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Torvalds Describes DRM and GPLv3 as 'Hot Air' 420

Posted by Zonk
from the where-there-is-smoke dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In Sydney this week for the annual Linux conference, Linus Torvalds has described DRM and the GPL as 'hot air' and 'no big deal'. From the interview: 'I suspect — and I may not be right — but when it comes to things like DRM or licensing, people get really very excited about them. People have very strong opinions. I have very strong opinions and they happen to be for different reasons than many other people. It ends up in a situation where people really like to argue — and that very much includes me... I expect this to raise a lot of bad blood but at the same time, at the end of the day, I don't think it really matters that much.'"
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Torvalds Describes DRM and GPLv3 as 'Hot Air'

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  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:36AM (#17629136) Homepage Journal

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

  • Re:Shows it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jackharrer (972403) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:38AM (#17629162)
    At the same time there is a chance that DRM will collapse under it's own weight. People are annoyed with it, especially iTunes users. I know few non-geek ones that started researching into the subject because they changed iPod for different player. We will see what future brings.
  • Re:Shows it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:42AM (#17629224) Journal

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

    You didn't RTFA did you?

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

    How is that point not valid?

  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:44AM (#17629258) Homepage
    All he is saying is that if people want to write DRM then thats up to them and no doubt he also thinks that if people wish to use it then thats up to them too.

    Having a "moral responsibility to intervene when you see someone doing something wrong" has got nothing whatsoever to do with it.
  • by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:47AM (#17629312) Homepage Journal
    You're mearly trading one person's freedom for another's. I'm with Linus on this one (woh, there's something that doesn't happen often!) The whole GPLv3 VS DRM arguement is full of blowhards on either side of the road. GPL will not end DRM any more than the DRM limitations will end GPL.

    -Rick
  • *Not* pragmatic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:48AM (#17629332)

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

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

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

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

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

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:48AM (#17629334) Homepage Journal
    So, ya know, if people want to run sweatshops then that's up to them and no doubt, if people wish to work in sweatshops then that's up to them too.

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

    Grow up.
  • He May Be Right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WED Fan (911325) <akahige&trashmail,net> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:50AM (#17629364) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by pr0nbot (313417) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:50AM (#17629370)
    Maybe Linus is one of those people for whom it will only matter very much when it bites him in the ass and it's too late to do anything about it.
  • by avalys (221114) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:52AM (#17629402)
    And the user is free not to use products with DRM.

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

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

  • by MysticOne (142751) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:54AM (#17629436) Homepage
    I disagree. If you're at a store and notice that a customer keeps distracting the cashier, then proceeds to take a dollar or two from the cash drawer, you have a moral responsibility to either point it out to the cashier, contact the authorities, etc. Ignoring it makes you complicit in the act.

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

    I really respect Linus for what he's done for Linux. I don't think it's appropriate for people to always look to him for guidance on such things, because he's consistently pointed out that he isn't an activist on any issues with which the FOSS community concerns itself. But, this isn't because he has some sort of superior view on the issues at hand. He simply doesn't care. So why don't we stop looking to Linus for answers here, and stop being disappointed by his views, and continue to fight the fight without him.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:56AM (#17629468)
    ...but I don't think he has the legal understanding and I don't think he understands why the content industry is pushing DRM (hint: it's not because of piracy).

    That is why I take Torvald's world on any programming issue related to the kernel and support RMS's position when it comes to freedom, content industry issues. While RMS may not be legally trained, he realises that and has a team that is competent in legal matters. Of course Linus is entitled to his opinion on these issues, but I believe that his take on it is harmful because it's the "famous people slightly connected to the issue seeming to be expert on the issue to the public" syndrome. He is no more competent in this case than the celebrities ridiculed by the bbc in a previous article.
  • by avalys (221114) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:57AM (#17629480)
    No - the difference is that not everyone sees DRM as such a critical moral issue.

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

    I see no moral issue with DRM-encumbered products. If you don't like DRM, you don't have to buy them.
  • I'm no fan of DRM, but comparing the inability to play a song on every player made to the plight of working 12-14 hours per day, every day, in dangerous facilities, from the time you're 6 till you die, is offbase.
  • Re:Shows it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lazerf4rt (969888) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:01PM (#17629566)

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

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

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

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

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

  • by zotz (3951) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:02PM (#17629572) Homepage Journal
    "Whether or not one agrees with that view (I don't), that's freedom and it's Orwellian to declare that regulating voluntary choices is "freedom"."

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

    all the best,

    drew
  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:04PM (#17629608) Homepage
    he also thinks that if people wish to use it then thats up to them too
    I agree and I'm sure even RMS agrees. If people want to use DRM, let them use it. The trouble is that many people don't want to use DRM but are forced to, because it's part of the software on their computer and they cannot change that software.

    Even if the software is GPL'd and so meant to be free, you might be unable to change it (whether to remove DRM or anything else) because of 'trusted' keys and signing. That's what GPLv3 aims to fix.
  • by spiritraveller (641174) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:07PM (#17629666)
    I will give one thing to Linus. He is right that there is a lot of hot air involved. That's because people (including him) miss the point about DRM and the GPL.

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

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

    DRM (or at least, that part of it that I've described) is a loophole that should be closed. We are not talking about "someone's right to create programs that use DRM". We are talking about someone's right to modify **your** code, while preventing further modification by others. That's one of the core rights that the GPL is meant to preserve.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:13PM (#17629770) Journal
    if people want to run sweatshops

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

    -jcr

  • Re:Shows it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:15PM (#17629806) Homepage
    Good technology will prevail, yes... but if DRM manages to turn Linux into a system where most people have to pay to get code signed so that it'll actually run, I think many of the developers will disappear from the inside. Creating a free OS in your spare time? Cool. Being free labor for a DRM company in your spare time? Not cool.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:15PM (#17629810) Homepage
    This is what is happening in the world of GPL 3, when looking in from the sidelines. GPL 3 are the silky bonds that when all is said and done, could bind us tighter than any EULA developed by Microsoft

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

    Attempting to marginalize free (as in freedom) software benefits no one. I would argue it actually reduces innovation and overall public benefit that computers/software bring to a society.
  • Re:*Not* pragmatic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:23PM (#17629940) Homepage
    Another example: the GNU project has required contributers to sign copyright waivers on the code their contribute, or have their employers do it if necessary. If Torvalds had done this from the start, half of the things SCO were complaining about to the press would have been more readily rebutted and easier to face in court. But Torvalds didn't bother with this until it was too late either.

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

    Handing over copyright is handing over all control. If the FSF goes beserkoid either making a completely impossible GPLv4 or decide to release it as public domain, you'll probably have no recourse. That's definately only for the true believers, if you ask me.
  • Try a better grade of stuffing for your straw man, sunshine. DRM is something that you can buy or not, nobody's got a gun to your head. It's not a moral issue, period.

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

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:25PM (#17629992) Homepage Journal
    wtf? People *choose* to work in sweatshops too ya know. Why do they do that? Because their is little choice otherwise. Are you trying to suggest that in the brave new future of DRM'd media we're going to have ample opportunity to buy media that is not DRM'd? What world have you been living in?

  • Re:Shows it... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:27PM (#17630020)
    Another one is China: they don't even care about DRM. But who produces most of electronics? Who sets the prices?

    If China doesn't care about DRM - why have both their attempts to compete with HD-BLU-DVD-RAY included DRM? First, the apparently dying on the vine EVD and now the HD-FVD [theinquirer.net] system?
  • Re:*Not* pragmatic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by T-Ranger (10520) <jeffw AT chebucto DOT ns DOT ca> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:07PM (#17630794) Homepage
    Another example: the GNU project has required contributers to sign copyright waivers on the code their contribute, or have their employers do it if necessary. If Torvalds had done this from the start, half of the things SCO were complaining about to the press would have been more readily rebutted and easier to face in court. But Torvalds didn't bother with this until it was too late either.


    So far as I know, Linus still doesn't have such a requirement. But in any event, you can only call one way right and one way wrong if you have something to measure them against. The rational for the FSF is that it would give them legal standing in court. IANAL, but I would imagine that just about any Kernel contributor could, alone, have some standing in court - it would be another hearing, sure - and might be a problem if another hacker is on the other side. But any event, the claim wouldn't just be ignored.

    The FSF have the requirement because they think they know best, and they want the ease any potential legal burden on them. Linux doesn't have that requirement, first because Linus was just a pragmatic undergrad, but Im sure he would say now, because he wants it that way. He wants there to be confusion, and mob rule. He wants it to be decentralized and loosely associated. One might potentially sue the FSF, they are a solid target. You cant sue "the Linux kernel". You sue, as you said, IBM. But IBM has lots of lawyers, so they can take care of themselves.

    The FSF is a political group with political goals surrounding software. Controlling the software, and giving it away under very specific conditions, is a means for their political goals. The Linux kernel is a software project, with the goal of producing the Linux kernel. That goal seems to be well met under the current system of very loose political/legal structure.

    As for these wavers helping the SCO case, the SCO case needs little help. Its taking a long time, because thats just how fast the legal system works. IBM would have had the tightest code-release policies of anyone, their internal and existing controls are much stricter then anything that the FSF may want. The allegation was - in short - that IBM released code belonging to SCO into the Linux kernel. IBM having papers filed somewhere saying "We own this code, and we give it to you" would have stopped that not at all. And besides, all the source files are explicitly or implicitly marked as "We own this, and give it to you under the GPL". Either way, its exactly the same to SCO.
  • by kscguru (551278) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:12PM (#17630908)
    If you're at a store and notice that a customer keeps distracting the cashier,

    The idea that you have a moral authority to force others to accept their rights is completely - and utterly - wrong. In your store analogy, I don't know if your robber is armed - and if I'm with somebody important to me, I have a moral responsibility to NOT notice, because interfering puts my somebody at risk. To go back to DRM, I do not have any moral responsibility to educate my users about the "evils" of DRM, particularly if I happen to believe that DRM is useful and necessary in some cases.

    I don't need Big Brother watching over my shoulder and telling me to assert my rights. And I find it ironic, and very saddening, that Free Software tries so hard to invade my life and demand I accept rights that I reject - and worse, tell me I should demand others accept those rights via GPLv3. Sure, I can pick a difference license - this is exactly what Linus has done by retaining GPLv2. And it's entirely hypocritical to call him apathetic for taking the same action you suggest I take.

  • by TheNetAvenger (624455) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:13PM (#17630932)
    Maybe he is right...

    I see thousands of posts when someone mentions DRM, how much it is misunderstood by the mainstream users, and how evil it is always assumed to be.

    And then I see the SAME people post how they love their iPod and fill it with DRM Apple songs that are not only lock them into Apple, but lock them into iTunes and lock them into an iPod for the rest of their life since they can't put the music they have bought on any other device.

    What I don't understand, is how the same people can scream about DRM and then fall into one of the biggest DRM traps that ever existed.

    DRM truly isn't a big deal, consumers have a choice and there are also places that DRM works because it is handled in a reputable way. One example of DRM that doesn't jump on users is audible.com.

    Again the biggest problem with DRM is the misunderstanding of it by the non-geeks. I have had people read an article on DRM in Vista, and then say things like they would never buy Vista because they couldn't download movies anymore or get files off a torrent - all which is not true, as the Vista DRM is not any different than the Windows Media DRM in all previous versions of Windows.

    If people here truly hate DRM for the right reasons, then they should protest Apple and demand that users do not buy iPods or OSX, the two most DRMed products currently in existence.

  • Meta-thought (Score:4, Insightful)

    by redelm (54142) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:14PM (#17630956) Homepage
    One of the most admirable things about Linus is his ability to elevate to meta-thought (thinking about thinking) along with a very healthy dose of self-skepticism. I like that because it's most likely to solve problems. If simple on-topic thinking could solve a given problem, it would have long ago. New -different- ideas and perspectives are needed. Meta-thought is one avenue.

    I tend to deplore DRM. But I also agree that GPLv3 won't stop it. The value of the GPL codebase above BSD and above the cost of proprietary code just isn't that great: neoTivo would just go BSD if not MS-proprietary.

    DRM will stand or fall one-by-one as users accept the deals offered. Or reject them. The iPOD is currently the biggest successful implementation of DRM. Consumers apparently accept the deal, irrespective of RMS' dire warnings.

  • by RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:17PM (#17631004) Homepage Journal
    You cannot possibly be that naïve. Piracy may be real and may provide the excuse for tightening DRM, but make no mistake, DRM is *ultimately* about perpetuating a market for new hardware & replacement media, locking the market into proprietary formats like wma, wmv, rm, and m4a, and maintaining monopoly control of the distribution channel for digital media (yes, 'channel' is intentionally in the singular form).

    Look at the details of LimeWire's lawsuit with the RIAA, look at the history of FairPlay, PlaysForSure, and the Zune, look at the PERFORM act -- which could well end up legislatively prohibiting Linux users from receiving internet radio broadcasts.

    I know Slashdotters have a tendency to minimize piracy as a real motivation for the RIAA's actions, but while piracy may actually be a nontrivial motivator, stopping it is not the end game. There are many more dollars to be made by manipulating the future frequency with which you buy new equipment, operating systems, software & replacement content than by stopping piracy now. Media companies are not concerned with what their legal and moral rights are, as these don't have near the investment value that an equipment, content & delivery oligopoly does.
  • He isn't confusing. He wrote code. He wants people to be able to do whatever they want with that code, so long as they keep the source available. That is pretty simple, and the GPLv2 meets his wants.

    Some people write some code, and they want people to be able to do whatever they want with that code, so they put it in the public domain.

    Some people write some code, and they want people to be able to modify and run the code, so long as they keep the code available and don't restrict others from using modified versions of that code on the hardware that they sell, so they will use GPLv3.

    Linus is concerned with control of the code. The GPLv3 guys are concerned with control of the hardware that the code runs on.
  • by ink (4325) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:39PM (#17631398) Homepage

    They're just going to get Congress to mandate it, and that will be the end of the discussion.

    But then again, it will affect congressmen and their families/friends. They will sit down to use a new piece of technology and become frustrated with the artificial limitations. This will become more prevelant as the baby boomers move out of office and younger generations move in. The knife will cut both ways, and will probably end up being its own undoing.

    I agree with Linus; there is a problem, but its not as bad as we imagine.

  • I've not had any trouble ripping DVD's, MP3's, watching content and all of that stuff.

    But since the DMCA prohibits your owning or using a software product designed to break copyright protection, you are arguably breaking federal law every time you rip a DVD. That's not a problem? Someday your actions (to which you have confessed publicly here on slashdot) could be used to persecute you.

    To cut a long story short, everything does what it needs to do, and with the right warez I am not restricted in my personal freedom at all.

    Not yet. Meanwhile you're making an investment in Windows with both knowledge (mostly time spent) and money (products that you have purchased which are compatible with windows but not a Free operating system) and when Windows changes over to be even more restrictive, to require a trusted computing module and the like, you will now have to give up those investments (some of the hardware and less of the software will work) if you want to move to another platform.

    Just because the restrictions aren't affecting you yet, that doesn't make them not restrictions and they can still affect you in the future.

    You have to break the law to exercise your rights. Is that really acceptable or reasonable? Do you really think that Fascism is a thing for other places?

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:04PM (#17631878) Homepage Journal
    You, and most other people who have replied to me, seem to be stuck in this "consume consume consume" mode of culture. No wonder you don't mind DRM, as consumption is the only thing DRM allows.
  • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:08PM (#17631934) Homepage
    See, that's the problem - you can't compete with those who work their people to the bone. It's called the "race to the bottom." It relies on the existence of borders and pure distance, which prevents workers from relocating to places where labor conditions are better - as well as the fact that as long as consumers don't see the working conditions, they will shop driven by the pocket book (and resist any tariffs that raise the prices of goods coming from places with inadequate labor laws.)

    The growth of the Chinese manufacturing sector is, indeed, a good thing. But your justification of globalization falls on the fact that, absent some tariff structure, there will always be a competitive disadvantage to pay a decent wage as long as there's one country, somewhere, where they don't. Your "50 years" claim is really as much of an act of quasi-religious faith as the old Communist promises of a worker's paradise and the withering away of the state.
  • Re:Shows it... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hotdiggitydawg (881316) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:15PM (#17632050)

    If China doesn't care about DRM - why have both their attempts to compete with HD-BLU-DVD-RAY included DRM?
    Because they'll never officially get the Western content (and thus the Export bucks) without at least a token attempt.
  • by electrosoccertux (874415) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:32PM (#17632354)
    Hey, nice red herring [wikipedia.org].

    I'll play along:

    I'm no fan of Forced Labor, but comparing the inability to have leisure and spend the time as you see fit to the plight of being tortured to death, is offbase.

    As a matter of fact:

    I'm no fan of _______, but comparing the inability to _________________, is offbase.

    Isn't it fun? We can sidestep the whole argument at hand as long as we say "well at least it's not as bad as Hitler". I wonder if this could be something Godwin was hinting at.

    But seriously, if DRM infects Linux, then we give up the very thing that started the GNU/Linux movement(*), namely an interest in free (as in freedom) software. DRM will not exist in an open source form (I don't know if it even could myself) because the media companies will have their cake and eat it too, or they'll die trying to. They're a lot like terrorists-- you can't expect them to make what we could call rational decisions--70 virgins if you blow yourself up, wtf--so they only option is complete truncation of anything and everything they influence. Anything but only hurts more than it benefits.
  • by Nahor (41537) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @03:31PM (#17633438)
    But he is certainly against people making closed source software out of his GPLed software.

    Yes he is. Like I'm pretty sure that if he was making hardware, it would be GPLed (or equivalent) too. But that doesn't mean that he wants to force everybody to use an open source license for what ever they create. In the case of the TiVo example, TiVo made the hardware from scratch, they didn't use a GPL design, so he accepts that they want to use a DRM scheme, even if he doesn't agree on the principle. That's the one of the big differences between him and Stallman.

    It's about preventing people from circumventing your goals when you share your code

    What is Linus's goal? I think his goal is to make his software available for all, so that people can look how things are done, can modify it as they wish, can use is as they want, etc... But it's not about forcing companies to allow modified versions of the software to run their hardware, that they designed, that they manufactured. That is Stallman's goal. They just have different opinions.

    And in the case Linus, it's not a contradiction to have a GPL software and allow manufacturers to use a DRM scheme to prevent modified version of his software from running on their hardware.

  • Both. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:18PM (#17634400) Homepage Journal
    It's both: it makes legitimate activities difficult to do, but rarely makes actually illegal ones impossible. So it doesn't accomplish its stated purpose, and fails to accomplish it at the cost of inhibiting legitimate activities. As an example, it will probably never be impossible for a skilled person to copy a movie, or move their audio from one device to the next; however it may not be within the reach of most people. They'll be left repurchasing their media, without regard to traditional fair use. And in their pursuit of locking users into pay-per-view business models, DRM systems will also drive more tightly controlled, black-box hardware.

    DRM is flawed and will always be broken, but not easily; it will probably always be obnoxious and intrusive, and the continuing arms race between DRM-builders and DRM-breakers is destructive, and may have a lot of "collateral damage" (not to mention a waste of time and skill that could be profitably spent elsewhere).

    But to be honest, the problem of DRM is really only a symptom of a far greater problem, which is the influence that industries (in particular, the entertainment industry) have on government. I would be ready to just let the DRM/anti-DRM war play itself out on the technological front, except that there's no way that it's going to stay there: as new DRM systems fail, the media lobby is going to look to the government to shore up the failed technology with draconian legislation. Those laws will have effects far beyond any single DRM system, or virtually anything that either the content industry or the anti-DRM programmers could do by themselves.

    That we have entities other than natural (in the "natural persons" sense) U.S. citizens contributing money to politicians and their campaigns is absolutely ridiculous. So if you want to look for hypocrisy, just find a politician railing against 'corruption' in one moment, while begging for cash from lobbyists in the next.
  • The Right to Read (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <{tepples} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @04:39PM (#17634876) Homepage Journal

    If you don't even have the right to get an education and let others borrow your textbooks [gnu.org], how is digital restrictions management not a crime against humanity?

  • equal access to education.
    There comes a point where DRM interferes with education [gnu.org].
  • Re:Where? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @05:30PM (#17635966)
    You also have to sleep at night knowing none of your money is going toward the artist or record labels who actually created the music.
  • Oh, ok. I'll just suffer some marginal injustices to myself, since other people have it worse. Thanks for clearing that up!
  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @10:30PM (#17640446) Journal
    I'm no fan of DRM, but comparing the inability to play a song on every player made to the plight of working 12-14 hours per day, every day, in dangerous facilities, from the time you're 6 till you die, is offbase.

    How about imprisoning someone for breaking the DRM and playing the song anyway? Is that off base?

    In any case do you REALLY think DRM technology will only be useful and used by media content companies? It's a tool to restrict and will be used in other matters including those to do with life and death.

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