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Torvalds Puts Support Behind GPL2 Linux

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the license-and-registration-please dept.

Linux 326

Christiangrays writes "Linux creator Linus Torvalds has used an interview being made public by the Linux Foundation to stress that version 2 of the GPL still makes the most sense for the Linux kernel over the newer GPL version 3. GPL 3, which was released last year by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), reflects the FSF's goals while GPL 2 closely matches what Torvalds thinks a licence should do, Torvalds said. "I want to pick the licence that makes the most sense for what I want to do. And at this point in time, Version 2 matches what I think we want to do much, much better than Version 3," said Torvalds, who is now a fellow at the foundation. He was interviewed in late-October by Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin."

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Single Point of Corruption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21954716)

Who's to say that IBM hasn't paid the guy to keep it on GPLv2?

L. Ron Torvalds vs. the Stallmanistas (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955286)

OMG, it... is... ON!!!

L. Ron Torvalds has just declared all out war on Richard Stallman and his radical attempts to conquer all software via the GPLv3.

These two guys are, like, the Gods of FOSS. Who will win this epic, climactic struggle? The FOSS world is obviously not big enough for the two of them... so who will win? Will this Clash of the Titans bring down all the hopes and dreams of the FOSS world? Will pasty white nerds be furiously waging war from their keyboards? Which side will be the first to hire the veteran "warblogger" mercenaries away from the GOP?

I don't have any answers, but I've got a ton of popcorn and a strong desire to watch the inevitable sissy-fight!

Let's get ready to RUMBLE!!!!!

Torvalds sells out Free Software and RMS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21954744)

Who has gotten to Linus? Why does he no longer love free software or RMS?

If I were RMS, I would forbid the packaging of any GNU code with a GPLv2 GNU/Linux.

(GNU == GNU Protective License)

Do you understand free software? (1)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955008)

If I were RMS, I would forbid the packaging of any GNU code with a GPLv2 GNU/Linux. Not only would this against RMS's free software philosophy, but the GPL (yes, even version 3!) expressly disclaims any limitation on the mere packaging of software. More to the point, this is much ado about nothing. Even if Mr. Torvalds "saw the light" and decided he wanted to move to GPL v3, this would be impossible in practical terms since Linux has no copyright escrow agent similar to the FSF for GNU. In other words, to move code licensed to Linux under GPL v2 (only) to GPL v3 requires re-licensing by the original author -- which you may never be able to find. So, you may safely assume that Linux will be GPL v2 until it is re-written from scratch.

Re:Do you understand free software? (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955062)

Why would RMS want to create even more tension between the two groups??!

Re:Do you understand free software? (1)

sigzero (914876) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955336)

"So, you may safely assume that Linux will be GPL v2 until it is re-written from scratch."

I can safely say that will never happen.

Re:Torvalds sells out Free Software and RMS (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955026)

Who has gotten to Linus? Why does he no longer love free software or RMS?

So now, suddenly, since there is a new version of the GPL, anyone who stays on the old version hates software freedom?

Wow. That's kind of an extreme way to look at it. Especially since RMS himself said that there's nothing wrong with continuing to use GPL V2, if that's what a project wants to do.

If I were RMS, I would forbid the packaging of any GNU code with a GPLv2 GNU/Linux.
Without altering the language of the GPL, simply put, he can't.

Re:Torvalds sells out Free Software and RMS (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955724)

Welcome to the license wars, where both sides are populated by fanatical idiots. Stallman, in particular, gets on my nerves because he's become nothing more than pontificating mushroom. At least Torvalds remains a productive member of society, even if he's a bit of troll in his own right.

The nice thing about lots of licenses is that you, as the developer or development team, can pick the one that you feel best serves your project's interests. It seems to me the license wars are the very dichotomy of the idea of an open license, because they're all about trying to force developers down a specific path.

Re:Torvalds sells out Free Software and RMS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955030)

Who has gotten to Linus? Why does he no longer love free software or RMS?
I don't even think RMS' mother loves him. Only his hordes of mindless zombie followers.

If I were RMS, I would forbid the packaging of any GNU code with a GPLv2 GNU/Linux.
And the cult of no-personality that's been built up around him will fall down at his feet in supplication, despite the fact that he will have betrayed the entire cause he's been preaching for far too long...

Oh, and an old BSD userland will be ported to Linux inside a week, more distros will drop GNOME for KDE, and only Debian-based distros will be effected after that.

Way to think things through.

Do you understand how free software works? (4, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955080)

If I were RMS, I would forbid the packaging of any GNU code with a GPLv2 GNU/Linux.
Not only would this against RMS's free software philosophy, but the GPL (yes, even version 3 [fsf.org] !) expressly disclaims any limitation on the mere aggregation of software.

More to the point, this is much ado about nothing. Even if Mr. Torvalds "saw the light" and decided he wanted to move to GPL v3, this would be impossible in practical terms since Linux has no copyright escrow agent similar to the FSF for GNU. In other words, to move code licensed to Linux under GPL v2 (only) to GPL v3 requires re-licensing by the original author -- which you may never be able to find. So, you may safely assume that Linux will be GPL v2 until it is re-written from scratch.

Re:Do you understand how free software works? (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955622)

Exactly.

He added he cannot change the licence on his own anymore. "I mean, because I have accepted code over the last 15 years by people who kind of accepted my original choice of the GPL Version 2, I'm not just, I think, ethically bound by those people's choices, I am also actually legally bound," Torvalds said.
I think this is a case of "sour grapes [wikipedia.org] ". Due to a bad decision, he is locked into a single license now. It will only get worse. Eventually there will be a GPL4.

Re:Do you understand how free software works? (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955868)

I'm not so sure it's sour grapes. I think Linus really likes the GPLv2 more than GPLv3. I think he's glad he can't track down all the authors of all the patches for permission to change it, because it takes some of the heat from GPLv3 zealots off of him.

Wether it's true or not... (-1, Troll)

ExE122 (954104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954764)

Little late in the game, don't ya think?

Re:Wether it's true or not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21954804)

Uh, no. Why would I think that?

Re:Wether it's true or not... (2, Interesting)

autocracy (192714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954816)

I don't believe so. I'll be half-assed and make somebody else verify this for me as I'm too busy to grok the kernel license at the moment, but I believe that the GPL v2 found in the kernel sources leaves off the part that says "or any later revision."

Correct, and deliberately... (2, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955272)

The Linux Kernel GPLv2 deliberately leaves off the "or later", because that gives control of your liscence to some other entity (the FSF).

Re:Correct, and deliberately... (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955828)

reminds me of the software the kid tried to install on his Linux box, it said "works with windows 3.1 or better" so the kid was disappointed when it would no work for him. :)

How free does Linux want to be? (5, Funny)

Dareth (47614) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954788)

We are just clipping Tux's wings a little bit. It is not like he can fly anyway.

Re:How free does Linux want to be? (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955324)

Tux needs his wings to swim after fish and avoid starving to death. Maybe Linus hasn't thought of this? Should someone tell him?

2 vs 3 (2, Insightful)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954806)

Before everyone starts arguing about the merits of GPLv3, let's remember that it's just the license for the kernel. It's not going to be changing much when used in proprietary consumer devices. On the other hand, if it's not going to change it much, why lock it up? Kinda a moot point...

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955002)

I one of the main points of the GPLv3 is that someone like TiVo couldn't take the Linux kernel, modify it, and then use it in the TiVo signed with a key, and then distribute the changes but not the key. That would mean that anyone could make a modified TiVo kernel, but load it onto the device since it isn't signed.

From the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] (the last section)

What is the value of letting a company use and modify the Linux kernel if they can legitimitely lock out any usage of a modified kernel on that hardware?

Re:2 vs 3 (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955360)

What is the value of letting a company use and modify the Linux kernel if they can legitimitely lock out any usage of a modified kernel on that hardware?
Value to whom? To the company, the value is that they get a cheap and relatively well-supported development platform. To the Linux community the advantage is that more people are working on Linux. To the end user, the advantage is that they get a device with a stable[1] kernel.

Any company building a product like this has three choices:

  • Use a proprietary kernel like QNX or Wince.
  • Use a BSD licensed kernel.
  • Use Linux.
Linus believes that changing to GPv3 would push companies to choose one of the first two options instead of Linux. RMS believes that switching to v3 would cause companies to continue using Linux but rethink their policy about locking users out of the systems they bought.


[1] Please replace stable with any other adjective you feel applies to the Linux kernel.

Re:2 vs 3 (1, Insightful)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955736)

Speaking of other kernels, what about Solaris? If Linux stays at GPL2, and Solaris is releaseed as GPL3, would Solaris be in a position to replace Linux as the Free kernel of choice? Could Free Software advance even as Linux declines?

Re:2 vs 3 (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956056)

The Solaris kernel is superior to Linux in a great many ways, but inferior in one very important one; device support. That said, the importance of Linux to the Free Software movement is greatly overstated. There are several very solid kernels that can be used as drop-in replacements for Linux (right down to ABI compatibility in some cases).

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955372)

As I remember, Linus is of the opinion that hardware vendors shouldn't have to leave their hardware open because there's more of an investment and because it's a physical object, and frankly I agree with him. Tivo has to open up their source code, so why not grab that source code and run it on a device that will allow you to change it? The code is still free, but the physical device that you're being sold isn't. Hardware costs more to produce and develop than software does, and it makes sense that someone might be of the opinion that hardware makers should have more control over a device that costs them more.

Re:2 vs 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955434)

The code is still free, but the physical device that you're being sold isn't.

Yes, that's why I paid money for it instead of just taking it off the shelf. And in return, I expect it to be mine, and to have the ability to change it however I like (within the bounds of any applicable laws).

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955910)

The problem here is that TiVo is serving two masters. They want to sell you the box, but it interacts with the content of the big, nasty, litigious mainstream media outlets. They don't want to sell you something you can easily use to violate copyrights, or at least they don't want to be known for that in courtrooms.

Re:2 vs 3 (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955390)

Well, besides the point that the GPLv3 doesn't stop TIVO from doing that, it only limits it's ability to do it, why have a halfassed broken license that doesn't accomplish what it claims to?

There are a lot of things in the GPLv3 that are broken with respect to how people think it works. And this includes a lot of the nonsense spouted by the FSF themselves.

Re:2 vs 3 (1, Interesting)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956140)

Well, besides the point that the GPLv3 doesn't stop TIVO from doing that...
I salute you! Finally somebody who gets it. I so wish I had mod points right now. Whenever this topic comes up, I am tempted to post the N different ways for circumventing GPLv3 that I can think of, but ultimately I don't want to encourage anybody.

Escalating the rules and restrictions for distributors in the GPL is somewhat similar to ever increasing new DRM methods: the more difficult you make it, the more likely it is that you'll find somebody who sees it as his mission to produce a workaround. The escalation of rules and workarounds will just go on until the rules have become so restrictive that a whole number of legitimate uses are precluded, at which point people will move on to the next project. The only way to deal with that is to stop, and accept that a minority will always be using your stuff in ways you don't fully agree with. Get over it.

Re:2 vs 3 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955398)

Why don't you apply your principles to the kernel you wrote. Oh wait, you don't have one. Then why do you want to control how Linus licenses his code?

Re:2 vs 3 (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955430)

What is the value of letting a company use and modify the Linux kernel if they can legitimitely lock out any usage of a modified kernel on that hardware?

They can still sue the modified kernel on their own hardware.

Re:2 vs 3 (0, Troll)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955664)

So the RMS position pre-supposes his software is the best in which case the point of the GPL is to have hardware makers adopt it, which will give him access to the code running his hardware. So when the closed hardware people starting using non-code secrets to keep their hardware closed, instead of relying on the secrets of proprietary code, this didn't go down well, cause that's why they offered up their superior code in the first place.

People like Linus, have a non-trivial code base out there, but don't think it's the best. For them the GPL serves to get people who want/need better code to use the existing code base as a foundation and to then share their improvements with Linus and friends. As long as they share their improvements people with this mind set don't really care what the code is being used for, and want to encourage people to improve it.

So one set of people care about open hardware, one set of people care about open code. Ironically it is the open hardware people that run the "Free Software Foundation", which controls the path of the GPL. Since the two goals are somewhat divergent it makes sense that newer versions of the GPL would suit people with a different mindset and goals less.

Personally I think the FSF has been indirect in stating their goals and got a lot of people behind their banner that didn't truly support what they did and now you have this perceived dissension. When really you have two parallel efforts that share a lot, and should collaborate a lot but should also acknowledge their differences when doing so, so that when one effort does something to serve some of their separate interests the other group doesn't take it like a betrayal.

It depends if its an advantage... (3, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955130)

Before everyone starts arguing about the merits of GPLv3, let's remember that it's just the license for the kernel. It's not going to be changing much when used in proprietary consumer devices. On the other hand, if it's not going to change it much, why lock it up? Kinda a moot point...

The real question, is how would a move to GPLv3 benefit Linux? If the answer is not at all, then by keeping it a GPLv2 helps make everyone's life simpler. Any change in license would in certain cases mean that Linux would have to revetted by legal departments in a number of companies and for TiVO-like products a real pain in the neck.

In many ways GPLv3 is a reaction to DRM, but getting all religious about things is not going to be the solution either, IMHO.

Re:It depends if its an advantage... (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955710)

The real question, is how would a move to GPLv3 benefit Linux?
No, the real question is, "how would a move to GPLv3 benefit Linux users?"
The GPL, regardless of version, has always been about the end user, not the developer or any of the intermediaries.

In many ways GPLv3 is a reaction to DRM, but getting all religious about things is not going to be the solution either, IMHO
The GPL has always been 'religious' about the end user's freedoms. You could just as easily say that DRM is a reaction to people's natural expectations of freedom.

The GPL's philosophy can be summarized in one sentence: Guarantee that the end user has full ability to tinker with the product. The GPLv3 simply plugs a few loopholes that have come to light since the GPLv2 was written. It does not extend the original philosophy one iota.

The real question... (5, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956098)

The real question is would a move to GPL3 benefit your freedom? Unfortunately, Linus doesn't give a hoot about your freedom. Here's a practical example of the importance of freedom for those who aren't willing to consider it in the abstract. I have some Sony HDTV hard disk recorders. They are going to stop getting the TV guide and will stop having the ability to set their clock when the analog TV shutdown completes at the San Francisco PBS station (which broadcasts that data in its vertical interval). These devices use Linux and indeed they come with a copyright notice for Busybox (which I created). They are also DRM locked. Sony is just going to allow the devices to become bricks, even though they were sold as HDTV, rather than analog TV, recorders. I will have to somehow crack their DRM if I want the devices to be useful after next February. GPL3 would have given me a better ability to do this work and save my device from an uncaring vendor. GPL3 is also compatible with DRM for media, as long as the DRM isn't done in the GPL3 program. So, Sony could have used it, and could have made it more possible for this device to continue to live.

Bruce

Re:2 vs 3 (1, Flamebait)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955166)

On the contrary, the kernel is exactly where the difference between GPLv2 and v3 matters most. Let's say the device maker wants to implement DRM. This requires kernel support, because if it were attempted solely in userspace somebody could modify the kernel to intercept the stream. If the kernel is GPLv3, then there's no problem doing so. But if the kernel is GPLv2 (as in the TiVo), then the device can prevent the modified kernel from running and thus enforce the DRM.

In other words, the point is not moot at all: GPLv2 kernels support DRM, while GPLv3 kernels wouldn't. By advocating GPLv2 for the kernel, what Linus is really saying is that he approves of DRM.

Re:2 vs 3 (3, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955414)

Bullshit. That's like saying that because you pay taxes, you support torture! Or like saying since you support slashdot, which is part of a corporation, you're promoting the exploitation of poor chinese children! Linus believes that there's a difference between hardware and software, and that software shouldn't dictate hardware. That makes sense to me.

Re:2 vs 3 (0)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955694)

Linus believes that there's a difference between hardware and software, and that software shouldn't dictate hardware.

And this is why neither Linus nor you understands the issue! The problem is not software dictating hardware, but rather the other way around!

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955448)

Actually, Linus isn't really advocating DRM but he has said he sees no reason to forbid it.

I too see no reason to forbid it. I also don't see the problem with the Tivo but that is another subject all together. Freedom in software or anything for that matter isn't just the freedom that you want to allow people to have. Even if they use that freedom to restrict yours. There is another political term for the illusion of freedom that is basically "you can do what I say" and I will leave it to the reader to figure that out.

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955658)

Actually, Linus isn't really advocating DRM but he has said he sees no reason to forbid it.

I chose my words very carefully in that post, but apparently not carefully enough. I didn't say he was advocating DRM; I said he approves of it (which is the same as seeing no reason to forbid it).

Freedom in software...

Software, hardware, whatever! When you bring DRM into the picture then there's not really a difference, because if you don't have access to the hardware, you can't use the modified software!

...or anything for that matter isn't just the freedom that you want to allow people to have. Even if they use that freedom to restrict yours.

Then why not use the BSD license and be done with it? After all, by the exact same argument it's unreasonable to restrict them from restricting your freedom by making closed-source derivatives, too.

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955796)

There's a long way between "approving" of something, and not condemning it. Just because you don't condemn/reject something, doesn't mean you approve of it. Approve to me means that you feel it's a positive thing. What if Linus just doesn't care either way, but doesn't feel that there's a need to reject/ban it?

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955864)

I chose my words very carefully in that post, but apparently not carefully enough. I didn't say he was advocating DRM; I said he approves of it (which is the same as seeing no reason to forbid it).
Well, it isn't really that he approves of it either. And yes, I misread what you wrote. From what I remember, he is just indifferent to the subject. He doesn't approve or disapprove of it. He just don't think it is up to him to stop others from using the software how they want in this manor which I think is the same as you are trying to say.

Software, hardware, whatever! When you bring DRM into the picture then there's not really a difference, because if you don't have access to the hardware, you can't use the modified software!
Well. There is something of a difference. You can use the software on other hardware and you can design your own hardware to use the software unchanged. You should also be able to find the unlocked hardware parts seperate from a Tivo appliance and be able to use it there. How easy this is, I don't know. I have never cared enough to find out. But your limitations aren't as binary as you pretend.

Then why not use the BSD license and be done with it? After all, by the exact same argument it's unreasonable to restrict them from restricting your freedom by making closed-source derivatives, too.
That is certainly an option.But it isn't the only option. You see, you get to see the changes in the software and you get to see how somethings were done and you get all sorts of advantages from GPLed software even if you don't get the hardware it is designed to work on. I have always been one to separate the "but I paid for the hardware" argument separate from the I need the source code argument. I think they are two separate arguments and shouldn't be confused with each other. Unfortunately, others didn't think the same and created the GPLv3. They then excited a situation with Novell and MS to sway opinion in their favor and rode this to completion.

We shouldn't be having this argument in the context of the GPL at all. But things happened and we are. That doesn't make it right or correct though.

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955604)

So the purpose of GPL 3 is to prevent freedoms that developers previously had, on account that some people don't like it?

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956398)

So the purpose of GPL 3 is to prevent freedoms that developers previously had, on account that some people don't like it?

Yes, the purpose of the GPL 3 is to preserve freedoms that users previously had, on account that some corporations are trying to infringe upon them.

Both of the above sentences mean the same thing; they are merely two sides of the same coin. The FSF (creator of the GPL) has always been on the side of the user (yes, at the expense of the developer -- preserving perfect freedom for both is impossible). If you value the developer's freedom instead, then the BSD license is more appropriate for you than any version of the GPL.

Re:2 vs 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955742)

"In other words, the point is not moot at all: GPLv2 kernels support DRM, while GPLv3 kernels wouldn't. By advocating GPLv2 for the kernel, what Linus is really saying is that he approves of DRM."

No, what he's really saying is that people should be able to use Linux any way they wish, not according to the principles of some particular group.
Besides, last time I checked, not disapproving of something doesn't mean you approve of it. The world is not black and white.
Perhaps Linus considers "approval of DRM" to be an 8 bit int, and not a binary value.

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956038)

I like to think of Linus as a BSD-spirited guy who likes the source code openness of the GPL. He wants people to use the code for whatever, so long as they share their improvements. Many in the FSF camp want to limit not just what you can do with the source, but where and how you can run the binaries. I think there's a good argument that limiting some freedoms can protect others, but i also think there's an argument that the FSF limiting the free use of software is a bad precedent.

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955782)

He's not saying he approves of it. He's not saying -anything- about DRM. If you have to put words in his mouth, try something a little more accurate like: He doesn't think DRM is a battle for the Linux kernel to fight.

GPL3 supports DRM too, just elsewhere (2, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956216)

GPL3 supports DRM in non-GPL3 applications atop a GPL3 kernel, in hardware, and in microkernels under the GPL3 kernel. It is perfectly possible to implement DRM in a system with a GPL3 kernel.

Bruce

Re:2 vs 3 (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955586)

Linus can do it, because its HIS. What was the last epic thing YOU produced?

Re:2 vs 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955780)

That's and odd question. Why do you ask?

Re:2 vs 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21956132)

Gothmolly: "Linus can do it, because its HIS."

Well, it's PARTLY his. However, that's besides the point.

Linus did a huge mistake, and that doesn't relate to GPLv3: he locked the kernel into a license that CANNOT be changed.

Regardless of what one thinks of GPLv3, if an issue arises with GPLv2 that the kernel folks think need to be addressed, then nothing can be done. Laws change too. However, Linus made sure that the license of the kernel cannot be adapted to any change in laws, nor to address any issue deemed important. That's got nothing to do with GPLv3, except for the fact that the arrival of GPLv3 highlight Linus' mistake.

Linus screwed up on the legal front, and he's just trying to make it as something else.

A little out of touch, are we? (-1, Troll)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954810)

Is anyone really surprised that there is such a huge difference of opinion between someone who actually produces something, and those who spend all day theorizing and writing missives about the way things should be produced?

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954872)

Those who can, do. Those who can't, theorize. </sarcasm> It's surprising, but not in the way you imply.

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21954928)

Well, RMS is an active Emacs project developer/patch-coordinator, as anyone on emacs-devel would know, acting in a similar role to Linus' linux role, sooo... who are you talking about?

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (1)

tji (74570) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955502)

> Well, RMS is an active Emacs project developer/patch-coordinator, as anyone on emacs-devel would know, acting in a similar role to Linus' linux role, sooo... who are you talking about?

I think he's talking about the hordes of commenters in places like Slashdot, who have jumped on the bandwagon and have come to the conclusion that GPL2 is not "open" enough. It strikes me as a bit silly when all these kids, who have never contributed a single line of code, criticize the creators of software on their openness for only going as far as GPLv2.

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956222)

Well, RMS is an active Emacs project developer/patch-coordinator, as anyone on emacs-devel would know, acting in a similar role to Linus' linux role, sooo... who are you talking about?

Right, because MS Word is facing significant competition from Emacs as the text entry program of choice.

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (3, Funny)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954932)

Yes, because Linus represents the views of all linux programmers.

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955060)

Yes, because Linus represents the views of all linux programmers.
Last time I checked GPL3 was a total non-starter.

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956198)

And how much did you check? KDE has spent the last month or so relicensing pretty much all of its code base to dual license under the GPLv3. There still some problems etc, but that's to be expected.

It's been out for less than 6 months. These things can take a long time. I wonder how successful GPLv2 was 6 months after release?

As in, the TiVo.. (1)

fjhb (1169335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955048)

As in, the TiVo vendor is actually producing something by themselves?

Re:A little out of touch, are we? (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955242)

Exactly. Linus lives in the real world. Hell, the OLPC cant go gplv3 because it uses "tivoization" as part of its security model. You have to apply to get the key to unlock the bios.

gplv3 is going to look like a market failure but a ideological win.

Smoking some shit, aren't we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955526)

The FSF aren't DELETING the GPL2 license. It is still available. If, however, the GPLv2 doesn't protect your code like you wish it to, you can use GPLv3.

This is a HUGE non-story. It is like hearing "Bill Gates approves of the new Windows Vista". Duh.

lookin for a karma whore. . . (1)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954842)

Could somebody give a link to a good description of the differences between the two? My understanding was the GPL v3 essentially made it so that once code was committed, the committer implicitly gave up rights to any patentable material relevant to what they committed. I can understand that this would make people wary of committing code because they might inadvertently give an algorithm to the public domain. What would happen with the GPL v2 then? The company could order a cease and desist to the open source project because it violated one of their patents, even if they themselves provided the code?

Re:lookin for a karma whore. . . (2, Informative)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954992)

From FSF [gnu.org] (This is the meat of the patent section.)

Discriminatory patents are restricted as follows: A patent license is "discriminatory" if it does not include within the scope of its coverage, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the non-exercise of one or more of the rights that are specifically granted under this License. You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a discriminatory patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you (or copies made from those copies), or (b) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent license was granted, prior to 28 March 2007.

Re:lookin for a karma whore. . . (2, Informative)

theonlyaether (1146549) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955106)

This was the best I could find so far as summaries go: http://www.sandw.com/assets/attachments/CLIENT_ADV._-_Open_Source_Software_(B0670583).PDF [sandw.com]
From here: http://www.sandw.com/news-publications-155.html [sandw.com]

More info that's a headache to read here, also a little older but probably up to date: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060118155841115 [groklaw.net]

Re:lookin for a karma whore. . . (4, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955532)

That's true, but we're not discussing that difference. The difference that we're mostly discussing here is that if you produce hardware that uses open source code, you have to let the user run modified code on that device. Tivo uses linux on all their boxes but they have a checksum to make sure that if the software is modified, it won't run it. They do this because they are required to make sure that you can't use their device for widespread copyright infringement, to shield themselves from the MPAA.

Stallman, in the meantime, sees Tivo using their software but not allowing people to modify it and run it on their device, gets his panties in a bunch and decides that they need to modify the license to keep device manufacturers from doing that.

Linus, on the other hand, takes his evil corporate leanings and decides that hardware is different from software and that hardware manufacturers are, therefore, different from software developers and proclaims that hardware manufacturers should be able to do whatever they want.

Slashdot, in the meanwhile, get's a huge boner off of the conflict, especially Zonk, who's tickled pink that he doesn't even have to give misleading headlines and summaries to inflame people.

Re:lookin for a karma whore. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955838)

Panties in a bunch? RMS has a point. The point of the GPL is that you get to modify the software. On the Tivo, you can't modify the software because the Tivo folks found a loophole in the GPL that lets them use a hardware lock to prevent it. GPL3 closes the loophole. It's extremely unethical for the Tivo people to behave this way; they want something for free (Linux) but they don't want to follow the rules that come along with getting it for free, so they violate the spirit of the agreement if not the letter. And then they get mad when the bug in the GPL is fixed.

Old news AND irrelevant... (4, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954880)

a: This is very old news, from back in October, just rehashed to get more clicks.

b: It is irrelevant. Even if Linus loved the GPLv3, there is so much code contributed to the Linux kernel without a transfer of copyright and under GPLv2 only terms that it couldn't be changed anyway.

Re:Old news AND irrelevant... (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955102)

It's true that relicensing the entire kernel to GPLv3 would be impossible. But it could transition to GPLv3 in a "ship of Theseus [wikipedia.org] " manner if all new code contributions were licensed as GPLv3 (or dual licensed v2/v3). As older code becomes replaced with newer code, a larger and larger fraction of the code-base would be covered by v3. In principle eventually the kernel would be completely available under GPLv3. (Does anyone know the average lifetime of code in the kernel? How long does it take for the entire codebase to be "refreshed"?) Alternately with sufficient migration to new code, eventually the list of "must get permissions" might be manageable.

Of course this isn't going to happen soon, since Linus, at least, will continue submitting GPLv2-only code, as will many others. What I don't know about Linus' stance is how extreme he will be. He clearly prefers v2 over v3, but will he reject code submissions that are v3? (or dual-licensed?)

Rejecting submissions based on license sound rather ideological (not typical for the self-proclaimed pragmatist that he is)... but if he allows a significant fraction of the code to be v3-compatible, then the kernel may become a de-facto GPLv3 codebase.

Re:Old news AND irrelevant... (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955256)

It's highly doubtful that he'd ever accept v3-only submissions since that would mean that the kernel could no longer be distributed under gplv2 *or* gplv3, but instead different parts of it would have to be distributed under different licenses. I'm not even sure that's legally possible.

I imagine he'd accept dual-licensed submissions but it's quite possible that he wouldn't bother to document the gplv3 part.

changing the license (1)

orra (1039354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955118)

Even if Linus loved the GPLv3, there is so much code contributed to the Linux kernel without a transfer of copyright and under GPLv2 only terms that it couldn't be changed anyway

A long time ago, Linus changed the license [kernel.org] of Linux from a non-free license to the GPL. Did he ask everybody for an explicit grant of license under the GPL? No; he announced his intention to change the license, and asked that anybody with "grievances" mail him.

Maybe all he needs to do to upgrade the version of the GPL used is to ask the few major corporate contributors for permission, and tell everybody else to mail only if they have a problem.

Re:changing the license (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955644)

The code that was in there is pretty much all gone now. But that was another time in computing when copyright didn't mean exactly what it does now. The penalties were different and the ideas behind it were different.

You cannot take something licenses under a type or license that get's all of it's power from copyright law and attempt to usurp that copyright law in an effort to change the license to another version of a license that acts in the same way. Well you can but you wouldn't expect to be able to defend the new license when all the code in it is there because of fraud. GPLv2 only means that in the context of the code submitted.

Another question might be why would he want to risk changing the license? He already said that while he doesn't agree with the likes of Tivo he doesn't want to deny them the ability to do what they are doing. He already said that patents are covered by the existing GPLv2 license and the extra language in the GPLv3 isn't needed. He already said that while he doesn't agree with Novell's pact with Microsoft, he doesn't think it is wrong. I mean why would he want to change to the GPLv3? You have to ask yourself if you are thinking like he does? Or are you comming from a different approach all together?

Re:changing the license (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956380)

That message was written at kernel version 0.12, when the number of developers was small and few people had even heard of Linux.

It is now a serious, production operating system that has received significant support and input from several of the largest tech companies in the world.

Are you seriously suggesting that Linus could simply write a short message saying, "I'm gonna change the license to GPLv3, kthxbye", without kicking off a shitstorm of controversy, and possibly exposing himself to litigation? Especially given the passionate disagreement over the issue, even among members of the community who do not have financial stake in the licensing question.

Linux is for geeks, period (1)

Asshat_Nazi (946431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954912)

that never take a bath and are 40yo virgins.

Patents (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954934)

With Microsoft's patent FUD I'm guessing it is only a question of time until we get some SCO clone to file a patent lawsuit against the Linux kernel. Will be interesting to see Linus' response when that happens.

Re:Patents (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955170)

With Microsoft's patent FUD I'm guessing it is only a question of time until we get some SCO clone to file a patent lawsuit against the Linux kernel. Will be interesting to see Linus' response when that happens.
You can't sue a kernel. It isn't a legal entity. Maybe you could sue Red Hat or Novell or Canonical or IBM or somebody like that, but you can't sue a kernel. Maybe you could even sue Linus Torvalds personally. I'm sure someone with big pockets, possibly someone with big blue pockets, would step up to defend him almost instantly, though.

That being said, yes, that's been a part of Microsoft's strategy all along. Microsoft has intimated this themselves, while simultaneously explicitly denying it. Either it or another puppet like SCO will step up and sue somebody over patent violations in Linux.

All I gotta say is this: You know that aforementioned someone with big blue pockets? Yeah, that someone happens to be the largest patent holder in the world and happens to have invested large sums of money into Linux as their primary OS strategy for the next several years. I'm guessing they still won't be playing nice.

Re:Patents (2, Insightful)

One Louder (595430) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955996)

The GPL3 doesn't protect against patent claims by entities that have not distributed the particular code released under that license.

Pragmatism/idealism (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21954936)

A lot of people characterise Torvalds as being pragmatic as opposed to Stallman's idealism, but Stallman is pragmatic too, he just looks further ahead than Torvalds. This short-sightedness doesn't pay off. Stallman warned about the BitKeeper problem, but Torvalds didn't do anything about it until the situation blew up in his face. The FSF started requiring a paper trail for GNU contributions, Torvalds didn't follow their lead until SCO started suing.

I'm not a fan of GPLv3, but I can't understand why people consistently deride Stallman and worship Torvalds. Stallman is consistently proven right.

Re:Pragmatism/idealism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955760)

Using GNU/HURD much lately?

Re:Pragmatism/idealism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955936)

When Linux was released, it went from being a necessary component of GNU to a nice-to-have experiment. Why do you think HURD is relevant?

Re:Pragmatism/idealism (1)

Kilz (741999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956094)

Using GNU/HURD much lately?
As a matter of fact , all most everyone using Linux uses part of it. The HURD kernel was the last part to be completed. Without the GNU/HURD project the rest of the software that the Linux kernel interacts with (everything but the Linux kernel) would not have existed at the time it was needed.
Stallman saw the need for a free operating system. Its just the project chose a difficult to perfect design for its kernel.
But he has shown an uncanny ability to see what is needed way before others. Granted for other reasons the Linux kernel will most likely not move to gplv3. But I cant help but feel that it is going to come back to haunt the Linux kernel in the long run.

Re:Pragmatism/idealism (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955952)

I'm not a fan of GPLv3, but I can't understand why people consistently deride Stallman and worship Torvalds. Stallman is consistently proven right.
I don't think they deride Stallman to side with Linus at all. I think it is more of a situation where they don't see Stallman as being sane and already reside were Linus.

I remember some time long ago where I took a stand to find that others supported the same as me too. Now the question might be did we come to this conclusion all by ourselves? Did people take my stand and adopt it as their own then present it as their own? Or did we just unify around people who had similar opinions. I think it was more of the last then any of the formers.

And to this not, I think the siding with Linus is because he makes so much sense compared to Stallman. If you aren't already a subscriber to the Church of Stallman, he is a little hard to swallow.

Re:Pragmatism/idealism (0)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956362)

Richard sat down sometime in the early 1980's and forecast the world we'd have today and its problems. This was an astounding feat. Big companies try to find CEOs who can do that and pay them Millions. We have one who works for free. A lot of us won't listen to him, but that's often because he is too far ahead of us for us to understand.

Richard has his failings too. But if you watch him over a period of years, it becomes clear that he's right over and over again.

Bruce

No choice in the matter (3, Informative)

Random BedHead Ed (602081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21954944)

Statements like these are not new. Linus has been avoiding GPL 3 for a while now, even though he says he likes the final license better than some of the early drafts. It's really all to obscure the fact that he can't change the license even if he wanted to. He would have to control the copyrights for all contributed code in order to switch from GPL 2 to any other license, including GPL 3. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your option of the new revision) he does not have the power to do this.

Re:No choice in the matter (1)

bmartin (1181965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955462)

They really should look into this issue. Switching to a license is one thing; being bound to a license is another.

It'd be nice to having mandatory submission under specific terms that allowed a voting body to decide on the license the code would be released under, so that if at some point the majority of the contributors wanted to migrate to v3, they could migrate all of the code instead of only their own portions. Unfortunately, establishing something like that would require all submitters of code to approve, and surely that'd be a big investment and probably impossible.

The GPLv2 is a very fitting license for Linus' intentions, but who's to say that something more fitting won't be drafted in the future? This is a small cause for concern.

Linux license could be changed easily (5, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955924)

Would you please stop propogating that misinformation? Linus could change the license in one month, if he wanted to. It doesn't matter how many copyright holders are absent or dead. All he has to do is publish in a legal notice his intent and a clear means for any copyright holder in opposition to request removal of their work.

A license change (alteration of the terms of the GFDL) was recently done for Wikipedia which is a much bigger problem than the kernel due to the fact that it has tens of thousands of times as many copyright holders. FSF cooperated. It proceeded very quietly.

Bruce

Re:Linux license could be changed easily (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956366)

All he has to do is publish in a legal notice his intent and a clear means for any copyright holder in opposition to request removal of their work.

That's a super idea! Hey, Sony BMG, I'm going to rip off all your Britney Spears back catalogue unless you tell me not to. Bruce said it would be OK. Yeah, Bruce Perens. What do you have to say to that, Sony?

Re:Linux license could be changed easily (0)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956446)

Tee hee. Sony says don't, silly. Sony is not engaged in community development with you and has not submitted to a collective work you manage.

Bruce

Re:Linux license could be changed easily (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956384)

Exactly how legal would that be? I certainly could take a RIAA song, advertise that I am changing the copyright notice and license to a creative commons license and state if you don't object in 2 months it will be final. I mean I couldn't do that could I? The copyright belongs to the people that the government claims owns it. This is either the original author, the company he works for or someone else that was assigned the copyright. You or I can't just make up our own rules and change aspects of it.

I know, there are a lot of people thinking, well, they have done it before and Music isn't the same as software copyright and software licenses. So lets change out the RIAA music to MS word and lets take the license into consideration.

Do you, or anyone else, think it is proper to usurp a license that proclaims to get all it's power from copyright and at the same time, usurp copyright law is a viable way to get another license that proclaims all it's strength is derived from copyright law too? Is this really a goos idea to start the protection of something off by basically swindling the authors and legitimate copyright holders? How well would you expect the second license to hold up in court when someone violates something directly related to the GPLv3?

And If it is ok for us to do this with GPLv2 licensed software where the ability to automatically upgrade the license has been removed, the what is to stop the BSD folks from doing the same with GPLed software? Well lets put this more clearly, what is to stop the project leaders of any GPLed program from doing the same and switching it to a BSD license against the wished of the authors who haven't kept up with the project?

Copyrighted software isn't in the public domain. You cannot usurp the validity of the copyright or the copyright holders wishes because you think it might fit your world view better. I am particularly surprised to hear this type of nonsense from you, a reported lawyer. I am just glad I am not one of your clients.

Makes sense (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955000)

Even if I think GPL3 is the way to go if you care for people not to partially "hijack" your project, for a kernel it seems sensible to use v2. What about a networked box using a gpl3 TCP/IP stack? Wouldn't the use of the box define if it's legal or not? Too much of a hassle.

  I'd go for v2 or any later with the caveat that if you want to merge into official kernel it must be v2.

Anyway I'm likely missing all the problems with patents which could suggest going GPL3.

Not good enough anymore? (3, Insightful)

Rydia (556444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955016)

Wait, so GPL 2 is "locking code up?" Where were all these people who had strong anti-GPL 2 sentiments before 3 was released? Was it not good enough then, or are we just angry because the FSF is telling us to be?

Re:Not good enough anymore? (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955290)

Wait, so GPL 2 is "locking code up?"
It's not that the GPLv2 is a bad license--it is a great license. The question is whether the GPLv3 is better (and if so, then why not use it?).

Where were all these people who had strong anti-GPL 2 sentiments before 3 was released?
They were discussing the shortcomings of v2 prior to v3 being created (in fact, it was because of those discussions that v3 was born). One can be pro-GPLv2 but still think of ways to improve it, by the way. The complaints used examples like TiVo (extending code, but preventing end-users from exercising freedom to tinker), web-services (making derivative code, but not releasing changes since users didn't directly download copies of code), patent deals (breaking the spirit of the GPL by using out-of-band patent deals to prevent others from using derivative code), and so on.

Now, regardless of whether or not you agree with these particular points (I agree with some, not others), the fact is that the GPLv2 was good, but had identified weaknesses in the eyes of some people. The GPLv3 was thus created as an alternative for those who felt that GPLv2 didn't emphasize certain points strongly enough. It should also be noted that v3 cleans up some language in order to make it more modern and in light of experience in dealing with GPL licensing issues.

Was it not good enough then, or are we just angry because the FSF is telling us to be?
Your question is a red herring: GPLv2 is good, but GPLv3 may be better (for some people/uses).

Re:Not good enough anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21955376)

I'm confused. Are you bothered because you weren't paying attention and didn't notice a number of people locking Linux into devices and not allowing free open access? Personally I'm still pretty pissed about the whole SVEAsoft thing.

Re:Not good enough anymore? (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955616)

What GPLv2 does in spirit, GPLv3 does in spirit, but also in a court.

The Tivo example is not about the availability of source code, because that is a must, but about the ability to be able to change the source code. Tivo violated the spirit of GPLv2 when they created their device in such a way that it can only run their signed versions (and their users can't have the key). The problem is that this aspect of the license is not really enforceable in a court, so thus GPLv3 was created. It just spells out specifically that the Tivo case is prohibited with GPL licensed code, because it blocks your freedom to modify code.

Re:Not good enough anymore? (2, Insightful)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955880)

It doesn't block your freedom to modify the code at all. Load it up and modify it. Compile it. Run it. You are free to do all of that because of GPLv2. The only thing you CAN'T do is run it on a specific piece of hardware.

Re:Not good enough anymore? (1)

muuh-gnu (894733) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956506)

> The only thing you CAN'T do is run it on a specific piece of hardware.

You cant do it on probably the only piece of hardware it runs on. Whats the point of a piece of software, if you cant run it on the hardware it is intended to run on? What if not only TiVo did this, but, well, _every single_ PC manufacturer out there? You would have free software everywhere, but couldnt run it anywhere. Well, you could run it, but only in the way the manufacturer intended to. What kind of "freedom" would that be? Isnt exactly that what MS does with it's "shared source"?

You seem to forget how the GPL evolved. It started with a printer driver RMS wanted to customize but was denied the source code. What would have helped him, if the manufacturer gave him the source code, when he, if tivoisation were common back then, wouldnt be able to run his customization to do his work? Appart to being able to study it, the code would be pretty much useless for what its primarily intended to. The freedom to "change and run" was one of the basic four GPL freedoms from the very beginnings, and is the same in relation to "run", as is "change and distribute" in relation to "distribute".

Political decision (1)

Pipaman (1172207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955094)

Torvalds' decision is only political and would not change the scenary unless other actors follow the same way.

Torvalds throws weight around (1)

ifknot (811127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955112)

Just in case you forgot who wrote the monolith. "I ... I want to do... I think we(sic) want to do much, much better than Version 3" All These Worlds Are Yours Except Europa

As Tonto would say... (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21955556)

"I want to pick the licence that makes the most sense for what I want to do. And at this point in time, Version 2 matches what I think we want to do much, much better than Version 3,"

"I", or "we", Linus?

In the words of the great Tonto, "What do you mean WE, white man?"

Linux creator Linus Torvalds has used an interview being made public by the Linux Foundation

Superbanana has used a posting being made by Slashdot to complain about the lack of editorial skills on the Slashdot staff...yeesh.

gpl3 seems to say... (1)

TheRealZeus (1172755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21956062)

..you'll be free whether or not you like it!
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