus kernel? FOSS is littered with the corpses of dead forks.

Re:The anti-tivo clause looks pretty useless to me (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528643)

Maybe because IBM, Novell, and other big boys decide they don't like GPLv3, so they abandon it.

Why did X.org kill the original project? All the big guys left. They didn't like the license.

I could envision Linus sitting around twiddling his thumbs waiting for patches to rubber stamp, while cobwebs grow on his inbox.

Re:The anti-tivo clause looks pretty useless to me (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528629)

### And whats to stop anyone from just forkign the kernel, and whatever they want, and keeping it on the v2 license?

Nothing, but in five or ten years that kernel would have little or no use beside some historic value if the kernel goes GPLv3.

But is he "pretty pleased with sugar on top"? (1, Redundant)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528437)

That's the real question.

this just means he's not puking on it (2, Informative)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18528847)

The lede and the story don't have quite the same spin. If you read the story it's clear that Linus is pretty pleased that they've gotten rid of the worst aspects in the previous draft. He's no longer puking all over this draft but he's by no means ready to switch.

Great News (1)

Outland Traveller (12138) | more than 7 years ago | (#18529115)

I am very glad to see this positive step. When RMS and Linus are aligned, great things happen.

Great News but irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18529581)

Who cares? Figureheads make niceypoo, blah, blah, blah.

The linux kernal is going whereever patentholder IBM wants it to go.

http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/07-028.pdf [hbs.edu]
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?