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Linux Software

Linus Warms (Slightly) to GPL3 234

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-only-a-very-little dept.
lisah writes "Though Linus Torvalds isn't exactly tripping over himself to endorse the GPLv3 draft, he continues to warm up to it little by little and says the newest version is 'a hell of a lot better than the disaster that were the earlier drafts.'"
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Linus Warms (Slightly) to GPL3

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  • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:36PM (#19466851)
    "if Sun really _is_ going to release OpenSolaris under GPLv3, that _may_ be a good reason. I don't think the GPLv3 is as good a license as v2, but on the other hand, I'm pragmatic, and if we can avoid having two kernels with two different licenses and the friction that causes, I at least see the _reason_ for GPLv3."

    I wasn't even aware Sun was considering GPLv3 for OpenSolaris. So it'll be interesting to see how that pans out. Remember GPL isn't just for gnu/linux, but MANY projects on many platforms and operating systems.

  • by liquidpele (663430) on Monday June 11, 2007 @12:58PM (#19467147) Journal
    It's just another license that goes further than the GPL did.

    BSD License: Use our code, but keep our names in the source.
    GPL2 License: Use our code, but give back your code too.
    GPL3 License: Use our code, give back your code, and do not use DRM or Patents to restrict your code or derivative program in any way.

    It just depends on the programmer's preference. I like GPL v2 still personally. It gives companies incentives to help out, where I think v3 makes the GPL less attractive to companies which will hurt it in the long run imho. A company can't put time and money into helping a project when a competitor can then just use those changes, or worse yet new companies arise because you just removed any barrier to entry that might have existed.
  • Question :S (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rupert0 (885882) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:21PM (#19467411) Homepage Journal
    If the kernel developers don't move to GPLv3, are they going to stay with GPLv2 or will they eventually release a new license? LGPL (Linux GPL)?
  • It's not a non-issue (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Luft08091950 (1101097) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:28PM (#19467491)
    "And please, lets not bring up Novell/MS again... This is non-news. Lets not get worked up into a frenzy over it."

    I don't think the Novell/Microsoft deal is a non-issue. If taken in context it clearly shows one of the strategies Microsoft is taking in an effort to destroy its competition.

    Microsoft floated a balloon with the SCO litigation. I have no doubt that if investigated it would come out that Microsoft encouraged SCO and helped fund the lawsuit.

    Let's look at the strategy for a second.
    1. Offer a license for IP that is never specified.
    2. If people don't pay protection money sue. Again without specificity.
    3. Never enumerate your claims in a way that allows the Open Source community to challenge those claims or modify the offending code.

    Let's look at the Microsoft Strategy now:
    1. Offer a cross licensing deal for IP that is never specified.
    2. If people don't pay the protection money then???
    3. Never enumerate your claims in a way that allows the Open Source community to challenge those claims or modify the offending code.

    Point number three is telling. Microsoft is not interested in having the code fixed if there are legitimate claims. They want Open Source and Linux in particular to die. Once again they seek to DESTROY their competition.

    These patent covenants that they are seeking is a very BIG deal.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:57PM (#19467787) Homepage Journal

    Yes, because Sun would be so upset if someone used their free software in another free software operating system. Or if someone put another free operating system's code in their free operating system.

    I don't think so. That really doesn't make a lot of sense. Sun presumably wants the best operating system it can get, and if that's a frankenstein-like Linux/SunOS hybrid, then that's what they want.

  • by (1108067) on Monday June 11, 2007 @01:58PM (#19467797) Homepage Journal

    It wouldn't be that big a deal to fork all the gnu tools.

    They're all licensed under v2 or later.

    While the copyrights have been assigned to the FSF, the original authors aren't employees of the FSF, and are free to fork their own code, same as you're free to fork it.

    If the kernel stays at v2, expect to see a lot of forks; RMS might want to go on and on about GNU/Linux, but the simple fact is that that GNU/HURD isn't ever going to be competition.

    Also, there's nothing in v3 that prevents you from using v3 tools to compile and build a v2 kernel. Same with openoffice - the book your writing using oo isn't automatically GPL'd. The gpl isn't "that" viral, and if an attempt is ever made to do so(a GPL v4 ???), it will be the end of any use of the GPL. After all, do you really want your email to be GPL'd, and having to make a copy of the source vailable for "distribution" if you've sent a binary attachment?

    IBM, Intel, and Sun all have compilers available, if push comes to shove. Come to think of it, so does Microsoft. Now THAT would be ironic.

  • by yorugua (697900) on Monday June 11, 2007 @02:05PM (#19467869)
    Hmmm.. the man is saying:

    I still think GPLv2 is simply the better license.

    that translates to me as "No thanks, GPLv3". Also, the man says:

    All I've heard are shrill voices about "tivoization" (which I expressly think is ok)

    which that translates to me as : "Why would I move to a license that forbids what I think it's ok to do?". if that's correct, with all that in mind, then I'd say we are ready for a GPLv2 kernel/GPLv3&v2 userspace. Is that a problem?
  • by Znork (31774) on Monday June 11, 2007 @02:06PM (#19467875)
    I'd say it's more like:

    GPL2 License: Use our code, but give back your code too.

    GPL3 License: Use our code, but give back your code too. And quit trying to get cute, smartarse.

    "I think v3 makes the GPL less attractive to companies"

    Hardly. It makes trying to do end runs around the license less attractive. For those who intend to honor the letter and spirit of the GPL it makes no real difference.

    For honest companies recieving and using GPL code it serves to protect them against further submerged litigation mines. The only ones hurt are those intent on breaking the rules.

    "A company can't put time and money into helping a project when a competitor can then just use those changes"

    Yes they can. The time lead and expertise is enough to compete very well in an industry with rapid product turnover. They're getting _most of their code for free_, remember? The only resources they have to invest are their edge above the baseline.

    The competetive free market isnt about protecting ROI while you sit twiddling your thumbs. It's about allowing profit until cutthroat competition will catches up, thus enforcing a constant equilibrium of forced continous improvement or risking lost profits.

    The GPL enforces this cycle of rapid competitive improvements and subsequent baseline merges. This enforced free market, this protection from market control and monopoly inefficiency is what enables free software, just like a free market, to compete with, and even outcompete the protected markets with a fraction of the investment and resources.
  • by Sesostris III (730910) on Monday June 11, 2007 @03:41PM (#19469015)

    A quick query. Stallman at [] seems to imply that DVD players must be restriced by law (The DMCA). Is this so? If it is then, I can hardly see that Tivo are at fault for locking their product.

    Given this, I get the impression that Stallman's argument is that this is of no concern of his! Either GPLv3 code must be non-locked-down, or not used at all.

    Which is fair enough. Tivo will have to use software for which there is no restriction on them locking it down. Windows?

    Which begs the question; are there applications which, under law, it will not be possible to use GPLv3 code in implementing, in that to do so would be either to fall foul of the DMCA, or the GPLv3?

    Personally, I would rather Tivo used Linux, even if locked down, rather than Windows. Even if locked down, the source code would still be viewable (and auditable), whereas with windows...? Surely some freedom is better than none?

    Sesostris III

  • Re:interconnections (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ash Vince (602485) on Monday June 11, 2007 @03:55PM (#19469221) Journal
    Of course, had he picked a different license it's dubious that Linux would have gained any significant traction in the end.

    I'd love to hear your rationale for that statement. I thought alot of companies used linux because of the flexibility it offered. The flexibilty to base a product on it and save alot of effort of developing from scratch. I would have thought that if you get too fussy with regard to the licence and how the code can be used alot of companies will just run away for the sake of avoiding the legal issues, after all coders are cheaper than lawyers.

    Or alternatively they decide to risk it, throw the entire licence in the bin and challenge it on a technicality. They then throw huge amounts of money at it until they win. Even the most diehard fan of the US legal system must admit that this is at least a risk. I have certainly heard of more bizarre miscarriages of justice than a licence being binned simply because the people defending the licence were out spent in court.

    How exactly does IBM feel about the GPL3? Have they made any public announcements of even tacit support? In a previous slashdot debate someone told me that certain products not aimed at consumers would be exempt from the part of the licence that meant you had to open up your entire products source (with respect to google intranet search boxes - they also contain google proprietary algorithms so you are not allowed to even open the case). I would hate to have to argue in court what a product aimed at consumers was, especially against either Google or IBM's lawyers. And these are just two companies pulled off the top of my head. I bet there are other companies selling linux based devices that are certainly aimed at consumers like cell phones.

    The problem is that if a company already has a product in production but not quite on the market they may just risk launching it to see how much it makes. There would be plenty of people who would buy it regardless of it violating the GPL3 if they found it useful.
  • by Adult film producer (866485) <> on Monday June 11, 2007 @04:55PM (#19470219)
    "Funny how this real threat - contaminated coders - is being overlooked. 5 years from now, Microsoft will be in a position to get injunctions against any distro that uses code touched by them, based on tried and tested copyright law, not patents. That's a real danger"

    This fear has had me concerned about the Gnome Desktop project. IIRC Many of the gnome devs work at Novell (novell acquired Ximian a few years back.) So guys like Miguel De Icaza are blazing away on .NET and gtk/gnome and various other projects... has there been an investigation as to what harm they are potentially causing to these gpl works?
  • Re:Totally agree (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Short Circuit (52384) <> on Monday June 11, 2007 @08:24PM (#19472599) Homepage Journal

    I think that is good however, because it only *seems* that way. In the end, when GPL V3 has been in effect for a few years, has covered Linux, and has dealt some blows to unwilling device vendors that thought 'they could get away with it' - but also saw device vendors that will agree with conforming to the rules set forth by V3 - the (embedded) world will be a better place.
    Given the choice, then, embedded and mobile manufacturers will switch to Windows CE or Windows XP Embedded. In the last six months, I've encountered far more cases of embedded Windows than embedded Linux. In fact, I've only identified one case of embedded Linux, where I've identified at least fifteen classes of cases of embedded Windows across several major chains and hospitals.

    Frankly, this is ludicrous. Linux was a fairly mature embedded platform long before Microsoft came up with their offerings, yet Microsoft seems to have most of the market today. Then there's QNX, but the software for those systems isn't typically visible.

    If Linus switches the kernel to GPL v3, he'll be killing what hold Linux still has on mobile and embedded markets.

The goal of Computer Science is to build something that will last at least until we've finished building it.