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Will GPLv3 Drive Users from Linux to FreeBSD?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the sad-penguin dept.

BSD 374

An anonymous reader writes "Last week ZDNet put up an article asking a simple question: will GPL3 drive Linux users to FreeBSD? It's based on issues raised in the August FreeBSD Foundation Newsletter. That publication features a letter by the vice president of the FreeBSD Foundation, Justin Gibbs, arguing that the GPLv3 restricts the rights of commercial users of open source software, and is just the FSF's first step in changing the GPL in ways that authors of GPL software may not have intended. He suggests that commercial users should seriously consider BSD-licensed software as an alternative if they want to be able to safely ship products in the future. This is especially in light of requirements from the FCC that software running on devices (such as software-defined radios) be end-user replaceable. Gibbs states that the FreeBSD Foundation will provide an alternative to GPLv3'd software, especially in light of Stallman's statement that further GPL revisions are due in the near future. Is this likely to cause discontent among Linux users, or will they mostly ignore it?"

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GPLv3 software? (0)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553125)

What Linux software is currently used that would be licensed for the purposes mentioned in the article which would go under the GPLv3? I can't think of any.

Re:GPLv3 software? (4, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553323)

What Linux software is currently used that would be licensed for the purposes mentioned in the article which would go under the GPLv3? I can't think of any.
Wow, you must have thought about for a long time. The whole reason for the GPL3 is to stop companies like TiVO. Some people object to TiVO being able to base a product on Linux but then not let the Linux community pull it apart and play with it.

GPLv3 Hardware? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553455)

"Wow, you must have thought about for a long time. The whole reason for the GPL3 is to stop companies like TiVO. "

Wow! Someone must have forgotten about the Google clause, which was latter taken out when it's downsides were pointed out. Today it's Google and Tivo. Who next, and doesn't your argument just reinforce what the newsletter's saying?

"Some people object to TiVO being able to base a product on Linux but then not let the Linux community pull it apart and play with it."

No, they objected to the fact that they couldn't run their mods on Tivo hardware. The source code has always been available. The GPL moved from being a software license to a hardware license.

Re:GPLv3 software? (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553541)

The whole reason for the GPL3 is to stop companies like TiVO. Some people object to TiVO being able to base a product on Linux but then not let the Linux community pull it apart and play with it.

Oddly enough though, they GPL v3 may not stop TiVO. The GPL doesn't say anything about hypervisors, so its quite possible for TiVO to run their UI in a virtualized environment, with the hypervisor monitoring the application and locking out the user if any modifications are made.

Re:GPLv3 software? (4, Informative)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553577)

Wow, you must have thought about for a long time. The whole reason for the GPL3 is to stop companies like TiVO. Some people object to TiVO being able to base a product on Linux but then not let the Linux community pull it apart and play with it.
Linus has no intention of licensing the kernel under GPLv3. TiVO doesn't have a problem.

I am interested in finding out software that is used for such purposes which will be licensed under the new GPLv3 and which companies are effected.

I am looking forward to your reply.

Re:GPLv3 software? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553591)

Wow, you must have thought about for a long time. The whole reason for the GPL3 is to stop companies like TiVO. Some people object to TiVO being able to base a product on Linux but then not let the Linux community pull it apart and play with it.


Yes, but so what? Linux doesn't use the GPLv3 now, and there is really no concrete threat of the kind articulated here by the GPLv3 anyhow. The main threat is future changes to the GPL, buts its shear FUD to think that anyone using the GPL -- v2 or v3 -- now is at risk of not being able to distribute software because of future GPL changes. At worst, if they use "or any later version", other people might distribute their software under terms they didn't anticipate, but that doesn't restrict the original distributors ability to distribute software.

However, if the FSF is serious about "anti-TiVoization" the GPLv4 is going to be a radical change and have to be an intrusive, use-affecting license contract, since its possible to build a TiVo-like locked-down product that uses GPL software without ever becoming bound by the GPL: you just enter into an exclusive contract with the actual provider of the GPL-covered software who provides it to you on a component that is not inherently locked down, incorporate it into your device that simply verifies the appropriate signatures, etc., to assure that it is the right software, and sell the device. Since you are neither making copies and distributing them or making derivative works, you don't need the GPL to distribute: you are just exercising your right to dispose of your own physical copy under the doctrine of first sale. A pure copyright license that doesn't affect use rights can't prevent this, you need a contract that regulates use.

OTOH, the FSF recognized that business users might actually want locked-down products, so its not really clear what the future direction is. Maybe they'll realize that the same considerations that lead business to want that actually may apply to consumer uses, too,

Re:GPLv3 software? (2, Informative)

mrball_cb (463566) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554203)

The whole reason for the GPL3 is to stop companies like TiVO. Some people object to TiVO being able to base a product on Linux but then not let the Linux community pull it apart and play with it.
The source code for the Tivo IS freely available. The hardware does a check for validity of the kernel and refuses to run it if it doesn't match expected values, but that's hardware. That hardware is not and never has been covered by the GPL. The GPLv3 is an attempt by RMS to expand the scope of control and legislate hardware interaction with the software. I can see that the reason they need a new GPL is because this is contradictory to what the GPLv2 stood for and stood against. So where does it stop? Your refrigerator will be turned off because you use a brand of orange juice that RMS is against?

Re:GPLv3 software? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554443)

One word: Samba

That is probably the largest project already under the GPLv3.

The Linux kernel will stay GPL v2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553129)

The Linux kernel contains code from too many authors to change the license. The license which is applied to the current code does not include the license auto-upgrade clause, so anyone who wants to distribute the kernel under GPL v3 would have to ask all authors to relicense their code or remove/replace the code.

Re:The Linux kernel will stay GPL v2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554437)

OK.

Um (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553137)

So I take it there's a BSD licensed fork of Samba out there, right?

Re:Um (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553173)

No, but there's a GPLv2 one...

Re:Um (3, Insightful)

luciofm (844395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553329)

And whats the point to move to BSD if there are a GPLv2 Version?

Re:Um (4, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553863)

Yeah, I always find this debate pointless on its face. BSD uses huge amounts of GPL-licensed software, so there's no substantial difference. In fact, BSD will be using GPLv3-licensed software, unless they intend on taking over their own fork of GCC (a monumental task which would substantially harm their ability to support BSD itself).

I also suspect that you'll see a fair amount of Gnome and KDE packages (though I don't know about the core of those two projects, and how they'll proceed) use the GPLv3.

Linux and BSD OSes will continue to use much of each other's code, and things like the file utilities will become less and less important. Eventually, I expect that you'll find Linux and BSD essentially differing on nothing more than how their distributions are structured and their kernels. The idea that their different licenses have a substantial impact on the end-user OS is rather myopic at best.

Re:Um (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554247)

Eventually, I expect that you'll find Linux and BSD essentially differing on nothing more than how their distributions are structured and their kernels.

BSD's don't have 'distributions'.

The OS (the kernel and the userland utilities) are written by the same folks. They don't slap together bits and pieces from all over the place like Linux. That gives them a much more consistent feel.

The BSDs do use a good number GNU utils, but they are working to write BSD versions of everything. It's a large task so it will take quite a while, but the work IS being done.

Linux != GPLv3 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553149)

Seeing how Linus doesn't plan to us GPLv3 for Linux, but rather stay with GPLv2, I'd have to say no.

Re:Linux != GPLv3 (5, Insightful)

NReitzel (77941) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553341)

It's kind of amusing to look at the history of FOSS, and a recurring theme has been that developers think that just because they have developed a complex piece of software over a long period of time (gcc comes to mind) that it's not open to being reimplimented in the future. If GPL3 becomes a thorn in would-be commercial users, there will be money available to replace it with something that's not so obnoxious.

In 1977, we (SWTPc) reimplimented libc for exactly that reason: Western Electric licensing provisions were obnoxious and restrictive. This is the very same reason that RMS and others undertook to reimpliment the Unix toolkit. It's not magic; it's just code, and like employees, there is no piece of code that can't be replaced.

This could be a good thing. (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553155)

More users and more developers would be a good thing.

But please, leave the attitude that i see too often in the linux world community. We don't need it on this side of the street.

( attitude is one reason i left the linux camp long ago. And i was there in the very beginning.)

Re:This could be a good thing. (1, Flamebait)

vindex (777582) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553223)

You mean you needed more elitism? Phew. I almost abandoned FreeBSD for that reason years ago, and I still am afraid to return to some BSD forums, where Linux users are treated as fanboys. No such thing on Linux forums (yet).

Re:This could be a good thing. (3, Interesting)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553285)

Where are these elitist forums? I was accepted at many with open arms and, in retrospect, treated respectfully in light of really dumb questions while learning.

You mean you needed more elitism? Phew. I almost abandoned FreeBSD for that reason years ago, and I still am afraid to return to some BSD forums, where Linux users are treated as fanboys. No such thing on Linux forums (yet).

Re:This could be a good thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554095)

Consider yourself the exception to the rule. My experience with the BSD community left much to be desired. I almost got myself blocked from a forum for asking what one moderator thought was a "dumb question." There were way too many obstacles to participation, and the preponderance of RTFM responses was hardly inviting.

CAPTCHA for this message is "disdain". Enough said.

Re:This could be a good thing. (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554253)

Same here. I never had a found the BSD communities anything other than helpful (although FreeBSD is the least helpful of the four I've come into contact with). There is much less of the 'everything else sucks' attitude than I find from Linux people; if FreeBSD isn't the right tool for the job, FreeBSD people will often recommend OpenBSD, Solaris, or whatever. If Linux isn't the right tool for the job, Linux people tend to just shout that it is very loudly.

If anything's going to drive people away from Linux to FreeBSD, it's things like changing the VM subsystem or scheduler in the middle of a 'stable' series. I've been running FreeBSD 7-CURRENT (the unstable branch) on my ThinkPad for the last few months, and I've had far fewer problems with it than trying to run even a stable release of Linux.

Re:This could be a good thing. (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554375)

so if someone wanted to start digging into BSD, which one would you recommend?

I've been using Linux for 8 years off and on and use it daily at work, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable although no superuser.

As a Linux user . . . (4, Funny)

div_2n (525075) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553175)

No. That was easy. Next troll post please dear editors.

Re:As a Linux user . . . (1)

nadamsieee (708934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553569)

Zonk's trolling and flame baiting is almost as bad as John C. Dvorak [youtube.com] .

Re:As a Linux user . . . (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553839)

How useless of a comment.
The answer is in some cases yes. I think you will see BSD used in more Embedded systems now. After RMS went after Tivo other manufactures will be less willing to risk the wraith of RMS.
I really hate how GPL forces only some equipment manufactures to allow the end user replacement of software. It should be all or nothing.

so to sumarize.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553177)

Vice president of FreeBSD says FreeBSD is superior?

well i would never have guessed he thought that way

I can answer that... (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553179)

Let me be the one to answer that.... "NO".. It wont... :-)

Smells like FUD. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553195)

So the FreeBSD folks want more attention, and they've decided to FUD the GPL to get it?

How is GPLv3 suppposed to prevent software from being end-user replaceable? If anything, TiVo showed that GPLv2 didn't even do that, and BSD licenses won't even try to stop TiVo-like antics.

Besides, Linux is staying with GPLv2, so nothing changed anyway. Nothing to see, please move along.

Re:Smells like FUD. (4, Insightful)

glop (181086) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553895)

I believe the description is a bit wrong. The FCC probably mandates that it be impossible for the end-user to change the application. This is meant to avoid people changing the software to use spectrum that they are not supposed too. Example : a WIFI transmitter might be able to transmit at 2.5GHz, outside of the WIFI band. The only thing that prevents that might be a software check. So if you can update the software, you can do something that the FCC does not allow you to.

So they are arguing that it might be impossible to legally make a software radio with GPL V3 software (unless you enforce the mandatory checks at a hardware level so that the modified software is safe from an FCC perspective).

Re:Smells like FUD. (1)

Some Pig! (103985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553907)

So the FreeBSD folks want more attention, and they've decided to FUD the GPL to get it?

No, I believe it is ZDNet that wants more attention. As other readers have documented, there has been a flood of such "news" items on Slashdot recently, that amount to little more than ads for various such sites.

Not a chance. (4, Interesting)

Miltazar (1100457) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553201)

GPLv3 may have some contraversy around it, but some of those reasons stated seem like FUD to me. For instance, they mention that software is required by the FCC to be end-user replaceable in devices such as software driven radios. Last I checked one of the main purposes of GPLv3 was to allow end-user replacement of software. Isn't that why they changed parts of it, so that no tivoization happens again? That alone makes me want to ignore the rest of their reasons. If they can't get that simple part correct, most likely everything else is a load of bull.

GPL v2 is still viable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553423)

If one uses a BSD license for SDR firmware, there isn't anything preventing someone from making small improvements to the source and locking it up from you for their companies devices.

If you or your company really prefers not to have the protections the GPL v3 provides, consider using GPL v2. While it doesn't provide the greater level of protection for the end-users rights, it at least ensures that you can get at any bug fixes / improvements to the software you wrote for any SDRs you can buy that use your software.

I Doubt It... (3, Insightful)

Necrotica (241109) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553205)

Most users don't care about the license. Users give far more weight to driver support and performance than licensing details.

Re:I Doubt It... (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553319)

Most users don't care about the license.


This is true... but MOST Slashdot readers like me are GPL monkeys who throw feces at all non-gpl software.

SO this is a great topic to flame on.... :-)

Re:I Doubt It... (2, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553415)

Exactly. I use open source programs all day and have no clue the exact license, just that they are open source. Only zealots and those redistributing care about the nitty gritty of open source licenses. For me, all I care is that it's open source (within reason).

Re:I Doubt It... (1)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554109)

Heh. Well as a user, all I care about is that I can use the program for free (as in beer). Who cares whether it's even open source or not?

Re:I Doubt It... (1)

mseidl (828824) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553449)

I bet they do. 2008 is the year of the FreeBSD desktop!

Re:I Doubt It... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553655)

Driver support and performance? I couldn't give a damn about that, as long as I've got a working You've Got Pictures screensaver.

Microsoft screws people and they beg for more (4, Insightful)

OwlWhacker (758974) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553927)

Even after all these years people eagerly line up to get screwed by Microsoft, so it's highly unlikely that something as tame as GPL v 3 is going to bring about a mass exodus from Linux.

BSD is still alive? (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553221)

I don't know that people would switch to BSD because of a licensing issue. Most people use Linux as a client and probably don't care about the licenses. I don't see how BSD can keep up with the torrent of drivers coming out for Linux at this point. Sure, if there was a BSD that recognized my graphics card, sound card, and all my other goodies, I'd be up for it, but I'd hate to have to go back in time again just because of a licensing consideration. And then, what compiler would I use? Gee, GNU!!!!

Re:BSD is still alive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554383)

The BSDs are generally more interested in getting totally open hardware specs so they can write and maintain the drivers themselves, rather than depending on binary blobs that Linux users seem to love so. That way there are no nasty buffer overflows or other nastiness coming out of those closed source blobs. There have been a number of prominent cases of that happening recently if you've been paying attention. I'll trade getting the latest wiz-bang gadgets for stability and security.

Re:BSD is still alive? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554405)

Sure, if there was a BSD that recognized my graphics card, sound card, and all my other goodies,

Graphics card? FreeBSD has support for DRI, so works nicely with Intel and older ATi cards. It's also supported by the nVidia blob drivers.

Sound card? Never had a problem with sound support on FreeBSD. It was supporting multi-channel output with software mixing years before Linux. I was playing BZFlag with xmms playing in the background and IM and mail clients giving me notifications when messages were received back in 2003. This was with a sound card that didn't do hardware mixing. At the time, Linux only allowed a single program to have the sound device open at once, requiring ugly work-arounds like GNOME and KDE sound daemons (and good luck getting programs that use one playing sound at the same time as programs playing using the other). With the latest versions, you have volume controls per virtual channel.

Other goodies? Not sure what you mean here, but OpenBSD tends to have better WiFi support than Linux, and FreeBSD tends to get drivers ported pretty quickly. How about a decent scheduler? On SMP systems, the new Linux scheduler has similar performance characteristics to the old 4BSD scheduler which is being retired in favour of the newer ULE scheduler in FreeBSD, which has much better scalability.

No. (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553241)

Hah, why would it?

calling them "users" confuses the issue (2, Insightful)

Al Al Cool J (234559) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553261)

s/users/distributors/g

Some of them will reconsider (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553263)

As professional developer with product release looming early next year, we are seriously considering alternatives to Linux. Our system includes hardware, and custom software currently runs well on Linux, Solaris and most likely any unix-based systems. We dont ship modified binaries of any open source software, though we happily release fixes and patches to few projects.

So with additional liabilities in new GPLv3, why on earth should we continue to use Linux / GPLv3? Performance is good enough on all platforms, so there really is no reason to go with linux.

no. (2, Funny)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553269)

Will douchebags everywhere create apparent conflicts where there aren't any?

Steve Jobs ghost wrote this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553275)

He wants to rebuilt Mac using Linux instead of that junk FreeBSD.

NO! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553299)

I like GPLv3. The thing that may drive me to FreeBSD is crap like Mono and AppArmor shipping by default with linux distros. I've long had a preference for BSD style inits.
 

Re:NO! (1)

Obsidian Butterfly (1133957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554197)

I'd consider switching if their package management wasn't so immoderately deficient (IOW it sucks whale dick through a garden hose).

Let me see if I have this straight... you don't upgrade packages, you manually remove them, then manually install the newer version. Sheesh.

Spoiled, whiny APT user

Re:NO! (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554423)

Actually, crap like Mono and AppArmor should just push you to use non-f'ed-up distros, and Slaskware uses BSD-style inits. BTW, I can't think of why BSD-style inits are so great. Both use rc.d. Is it the run-levels that you object to? Personally, I'd like initng, upstart, or Sun's Service Management Facility to get more use by various distros.

No, because its the same boat for both... (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553307)

For FreeBSD, the kernel is BSD liscenced but pretty much all the tools are a mix of BSD and GNU v2 or later (and all from the FSF are GPLv3 soon), which is "hello GPLv3" for a lot of what you care about.

For Linux, the kernel is GPLv2 only but pretty much all the tools are the same mix of BSD and GNU v2 or later (and all from the FSF are GPLv3 soon), which is "hello GPLv3" for a lot of what you care about.

Thus there is no way GPLv3 will drive people from Linux to BSD for business use, as it really is the same impact for both.

Not quite. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554163)

The only GNU tools in any of the BSDs are the compiler toolchain. None of the standard unix utilities are the GNU versions like they are in most (all?) linux distros. Everything from ls, to grep to diff/patch to inetd is BSD licensed in the BSDs.

Re:No, because its the same boat for both... (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554487)

I think it's unlikely that GPL3'd toolchains will be much of a concern for anyone, since these tools are seldom extended or modified by commercial users. Kernels are a big one. Many Linux kernel developers appear to be pushing a move to GPL3, and while Linux seems to be still in the GPL2 camp, he also seems open to moving to GPL3 under the right conditions.

will GPL3 drive Linux users to FreeBSD? (5, Insightful)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553315)

Short answer: no.

Why? Simple. The users of both GPLv3 and BSD licensed software really do not see a difference at all. They usually load the software in binary form and it does whatever it does in both cases. But the GPL vs. BSD differences affect mostly programmers and distributors, i.e. the provisions of the license control changes to and distribution of the software.

And in the case of programmers, nothing has really changed. Those who believe in the ideology behind GPL (ideology which was never hidden by RMS or FSF) will continue to do so, and are pleased with the direction in which v3 is headed. Those who loathe that idology in favour of another, BSD centered, which is just as ideologically motivated as the GPL, except covertly and implicitly, will continue to use BSD and bemoan the "evil" and "anti-profit" nature of the GPL.

What will change is that various large corporate leechers, who sought to abuse the GPL to their own ends, will see it harder to achieve their aims. They indeed might consider BSD ... or simply return to closed-source proprietary crud whence they came from in the first place.

Re:will GPL3 drive Linux users to FreeBSD? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553463)

It may just be me, but do I smell a bit of dislike for BSD?

Re:will GPL3 drive Linux users to FreeBSD? (2, Insightful)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553919)

It may just be me, but do I smell a bit of dislike for BSD?

I really do not care about BSD one way or another, nor do I care about X11, MIT and a whole bunch of other licenses out there. And I do believe that it is the absolute right of the creator of whatever open software to put whatever licence he/she wants on it (although I do have deep misgivings about the whole notion of "licensing" information in the first place - but that is another discussion).

What I do dislike is the propensity of the BSD crowd to paint themselves as ideology-free, impartial and objective defenders of "individual freedoms" while at the same time excusing outright profiteering by many individuals and corporations by simply close-sourcing other people's work. That sort of thing gets my proverbial goat. Their idea of "freedom" is pretty much defined as "freedom to profit from other people's work" and their main objection to GPL is that "restricts" their "freedom" to simply take GPL code, modify it and distribute it in some commercial venture of theirs without any sort of recompense.

The difference is of course ideological, and it originates with an understanding that "freedoms" can be both positive and negative and that allowing some "indivdual freedoms" is far too disastrous for the society to even contemplate. Such as "freedom to murder whomever you dislike" etc.

But again, that is another, non-software licensing related discussion although it has direct bearing on the topic.

will ideology drive pragmatics to FreeBSD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553759)

"But the GPL vs. BSD differences affect mostly programmers and distributors, i.e. the provisions of the license control changes to and distribution of the software."

I wouldn't say that those are the only ones who should or would care. Remember when Red Hat left out various codecs due to licenses?

"And in the case of programmers, nothing has really changed. Those who believe in the ideology behind GPL (ideology which was never hidden by RMS or FSF) will continue to do so, and are pleased with the direction in which v3 is headed. Those who loathe that idology in favour of another, BSD centered, which is just as ideologically motivated as the GPL, except covertly and implicitly, will continue to use BSD and bemoan the "evil" and "anti-profit" nature of the GPL."

Oh please! You must think your audience fools? The ideology for both is out there for everyone who cares to look. I'm more worried about the GPL because basically one person controls the license, while the BSD has the community. Something about absolute power and all that.

"What will change is that various large corporate leechers, who sought to abuse the GPL to their own ends, will see it harder to achieve their aims. They indeed might consider BSD ... or simply return to closed-source proprietary crud whence they came from in the first place."

Abusers or not. I don't see how your argument is pro-GPL. If you want to build an ideological fence around yourself? Be my guest. Just don't complain that the world isn't dumping what works for them and using your solution. Or complaining that hardware makers aren't cooperating with the GPL community.

Re:will ideology drive pragmatics to FreeBSD? (1)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554125)

Remember when Red Hat left out various codecs due to licenses?

This usually happens with proprietary, restrictive licenses, which is another discussion.

The ideology for both is out there for everyone who cares to look. I'm more worried about the GPL because basically one person controls the license, while the BSD has the community. Something about absolute power and all that.

The FSF is not a one man show and the process of crafting of GPLv3 involved public participation.

If you want to build an ideological fence around yourself? Be my guest. Just don't complain that the world isn't dumping what works for them and using your solution. Or complaining that hardware makers aren't cooperating with the GPL community.

Err... isn't the whole article about the supposed defectors from GPL to BSD, i.e. whining about something along the lines of as to why "the world" isn't "dumping what works for them and using your (BSD) solution"? Pot, kettle and all that jazz.

Or complaining that hardware makers aren't cooperating with the GPL community.

What hardware makers have to do with this, I cannot fathom. Neither GPL or BSD affects hardware in any way whatsoever.

Re:will GPL3 drive Linux users to FreeBSD? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554179)

Those who believe in the ideology behind GPL (ideology which was never hidden by RMS or FSF) will continue to do so, and are pleased with the direction in which v3 is headed.

That's a pretty bold statement that has many outspoken counter-examples. A lot of people believe in GPLv2's software sharing principles but think GPLv3's dictation of hardware usage crossed the line into the realm of DRM and other evils ("You must use your software how we say or you're in violation of our license"). I suspect, if nothing else, GPLv3 will drive a lot of software to remove the "and later" provision from their licenses, since they now realize that including it is essentially handing all control of their software's future to one man who seems to have gotten more extreme in recent years.

GPL2 is bad enough for embedded developers? (1, Informative)

e4liberty (537089) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553351)

The "killer" clause in the GPL2 is:

You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.
IANAL, but it seems clear to me that a device (the "work that you distribute") run by software with embedded Linux "contains ... the Program," and therefore must "be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License."

The GPL http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html [gnu.org] goes on to say:

If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it.
How can anyone use Linux in an embedded device and not open all of their code?

--e

Re:GPL2 is bad enough for embedded developers? (2)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553683)

are you serious? Does Toyota have to license their car under Apple's EULA just because you carry an iPod in it? Each piece of software is it's own "whole" on the system, so they can all have different licenses. The defining thing is if one piece can't run without the other, it requires they be under the same license (as in the program uses the library compiled in), but it's also been generally accepted that if the program is a binary that just links in (like kernel modules) they don't have to be the same license as the kernel (ie nVidia drivers).

Re:GPL2 is bad enough for embedded developers? (3, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553807)

Sorry, you've got it wrong. The "work" is the software, not the physical device as a whole. You can have multiple software "works" (potentially with different licensing) that are aggregated on the physical device as a whole. This is why the whole "mere aggregation" clause exists in the GPL.

Excuse me? (3, Funny)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553359)

I just now got Ubuntu working fine with my wireless card. I'll be damned if I'm moving to another bloody OS after all that. :P

linux user here (3, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553361)

i do like FreeBSD, PCBSD & DesktopBSD, but PCBSD & DesktopBSD needs a feature during install to allow the person doing the install to allow selecting multiple mount points for / and /usr and /usr/home during the install, seems like with both PCBSD & DesktopBSD i could only select one partition to install everything in, i like to use a small / and a larger /usr and a /usr/home, as a long time slackware user i found FreeBSD's installer to be not much different and did allow selecting multiple mount points, i am looking forward to FreeBSD's next release (6.3? or 7?)

i welcome the competition the *BSDs will bring to the Linux world, and if Ian Murdock can get Solaris in the mix that will be good also...

Is it okay not to care about the politics? (3, Insightful)

mjcb (1154977) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553381)

I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been following this whole GPLv3 debate for a while, and I don't really see what the big deal about it is. I've read and I understand the differences between the three versions of the license, and I really don't see how that is going to really affect me. I've been using Red Hat/Fedora and Gentoo since 2000, and I can't think of a single instance of a software license ever really affecting me. Maybe its because I'm not a software developer, but does the regular user really care about any of this? I can't speak for everyone else, but I know I don't care. Maybe I just don't care about the politics of the whole thing, I have better things to do with my time. Am I going to jump ship on GNU/Linux because of an updated license? No. Would I ever? Probably not. Will this license ever affect me? Doubtful. Do I really care? No. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but if you don't like GPLv3, then you don't have to use it. Problem solved, next FUD article.

Re:Is it okay not to care about the politics? (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554333)

I've read and I understand the differences between the three versions of the license, and I really don't see how that is going to really affect me. I've been using Red Hat/Fedora and Gentoo since 2000, and I can't think of a single instance of a software license ever really affecting me. Maybe its because I'm not a software developer, but does the regular user really care about any of this?

Not directly. Indirectly, however, it will affect what is available to you.

Parts of GPLv3 were specifically designed to attack Tivo -- so if you have a TV it should eventually affect what choices you have for that sort of product. It will probably (indirectly) affect you even if you don't have a TV, since it affects anyone who wants to sell you something that's locked down (even things that *have* to be locked down, say to guarantee standards compliance for something).

There are some things that GPLv3 software simply cannot be used for. So if lots of people move to GPLv3, there are some things that become harder to make, and therefore less available to you.

GPLv3 does hurt, however... (3, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553399)

I was visiting an academic CS research group, which is doing some networking protocol work they want widely adopted (eg, in Windows would be a good start).

Their release of the prototype code was "whatever", so they did it under GPL (well, dual liscence, GPL for everyone, and a free liscence for funders). They were kind of shocked when the link on their web page was now pointing to a GPLv3 description, and I explained the implications.

They may very well change to BSD liscencing.

Re:GPLv3 does hurt, however... (1, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553581)

bah, they only had to say it was released under gpl2 and put a copy of the license right there in their own web page. You're basically telling a story of a group being lazy and stupid and careless.

Re:GPLv3 does hurt, however... (1)

Jeremiah Stoddard (876771) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553663)

I wouldn't make the general statement that the "GPLv3 does hurt," but that it hurts in some specific cases. This has always been the case: there is no "one license fits all" claim going on here. Some things are better off with GPLv2 or BSD, heck even the GNU project came up with LGPL and uses yet other licenses on certain pieces of software. Yet despite these cases, GPLv3 is still probably a good fit for many (perhaps most) open source developers out there...

Re:GPLv3 does hurt, however... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553977)

Please can you elaborate on what they were shocked about?

FUD merchants really hate GPL3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553401)

Endless, will GPL3 this and will GPL3 that. Funny how the FUD merchants really hate GPL3. Methinks they protest too much.

No (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553403)

I'm an OpenBSD fan myself, but mentioning anything BSD in any job interview has never done me good. Decision makers (aka, those that hire you), have perhaps heard from Linux, but most certainly not of BSD. So, by now if I mention free software at all, I mention Linux and nothing else at all. Saying GNU/Linux makes you look even worse.

Linux will stay, just by name recognition.... Hey, honestly, I only got to know the BSDs after I got into Linux and I do prefer the BSDs, just on technical merit.

Re:No (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553947)

If you are talking to suits and mean *BSD, just pronounce it UNIX.

For all intents and purposes, it is anyhow.

Re:No (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554005)

Well, yes, but they might understand AIX or something similar ;-)

Are you trying to get shitty jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554379)

Seriously, I would never consider accepting a job somewhere that considers knowing about open source to be a bad thing. I've had 3 jobs (as a network/sysadmin) over the last 10 years. For all 3 of them linux, BSDs, postgresql, apache and several other open source projects were discussed during the interview. 2 of those jobs I got specifically because I know BSDs as well as linux, windows and cisco. All of those jobs have used at least OpenBSD, two of them also used FreeBSD. If you want a good job, mentioning open source software is going to help, not hurt. If you want a shitty job, try being a plumber, it pays well.

Commercial Users (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553429)

TFS says 'commercial users', which would be businesses. If I were a business, and the GPL looked like it might be starting to impact me, I'd definitely start looking at BSD, the license of which is known for how 'free' it is to the user, rather than the developer. So far, it hasn't started to do that to anyone but Tivo and other hardware manufacturers, but the moment it starts looking like just using the software for any commercial purpose will be a problem, you can bet there'll be a ton of companies jump ship.

Why would they stick around and try to fight it instead of just picking an already-existing alternative? At the moment Linux isn't scary (to a business) and it is more popular. But let the boss get wind of imminent problems with it, and he'll ORDER a switch. That switch may even be to Windows Server, as the liabilities and costs are well known.

This is a very very hypothetical situation, since it would be absolutely insane for the GPL to further limit the freedom of users/distributors (beyond the v3 limits)... But it's possible.

No, USABILITY will move people from Linux to BSD (2, Insightful)

Theovon (109752) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553479)

For practical reasons, people often find they have to use Windows. There are a lot of practical people out there, trying to actually GET STUFF DONE, so they make choices based on need.

In a similar vein, it is frustration with the out-dated UNIX system of spreading bits of applications around inconsistent places in /bin, /usr, /etc, /usr/local and who knows where else that has pushed me away from most Linux distros towards using BogoLinux, PC-BSD, and MacOS X.

Re:No, USABILITY will move people from Linux to BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553677)

Why do you care were stuff is? Package managers take care of it all. If you're compiling from source and wasting your time, then you should know where and why you are doing what you are doing. Your post is pure ignorance or FUD.

Re:No, USABILITY will move people from Linux to BS (1)

Obsidian Butterfly (1133957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554393)

You're so right! We should be more innovative like Microsoft and just dump everything under C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM.

Why are you so worried about where everything's installed anyway? I don't see how you "GET STUFF DONE" if you're so caught up with that kind of thing.

Don't know what to think... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553495)

Until Netcraft confirms it...

But seriously, a good deal of the health of the Linux community has been due to the GPL. It has also been the reason why companies are so fearful, yes, but once in, they generally end up doing the right thing because of the licensing terms.

There are no shortage of commercial products with their roots in a BSD. The problem is they most often don't bother to contribute work back. There is some mindshare that letting upstream maintain non-specific stuff for you is inherently better, but at the same time it takes effort to decide where that boundary is, and many companies don't bother. The BSD projects that have code contributed by companies back are largely in the context of using them under Linux, and as such they are already in the habit of doing that.

BSD: providing unencumbered software for 30 years (4, Interesting)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553557)

Long ago in a galaxy far far away, Marshall Kirk McKusick wrote:

"You had copyright, which is what the big companies use to lock everything up; you had copyleft, which is free software's way of making sure you can't lock it up; and then Berkeley had what we called 'copycenter,' which is 'take it down to the copy center and make as make as many copies as you want.' You want to go off and do proprietary things with it? Fine, you can do that. You want to keep it out in the Open Source domain? You're welcome to do that as well. In fact, in the end, Richard Stallman had to agree that we had a less restrictive license than he did, although it took pulling some teeth to get him to admit to that."

Pure FUD. (0, Flamebait)

supersnail (106701) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553575)

This seems like pure FUD and sour grapes from the BSD fans.

While manufacturers like Apple would have problems "closing" thier platforms, this is already an issue with GPL2 and most appliances manufacturers with such issues use BSD already like Apple.

Wasn't there a big thread on Slashdot last week on how to hack your iPhone? It seems to me that the majority of slashdotters are very much in favour of "user serviceable parts" in thier appliances.

I have actually some experience with certification issues and GPL licences having used the very wonderful JPOS point of sale application (for processing credit card payments). A Danish group went to the trouble of getting it officially certified to connect directly to the Danish banking/credit card network, the only problem being the certification program is for binaries (or JAR file in this case). So as its GPLed you get the source and are free to change the source to your hearts content. But if you want to abide by the terms and conditions of your contract with the payments system you must connect using only the certified JAR file as supplied.

In practise there was no problem really.
I used the source as the basis for a high volume test tool and my version never connected to the outside world.
Anyone actually connecting to a card payments system would be well advised to cover thier arse and use only
certified software as you could be liable for mega penalties if you break the network.

There was no conflict with the GPL2 license and I dont think there would be any confict with the GPL3 license
you have the source and are free to change it, a separate contract with you bank requires you to use only the certified
binary version, or, submit a binary of your modded version to thier extensive and expensive testing program.

   

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553673)

Why would that happen? Just because of a license? Fat chance, with so many here probably stealing Windows, and finding convoluted reasons why it's OK to do so.

I think of Linux as a sort of gulag of distros where we keep you until you've been re-educated.

USERS DON'T CARE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553723)

Surprise!!!! Only software developers give a slimy rat's arse if the software is GPLv2, 3, 12, or 1000. NO ONE ELSE CARES.

Get over yourselves.

And for the love of all that is good and pure, don't ever post another GLPvwhaterver story on slashdot.

No, I don't think so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553731)

Not until the desktop-user experience improves drastically. Yes, FreeBSD can run KDE and GNOME, but anyone who tells you that maintaining FreeBSD is easier than, say, Ubuntu, is lying through their teeth. And yes, I have used both, and I enjoy using both. That doesn't mean I can't point out the flaws of one or the other, although I'm sure the BSD fanboys with karma will mod this down as far as they can.

well (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553749)

I recall someone saying on here that those who hate M$ use Linux and those who love Linux use BSD. I don't know if there is any truth to that. I enjoy what M$, Linux, BSD and Mac all bring to the table.

A tissue please! (1, Flamebait)

Tentacle_Rape (1154273) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553761)

For all the poor commercial developers who can no longer reap a huge profit off of free open source software, and then defecate on the faces of the volunteers who made it possible.

Why would it? (0, Flamebait)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553847)

The GPL is at an advantage.

First, GPLd projects can take BSD code, but not in reverse, so a GPL licensed project has a bigger resource pool to draw from.

Second, the GPL forces even very large companies to contribute their changes. While Theo is whining on the OpenBSD mailing list about how IBM (or whoever it was) won't give them the time of the day, Linux doesn't have such a problem. A BSD project can ask nicely, but can't demand anything.

Users aren't going to care what the license is, they'll go for the most functional system.

di3k (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553873)

systemns. The Gay are attending a

Users? (2, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553957)

Users care only a very little bit about the license. They want working software. Developers do care only a little bit since they cannot randomly mix & match code uder different licenses. GPL by definition gives them the most choice of source. Creators of disitibutions and hardware vendor (should) care a lot about the license. But they do not care about the freedom of the suers, they care about the number of copies they can distribute.

The vice president of bsd foundation cares for hardware vendor, who want to restrict hardware, which he calls the users/ freebsd community. However that are not users you and me who buy/use the end result.

PS..
-- BSD is dead. ;)

the GPL is now toxic (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553997)

Has anyone noticed that the GPLv3 went through very, very quietly?

No one congratulated the FSF.

Despite Bruce Perens' predictions, Linus has not been forced to "go with the crowd"

The GPLv3 is a stark reminder of why you should never, ever assign your code to FSF.

We need a new license -- the Linux license -- that has GPLv2 features and perhaps the patent provision but not the anti-tivoization clause. That clause has limited GPL software to hobbyist applications and web serving. There's no way you'd propose GPLv3 software for a gas pump or an Airbus at this point.

The point, I guess, is that GPLv3 is too expensive -- it asks for more than money, more than code -- it tries to dictate engineering. And that is just sad. The problem is that the FSF has a culture very similar to a student council, with roughly the same level of maturity. Those with a contrarian view are shouted down and driven out, so that the only remaining talk is just preaching to the choir.

Sadly, this will slow down open source. Just because people aren't being vocal about it doesn't mean they're for it. In business, when the other side is quiet, it means they're planning to go with a second supplier so they don't have to put up with crap.

GNU & GPL (1)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554015)

Anyone who beleives in the ideology behind the GNU project would have no problems at all adopting the GPLv3. It adds additional copyleft restrictions to promote the freedom to hack - in addition to making a few important clarifications. If you feel uneasy with GPLv3, ask yourself if your ideals match those of the GNU project. If they don't, there are other copyleft and non-copyleft licenses available - including the BSD licence.

users? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554105)

I don't think majority of users (non-developers) actually care about any of that, as long as it is free as in "free beer". FreeBSD or any other BSD or other OSS-but-not-GPL software could potentially be as successful as GPL software, but they lack funding, because they are not usable as weapons (fences, obstacles or mines, actually) in ongoing corporate wars. At best their worth is as additional development shops, but unfortunately you cannot keep to yourself what you payed for and your competition can use it without limitations. However, with GPL FOSS, you can target and hurt others' profits, or divert some of it to your own pockets, emphasizing some part of computer systems you have in check yourself.
The Law of Unintended Consequences paradoxically makes GPL (some) Big Corporations' best friend, just like hypothetical synthetic rubber manufacturer would probably covertly support a Maoist guerrilla group in a tropical republic whose main export product is natural rubber latex.

What amazes me to no end is that Linux kernel has upper hand over BSD even in single-CPU embedded devices where BSD would clearly be a less burdening choice. E.g. why TiVo chose Linux over BSD and got all this unneeded attention and bad rep? I guess they just drifted with flow...

The GPL can be better for commercial users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554207)

When commercial entities are participating in open source develpoment of a project, the GPL can be an advantage, since it protects them against a competitor using their work to create a propietary competing project.
BSD is better for companies when they don't want to share changes at all.

Debian drives people away faster.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554339)

When solely looking at the user market then I doubt that the new GPL will have the impact which is implied here. Instead I think its more a matter of how people interpret it and will apply it to their products. When looking at that I think that a classic example can be seen in the way Debian handles things in their software repository.

I'm not judging them but I can tell you that it drove me, solely from the end-user aspect, straight into Ubuntu. I like Debian a lot, at work we run it on most web and sql servers. Apart from some left-over Gentoo installations setup by a previous admin (which, as a side note, will also been soon moved to Debian) everything is Debian based. Its strict with its policies, its got a very good package system and in the overal has a rather logical approach with things.

The only serious complaints which I've had about Debian so far (from the perspective of my profession as sysadmin) are the sometimes silly changes some package maintainers make. Like, for example, splitting up a config file (conf.d) but not using the already defined sections by the author but instead re-inventing the whole wheel again. The result is obvious; if you know how the particular software works you probably won't feel direct at home on Debian. But all of that sillyness is relatively easily fixed with the use of the sourcecode packages.

But when it comes to the enduser issues I really can't say that I like what I see. It doesn't offer thunderbird and firefox because someone considered it in violation with some policies. But since they still want to ship this stuff its suddenly called iceweasel and whatchamacallit and even behave differently from the real thing. As an enduser I'm pretty easy with that: you can stuff that sillyness up your policy interpretations while I move over to Ubuntu to get the best out of Debian without all that silly policy stuff which I really do not need as an end-user

So personally I don't think gpl3 will make any more difference here. And I sincerely doubt it will have the same impact as some of the Debian choices have made.

Commercial users really Should use BSD (0)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554381)

I agree in that commercial users should use BSD. GPL software is Free and should stay Free. Leaches are not welcome to use GPL software. Simple as that. If some leaches were using GPL software under the false impression that they can do as they want without contributing back to the community, then they should wizen up and leave. We don't need leaches.

timing (1)

syrinx (106469) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554391)

I just last week switched my home server from FreeBSD to Debian... mainly just to learn something new, and get some hands-on experience. I last tried any Linux flavor about 7 years ago, and have been on FreeBSD since then, so I figured I'd try something else.

In any case, I really don't care about licensing as a user. As a developer, I'd prefer the BSD license, but that doesn't mean I care what my OS and other programs are licensed under... I just want something that works.

When will they learn? (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554411)

The vast majority of Linux users simply don't give a crap about the license beyond the question of whether or not it is free for them to download and install. And why would anyone move to FreeBSD to get away from the GPL license anyway? Probably about 80% of your average FreeBSD desktop is GPL'd or some other non-BSD license. FreeBSD itself is actually a relatively small core of software. Almost everything of use to a user on a *BSD system comes from ports... not the FreeBSD installation.

Daddy, I want it and I want it now! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554503)

I want to use stuff created by others, but not share....wah wah wah....GPL is evil...wah wah wah
Share should only be a one way street if I want it that way....wah wah wah

FUD
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