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Linux Creator Calls GPLv3 Authors 'Hypocrites' 920

Posted by Zonk
from the family-fued dept.
AlexGr writes "We've heard conflicting tales regarding Linus Torvalds' acceptance of GPLv3. InformationWeek reports on comments by Mr. Torvalds that would seem to decide the issue: 'Torvalds said the authors of a new software license expected to be used by thousands of open source programmers are a bunch of hypocrites ... For Torvalds' part, it appears unlikely he'll ever adopt GPLv3 for the Linux kernel. He accused the Free Software Foundation leadership, which includes eccentric, MIT-trained computing whiz Richard Stallman, of injecting their personal morality into the laws governing open source software with the release of GPLv3. "Only religious fanatics and totalitarian states equate morality with legality," Torvalds wrote.'"
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Linux Creator Calls GPLv3 Authors 'Hypocrites'

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  • I for one..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:39PM (#19854011)
    ....have my tin hat on and am hiding under the desk to avoid this flamefest.
  • duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:40PM (#19854021) Journal
    "He accused the Free Software Foundation leadership, which includes eccentric, MIT-trained computing whiz Richard Stallman, of injecting their personal morality into the laws governing open source software with the release of GPLv3."

    Does this mean that Linus didn't understand that the FSF is a organization with specific goals based on the morals of it's members? It's kinda obvious.
  • I'm with Richard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:40PM (#19854025)
    His point of view represents all of the reasons why I left proprietary software and went with Linux.

    Ahem, GNU/Linux.

    The kernel can be replaced.

    The philosophy, which is 100% wholly accurate, cannot.
  • And this is news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:42PM (#19854061) Homepage
    We always knew that RMS is a zealot. I ran into him quite a bit in the 1980s. I could tell that then. While one may have thought it was a bit much then, now is it that radical? Companies are putting rootkits into computers in the name of DRM, sponsoring bills that allow copyright holders to hack into your system and destroy YOUR system with immunity -- if they think that you may have violated their copyright.

    Is GPL 3 that unreasonable given the behavior of the RIAA and MPAA of recent?
  • Damn! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:43PM (#19854067) Journal
    Say what you will about Torvalds or his stance on GPLv3, but one thing is unequivocal... the man doesn't hide behind corporatespeak. He just comes out and says it like he believes it is.

    If only CEO types would start doing that (w/o hiding behind an alias, that is)...

    ...well, a guy can dream, can't he?

    /P

  • Re:Fork? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:44PM (#19854077) Homepage Journal
    hehehe.. no, he can't. The GPL is not free for non-verbatim redistribution. If he wants to make a NEW copyleft license, from scratch, he can do that, but he can't fork the GPL.

    Linus has the problem in that he got involved with Free Software without actually "drinking the kool-aid" and now he doesn't like everyone expecting him to go along with the faith.

  • Attention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:45PM (#19854083)
    Could everybody get back to coding and kiss politics goodbye? WTF is everybody doing these days? It seems like every single programming in the world is now a politician... Long gone are the days where programming was considered a noble art of logics and things were so uncomplicated... Humans are a strange animal, indeed... Instead of producing more, we must complicate things and waste our valuable with egoistic intrigues, politics, strange licence deals, and... oh well...
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:45PM (#19854087) Journal
    Who cares what Linus has to say? It's readily apparent that the inevitable consequence will be a shift away from Linux kernel under GPL2 towards Solaris under GPL3.

    Linus is a tool. He goes on about how he picked his methodology because of efficiencies, not morality. But the fact of the matter is, other people have spent all this time assisting him because of the morality of the license. If they just wanted open-code efficiency, they would have went with the tried and true BSD license.

    Linus doesn't even write code anymore. If not for the perceived morality of having a kernel under the GPL, and the droves of developers who participated for that very reason, he would be a complete non-entity.

    Easy enough to mouth off at this point.
  • by asphaltjesus (978804) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:46PM (#19854097)
    Only religious fanatics and totalitarian states equate morality with legality

    The problem being laws are in many ways a kind of moral consensus.

    If I should ever make as big a contribution as he has I'll get to be just as opinionated and right. For now, the reasoning works out just fine in his head and I can see his point. BTW hopefully this quote wasn't taken out of context.

    Discuss amongst yourselves.
  • Re:duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:48PM (#19854111) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, it's so funny. I know, I'll use this GPL license for my software, it looks like a good way to get people to contribute changes back to me! Free Software? What's that? Oh, yeah, that's cool, not really my cup of tea though, thanks guys. What? Yeah, I'm going to keep using your license. WTF?

  • Context please? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MenTaLguY (5483) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:48PM (#19854125) Homepage
    Reading the article, my main impression was that I'd like to see Linus' quotes in context.

    Without seeing the context, in general I would say the core disagreement between RMS and Linus (setting aside the frivolous GNU/Linux naming thing) lies in their respective notions about morality: RMS believes it to be essentially objective, whereas Linus considers it a subjective concern. This seems to be another manifestation of that disagreement.
  • Re:duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nasarius (593729) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:50PM (#19854143)
    Pretty much. I don't see anything inconsistent or hypocritical about the license or its proponents. Linus will clearly keep using the GPL2, as that's the license everyone contributes to Linux under. But those who do want to inject some extra "morality" into their software license are free to do so.

    The ruler is not just a king, he's a God, so disagreeing with him is immoral, but it's also illegal, and you can get your head cut off," Torvalds continued
    That's moronic. If you don't like the license, don't use it. If someone else's code is licensed only under the GPL3...tough, it's not your code. Don't use it. Anyway, aside from GCC, there are plenty of BSD alternatives to most GNU projects. If many people don't like the license, they'll contribute to those instead, or fork an older GPL2 version.
  • Oh yeah? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Khaed (544779) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:54PM (#19854201)
    The kernel can be replaced.

    then why hasn't Stallman done it? ;)
  • by Chibi Merrow (226057) <mrmerrowNO@SPAMmonkeyinfinity.net> on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:54PM (#19854203) Homepage Journal

    Is GPL 3 that unreasonable given the behavior of the RIAA and MPAA of recent?
    Yes.

    Don't try to out-badguy corporate scum. They have budgets for it, you don't. Extending a software license to limit hardware manufacturers is ridiculous.

    Nevermind the fact that this has NOTHING to do with the RIAA and MPAA, will accomplish nothing vis a vis their war on piracy, and so I'm confused as to exactly why the hell you brought them up.

  • Re:Context please? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OriginalArlen (726444) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:00PM (#19854271)

    Reading the article, my main impression was that I'd like to see Linus' quotes in context.
    Reading the article, my main impression was that I'd like to see Linus' quotes... period. The article claims this was posted on a public list on 20th June, three or four weeks ago... but something tells me that if he'd posted this to the kernel list, it'd have been on Slashdot (and other sources) rather earlier than this. (No, I don't read LKLM myself.)

    Anyone got a link to a list archive somewhere?

  • Re:Darth Ar'Emess (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gangien (151940) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:01PM (#19854273) Homepage
    offtopic but isn't that statement ironic when obi Wan says it? isn't by saying that, he, himself using an absolute statement? :P
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:01PM (#19854275)
    He's a brilliant engineer, a witty person, but he's an idiot when it comes to freedom related issues and he displays what basically amounts to ignorance about the subject. GPLv3 is nothing more than GPLv2 with some loopholes closed. I often wonder how Linus ended up with GPLv2 in the first place?

    The contrast is striking because as an engineer he's brilliant, but he's absolutely lost as a long term thinker in relation to freedoms and morality. He'd make the worst leader in those matters.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:04PM (#19854319) Journal

    Is GPL 3 that unreasonable given the behavior of the RIAA and MPAA of recent?

    Good question, but one other pops up in response to it:

    Is exigency a good enough rationale for permanent change?

    In something more closely approaching English, I guess what comes to mind is this... If they're just doing it to defeat a present problem, then what of the future?

    Between road-to-hell pavement and the endless measure/countermeasure/measure games that companies (and malware writers) play, there is a danger of two things: First, that the GPL becomes a convoluted mess over large values of time in an attempt to patch every little hole that springs forth; that would make the thing impractical for programming use. Second, that something really awful gets discovered by a creative but perfectly legal interpretation of the changes.

    In all seriousness, I doubt that either would happen w/ GPLv3, but IMHO, we really shouldn't get into the habit of this...

    I grok the moral underpinnings, and appreciate the intentions, but there's still a nagging feeling at the back of my head that says if any more massive changes are made, then we'll be dancing right on the line that separates practicality from dogma. I believe Torvalds thinks that GPLv3 has already crossed it. Others prolly think that the line is still miles away (in either direction, if we count MSFT bigwigs).

    Perhaps someone needs to define that point where codifying philosophy will only bring diminishing returns? Like I said, IMHO I don't think we're quite there yet, but that the next iteration may well take us right past it.

    /P

  • by solcott (1002711) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:12PM (#19854403)
    What the crap!

    Do you people seriously believe anti-natalism is why Stallman has no children?

    I mean, I'm no stud-master myself but have you people SEEN [google.com] that guy?
  • Re:duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:17PM (#19854441) Homepage
    Considering the GPL starts with a non-legalese description of the moral philosophy behind the GPL, I find it hard to fathom how anyone could think the FSF was from the beginning "injecting their personal morality into the laws governing open source software". Duh, the whole existence of the Free Software movement and the GPL is due to RMS' moral views on software and the rights of users.

    And while I may not agree completely with the language of GPLv3, it still seems perfectly consistant with the moral view that RMS has been expressing since the 80s. Every new thing in GPLv3 is there to try to close a loophole that allowed someone to not grant the rights RMS believes users should have. I have no idea how Linus can call them hypocrits. I was with him more when he was simply saying that it was misguided.

    Linus is a smart guy, and he wisely avoids the morality/politics of the FSF most of the time. But he ain't perfect and his decisions to sacrifice principles for practicality can come back to bite him -- see Bitkeeper for a poignant example of how "choose the best tool for the job" but ignoring the license and how that affects the tool's usefulness is the wrong way to be pragmatic and apolitical.

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kriss (4837) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:18PM (#19854447) Homepage
    Who cares what Linus has to say? It's readily apparent that the inevitable consequence will be a shift away from Linux kernel under GPL2 towards Solaris under GPL3.

    Well, that depends on if you see it from a software activist point of view or from a make-a-living point of view. Either how, I think it's neither 'inevitable' nor 'readily apparent' that there'd be a lemming run away from Linux and sorry, that kind of rhetoric really doesn't achieve anything.

    Yes, you want to see things your way. This is a given for most, if not all, people - seeing things from their perspective. The trick is to accept that hey, someone else that is not me might also be right, despite a differing view..
  • Re:duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:21PM (#19854467)

    The use of the word "moral" isn't an invention of Linus, that's the word RMS uses to describe it himself. That means RMS is declaring himself a religious leader, which is patently absurd.
    Newsflash: morality does not require religion.
  • by kosmosik (654958) <kos@@@kosmosik...net> on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:22PM (#19854489) Homepage
    What is the problem here?

    RMS writes licence named GPLv3 - so what? Nobody is forced to use that license so I don't think there is a problem here. When somebody uses his license it is not his (RMS) fault. It is fault of the entity which choosed this license. Or isn't it?

    So basically Linus is yelling that if *I* use f.e. GPLv3 for *my* project it somehow not my fault but RMS?

    I don't get it. I must have not understood something since Linus usually speaks quite sane and I belive him.

    So again - somebody please explain what is the problem here?

    Is GPL version change really such a disaster?

    What should I care as Linux user?
  • need agreement (Score:1, Insightful)

    by kardar (636122) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:24PM (#19854501)
    Yup, Linus is right. I wouldn't call it a "rant", either - it's a logical exposition of cutting-edge principles.

    People will never agree on a personal level. Islamic states will tend to not find it "wrong" to slice off body parts as punishment. But we can make an international treaty that prevents amputation as punishment. You bypass the "right" or "wrong", "OK" or "not OK", and just make a law that says "We agree to not do this". It's pointless to require both parties to agree on a "personal" level, because if you do that, there will never be any agreement in the first place. You bypass the personal level, and just "use _pragmatic_". (for lack of better words).

    We're becoming accustomed to this kind of stuff with the war on drugs, for instance - trying to argue that marijuana use (or outright abuse) is less harmuful than alcohol abuse doesn't go very far with people who have "power". It's wrong, but the fact that you point out a truthful point just simply is irrelevant - you're disagreeing with the "whatever", so you might as well be (and perhaps probably are, as far as "they" are concerned) a pothead or a potential pothead which means you are by default wrong. Apply logic like that to a BIOS and you'd never boot anything.

    I think Linus hits the nail on the head. It's unfortunate, for instance, that it is difficult to have an OS be "mainstream" (online banking, college courses, etc...) if it's not an Apple or MS. Linux can't cross-license, no matter what. Novell can cross-license, Apple can cross-license - but neither Linux nor BSD can cross-license, because they are not "entities". Apple isn't cross-licensing patents that don't exist in BSD, they are cross-licensing their own patents that they have. Novell isn't cross-licensing patents that don't exist in Linux, they are cross-licensing patents that they have.

    Linux, _pure_ Linux, can't crosslicense. Because of this, lots of stuff doesn't "work", out-of-the-box.

    We all have hopes, we all have dreams. How we achieve them has a lot to do with our personal morality. Our perseverance, our unwillingness to give up even when others tell us we will fail...

    But the facts are the facts, and I am glad there are people like Linus around to remind us of those simple facts of life that we often tend to forget in a world where we are bombarded with nonsense.

  • by dclozier (1002772) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:25PM (#19854511)
    Perhaps Sun will really put Solaris under GPL3 knowing Linus wont be able to use the code in his GPL2 kernel? Sun would start gaining developers who are turning to GPL3 themselves while Linux gets left behind. I think one of the earlier sticking points was Sun being afraid that much of what makes Solaris Solaris would be pulled into Linux without Solaris gaining any new ground. With the licensing differences between kernels Solaris wouldn't have to worry about that.
  • by jopet (538074) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:41PM (#19854663) Journal
    Contrary to your post, Linus makes a lot of good points and actually supports his view with arguments. Good arguments in my opinion. The bottom line is that what you call "closing loopholes" is regarded by Linus as "taking away choice and freedom". You might not agree with him, but he has the right to that opinion and many (me included) tend to agree with him. That is what happens all the time in democracies: people struggle to somehow compromise on a common view of what is moral and that compromise eventually ends up to some extend in the legal system.
    The followers of GPLv3 tend to fanatically control each and every aspect so that nothing they do not like could ever happen in relation with any GPL-d software. Through this, they take away choice and that is exactly the hypocrisy that Linus mentions.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:43PM (#19854675)
    Linus wants Linux to be free that is why he used the GPL2, if one wants the software to be free one uses GPL2, if one wants the software+ to be free one uses the GPL3.

    I think the difference in their views can be seen in their politics. RMS is a liberal for a welfare state, and Linus is more of a libertarian. RMS wants to make choices for all of society, Linus wants to make choices for himself, and doesn't care what other people do as long as they respect the freedoms and restrictions he puts on his creation.

    RMS is trying to force his views on the rest of the GPL community. Linus doesn't have to go along, but it would cause alot of trouble if he didn't.
  • by phliar (87116) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:48PM (#19854729) Homepage

    Linus says, "I think it *is* ok to control peoples hardware. I do it myself."

    Ah, the problems with the passive voice. (That's why your writing teacher told you to avoid it.) OK for whom to control people's hardware?

    It's only OK to control hardware owned by you. It's not OK for Tivo (or the **AA) to control my hardware.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:48PM (#19854741) Homepage Journal

    The maximum amount of freedom is achieved simply by releasing software into the public domain, not by licensing through the GPL.
    The freedom granted in a simple all-permissive license, such as the license of FreeBSD, X11, or zlib, or (as you mention) an abandonment of copyright, includes the freedom to distribute a modified work in a way that takes away others' freedom. Sometimes this is acceptable, in which case a permissive license is best; other times it is not, in which case a copyleft license is best.

    That Stallman does not encourage this says much about his motivation.
    Even FSF admits in the GPL FAQ [gnu.org] that there is a time and place for permissive licenses.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by coaxial (28297) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:49PM (#19854749) Homepage

    Who cares what Linus has to say? It's readily apparent that the inevitable consequence will be a shift away from Linux kernel under GPL2 towards Solaris under GPL3.
    Only by the people that use HURD will switch. No one else gives a damn.

    No one is switching to Solaris, because Solaris is dying, if not dead already. The only reason why Sun has opened it up is because they're desperate. Their expensive hardware has been replaced with commodity components, and their expensive OS has been replaced with one that costs nothing to aquire, Linux. Opening Solaris is desperation move, just like Netscape opening Navigator, only OpenSolaris won't get any traction in the Community, because the open source unix kernel niche is already occupied -- by Linux.

    Oh, and you forgot to call it GNU/Solaris.

    Linus is a tool. He goes on about how he picked his methodology because of efficiencies, not morality. But the fact of the matter is, other people have spent all this time assisting him because of the morality of the license. If they just wanted open-code efficiency, they would have went with the tried and true BSD license.
    You conclusion doesn't follow, since both BSD and GPL provide efficiency by leveraging the Bazaar as ESR called it. Linus decided for whatever reason, that GPL was more efficient. People assisted not because of the "morality" of the license, but because they got something out of it. An improved Unix kernel that ran ubiquitious 386 hardware. They could contribute, so they did. The same would have happned if he chose the BSD license. The GPL Is The One True License(tm) crowd is not, and never has been, the majority of the contributors, nor a majority of the key contributors, to the Linux kernel.

    If you want to look for a project that appeals to people that care more about political wankfests than getting real work done, look at HURD, or even FreeBSD, and look where those projects are. What's the install base of HURD? Twelve?

    Linus doesn't even write code anymore. If not for the perceived morality of having a kernel under the GPL, and the droves of developers who participated for that very reason, he would be a complete non-entity.
    Yeah, and RMS writes 1500 LOCs a day.

    Since when does someones ability to critique a political and legal document hinge on whether some one is actively writing code? It's not like Linus is sitting back and resting on his piles of money. (Like he has any.)

    You want to believe that people flocked to Linux because the GPL made it more "moral." Bullshit. People jumped on the Linux bandwaggon, because it was unix that ran on the 386. FreeBSD didn't even exist until 1993, and prior to that 386BSD wasn't even released until 1992. By comparison, Linux was initially released in 1991. It had first mover advantage and an open source license. That's it. So go and spout your historical revision somewhere else, because contrary to what RMS and the FSF mailing lists say, most people don't care about political statements. They just want their code to work.

    Easy enough to mouth off at this point.
    Isn't that all RMS does? And even more to the point, what you're doing?

    Now run along and file your bug report against the Linux kernel for using bitkeeper, or not calling itself GNU/Linux. The grown-ups have work to do.
  • Re:duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OriginalArlen (726444) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:59PM (#19854839)
    However based on my 30 seconds of googling, it seems that [google.co.uk]a fair bit of the kernel is licensisde under the famous "version 2 or later, at your" [the recipient of the code] discretion"... Who wants to track down the owners of all the code in the kernel tree and check whtehtrer they mind relicensing as GPL v2 *only*? Bags not me! [google.co.uk]

    Once again the FSF are ahead of the game - by asking GNU contributors to please contribute their actual copyright to the FSF. That's how come the FSF don't take legal cases where some scumbag corporate is redistributing Linux without respecting the GPL (ie., illegally): they don't own the copyright on the kernel. (Fortunately lots of the basic toolchain are FSF's so in those circumstances there's generally enough FSF code to actually stop the bastards getting away with it.)

    Linus is wrong about this and the FSF is right.

  • Re:Fork? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:02PM (#19854877) Homepage Journal

    Some people say the GPL is evil and viral. This is because they either do not understand it properly, or because they disagree with it.

    GPLv3 affects any hardware that the software is distributed with. I'm pretty sure that this makes it viral *by definition*. I also consider this to make it evil, but that's a separate issue.

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:04PM (#19854895)
    "you become what you hate".
    It's an amazingly true expression borne out again and again. People in their zeal to defeat an enemy they hate because of what they do, tend to gradually adopt the enemy's tactics. E.g. to "defeat" the soviet union in the cold war we became more totalitarian. To defeat the enemies of freedom, kidnappers and torturers, GWB has asked us to sacrifice civil liberties and set up guantanamo.

    THis happens at the personal level too not just in the drama of nations.

    One might even suspect Google finds it must sometimes adopt dubious tactics in order to quash what it sees a s Evil.

    Stallman appears to be on the same road in his obsession to counter microsofts.

    Kafaka's principle is hard to avoid. And when an entity feels threaten, feels it might loose or be seriously damaged it feels the ends justify the means. SOmetimes its' neccessary to stay with ones principles and tough out the assualt, rather than lose those principles.
  • by OriginalArlen (726444) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:04PM (#19854903)
    That argument is a straw man. Apart from being their guardian, Linus owns those physical machines. They do not BELONG to his kids, therefore they do not have the moral right to seize full control of them. When they're adults, no doubt they'll buy (or be given) machines that really are theirs. At this rate, I expect they'll be running Solaris, FreeBSD or OS X r17....
  • Re:Oh yeah? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spiritraveller (641174) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:11PM (#19854955)
    But OpenSolaris doesn't have as many drivers as Linux. They could use some code from Linux, as there is a certain amount that's been contributed as "GPL2 or later," but the majority is contributed as "GPL2 only."

    It would take a lot of people changing course for OpenSolaris to reach the same acceptance as Linux.

    How many developers are upset about things that GPL3 covers and GPL2 does not?
  • Re:Fork? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gujo-odori (473191) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:19PM (#19855039)
    "I also consider this to make it evil, but that's a separate issue"

    That's the distinction that often gets missed in the "evil/viral" argument, I wish I had mod points to give you.

    Sure, the GPL is viral. I don't think anyone really denies that. Some think that's evil, some not. I'm in the "not" camp.

    The reason I'm in the "not" camp is because the viral nature of the GPL is not primarily intended to cause someone's non-GPL software to unintentionally fall under the GPL; rather, it is a defensive mechanism aimed at the misappropriation of GPLed software. To wit, you can't use GPLed software in non-free software, and to make sure you don't, the license requires you to release any software you combine with GPLed software under the GPL or a GPL-compatible license. In practice, people who don't want to do that have generally been given the option of ripping out all the GPLed software from their product(s) and duplicating the functionality on their own.

    I have no problem with this. The GPL isn't trying to hide anything or get Free software in through the back door. It tells you up front what your rights and obligations are, and like other FOSS licenses, is orders of magnitude more clear about that than proprietary licenses. The GPL requires that if you get, you have to give back, and you can do anything you want with GPLed software except make it non-free. I have no problem with that. It's clear and up-front, and if anyone doesn't like it, the answer is simple: use something else, write it yourself, or pay someone to write it yourself. Those are the same three options you have with a proprietary license you don't like. Well, with the additional stricture that if you write it yourself or have someone do it, the proprietary vendor might look for some software patent violation they could use as grounds to sue you.

    Software licenses are not "evil" or "good" - they just are. They reflect the beliefs and values of those who right them. The FSF believes you can do anything you want with software except make it non-free. BSD and similar believe you can even make it non-free. Proprietary licenses believe you can only do what they specifically authorize you to do, and what they authorize really isn't a whole lot. If I were going to sling terms like "evil" around, I daresay the target wouldn't be any open-source license.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:21PM (#19855051)
    I'm tired of trying to explain this in abstract terms, so I'll try something new for now:

    #bsd:
    <@developer1> Hey look! I have this channel here, want to help me with it?
    < developer2> Sure!
    <@developer1> sets mode +o developer2
    < selfishbastard> entered the channel
    <@developer2> Hi dude, I've got this cool channel here, want to try helping?
    < selfishbastard> Sure!
    <@developer2> sets mode +o selfishbastard
    (...2 seconds pass...)
    <@evildude> -oo developer1 developer2
    < developer1> this sucks.

    #gpl2:
    <@developer1> Hey look! I have this channel here, want to help me it?
    < developer2> Sure!
    <@developer1> sets mode +o developer2
    < selfishbastard> entered the channel
    <@developer2> Hi dude, I've got this cool channel here, want to try and make it a better place for all of us?
    < selfishbastard> Sure!
    <@developer2> sets mode +o selfishbastard
    (...2 seconds pass...)
    <@selfishbastard> tries to set mode -oo developer1 developer2
    [PERMISSION DENIED]
    <@selfishbastard> Hm...let's try a workaround.
    <@selfishbastard> .synack developer1.home-isp.cable.net developer2.home-isp.cable.net
    developer1 quit [Ping Timeout]
    developer2 quit [Ping Timeout]
    <@selfishbastard> Yay, it is mine!

    #gplv3:
    <@developer1> Hey look! I have this channel here, want to help me it?
    < developer2> Sure!
    <@developer1> sets mode +o developer2
    < selfishbastard> entered the channel
    <@developer2> Hi dude, I've got this cool channel here, want to try and make it a better place for all of us?
    < selfishbastard> Sure!
    <@developer2> sets mode +o selfishbastard
    <@selfishbastard> tries to set mode -oo developer1 developer2
    [PERMISSION DENIED]
    <@selfishbastard> Hm...let's try a workaround.
    <@selfishbastard> .synack developer1.home-isp.cable.net developer2.home-isp.cable.net
    (...5 minutes pass...)
    selfishbastard quit irc [K-Lined: abuse]
  • by Eco-Mono (978899) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:27PM (#19855105) Homepage
    The thing is, Linus knows exactly what loopholes the GPLv3 is closing, and he doesn't consider them to be bad things. And in a way, he's got a point. Tivo's video-processing code can still be used in other applications, after all. Isn't that free enough? Furthermore, doesn't the GPLv3 prohibit *anybody* from writing GPLv3 code that runs on a Tivo, even if they weren't the ones who locked the hardware down in the first place? I think that, from the point of view of the FSF, the GPLv3 makes a lot of sense. But Linus doesn't seem to feel that a lot of the FSF's problems really *are* problems. It's the GPL vs BSD thing all over again, and the question of how much specific freedom you restrict in order to ensure overall freedom, and just because Linus sees the question a different way doesn't necessarily make him right or wrong.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wrook (134116) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:28PM (#19855115) Homepage

    In the 90's, I think most of the people worked on Linux due to the unclear legal status of BSD, not some funny "morality" issue.


    I'm going to disagree with you on this one. Having tried to contribute to all three of popular systems in the early nineties (Linux, BSD, and Hurd), Linux was the *only* one where you could easily get any work done. I still remember getting emails from a certain someone (not RMS) telling me to go away because they only wanted experienced people working on the Hurd.


    People who have read my posts previously know I'm a huge FSF fan. I'm also a huge RMS fan. But Linus changed the way free software was written. It didn't matter who the hell you were, if your code was good it got submitted. Before Linux you often needed to be in a clique to work on a high profile project.


    While RMS envisioned free software development, IMHO Linus was the first to really realize it. He was the first to lead a huge group of people to do amazing things over the internet. Free software owes him a huge amount. The way we work now, the things we take for granted, are in large part inspired by how he ran the Linux kernel project in those early years. Now almost everyone does it that way.


    Maybe it's hard to understand how this was a choice of "morals". But quite seriously, after being treated like I was, I wouldn't work on the Hurd nor *-BSD if you paid me to. Linux was the place to be *precisely* because it implemented the moral situation that was ideal for free software development. Everyone was treated as an equal. There was no "secret code". There were no "private" repositories. You could just do your thing. If it was good enough, Linus would roll it into his distribution.


    The GPL doesn't enforce morals. It is a legal document after all. But it can set the stage to clear barriers for people working together. Many licenses force people not to work together, even if they want to. They insist on creating classes of users/developers -- some with more rights than others. IMHO, this is the "moral" issue that the FSF is trying to tackle. There's a hell of a lot more to it than just a license. But it's a start.


    So while most people didn't sit down and say "Hey, Linus is being more moral", people chose to work on the project simply because it was better. He actually acted in the spirit of license he chose. It was fun/possible to contribute. You didn't feel like a schmuck just for asking for the latest build. And I suspect if this ever changed dramatically in the Linux kernel development, you'd get a lot of people jumping ship.


    P.S. You won't find my name amongst the Linux kernel developers. Shortly after started working on things I actually signed an inventions agreement that forbade me from doing free software development. Yes, I sold out. I did that for years and years. Until finally I got sick of treating my customers like shit. I finished my last proprietary gig a week ago and I'm not looking back.

  • GCC and GPLv3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 1729 (581437) <slashdot1729@gma ... minus herbivore> on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:36PM (#19855175)

    You know, after EGCS (and the associated bazaar development model) became the official GCC branch, I kinda figured they'd face the same problem as the kernel does of producing a GPLv3 branch--with thousands of contributers having provided their work under GPLv2, it would be impossible to track them all down and get their permission to relicense their work as GPLv3. Yet I see announcements for GPLv3 trumpeting the fact that the GCC project is "on board". Can someone explain to me what I'm missing here?
    To contribute a non-trivial patch to gcc, you have to sign the copyright over to the FSF, so it's up to the FSF (and RMS, in particular) to decide how gcc will be licensed. However, switching to GPLv3 is still not going to be trivial for gcc. In particular, what can be backported to old releases and under which version of the GPL? There's currently a lot of discussion on the gcc list [gnu.org] about this issue.
  • Legislate morality (Score:2, Insightful)

    by paulsnx2 (453081) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:41PM (#19855221)
    I am often amazed when people claim you can't legislate morality...

    The only reasonable laws are moral laws. Where laws are nothing but arbitrary, then they are not moral and thus are not just.

    What most people mean when they say this is that legislation cannot be used to define morality. In other words, many immoral behaviors (lying, cheating at cards, being mean, being a jerk, etc. etc. etc.) will always be legal. The set of behaviors allowed by law will never be the same as the set of moral behaviors.

     
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kuciwalker (891651) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:47PM (#19855263)
    That, and (as MSFT later proved head-on w/ their TCP/IP implementations), the classic BSD license really doesn't protect against theft and proprietary lock-down of improvements.

    You obviously don't grok the BSD license then, because it's not supposed to "protect" against that. What Microsoft did by including the BSD TCP/IP stack in Windows is the intention of those who license under BSD.

  • Re:Damn! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:49PM (#19855279) Journal

    I don't know why people act surprised. Linus has always said that the only thing he likes about the GPL is that it lets him play with other people's code; he doesn't care about who can play with his code, and he doesn't care about end-user freedoms. That's fine. It's a selfish viewpoint, but at least it's honest.

    The FSF is, and always has, been about end user freedoms. They don't care about access to source code (hence their reluctance to use the term 'open source'), they care about a set of four freedoms for end users. Again, they have never tried to hide this.

    If it hadn't been for the AT&T Vs BSD lawsuit, no one would care about Linus. We would still be thankful for RMS though. I don't use Linux, but I use GNU software every day.

  • Also, these hardware manufacturers are also software distributors. If they weren't, the license wouldn't bind them at all, dummy. Did you even think that through beyond it sounding like a snappy comeback? Because it doesn't make any sense at all.

    Yes, and the software they distribute is in no way limited. You can take it and run it on your home built PVR box if you want. What TiVo restricted was running someone else's code on their HARDWARE. So why is a software license limiting their choices in regards to their hardware, dummy?
     

    But who am I kidding? Clearly it's evil to prevent evil because preventing things is an evil denial of freedom.

    Preventing "evil" by denying someone freedom who has done nothing wrong is evil. It's not "evil" for TiVo to say "our hardware will not run unsigned binaries". It's a business decision. If you don't like it, take your business elsewhere.

  • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:56PM (#19855339)

    That, and (as MSFT later proved head-on w/ their TCP/IP implementations), the classic BSD license really doesn't protect against theft and proprietary lock-down of improvements.

    Please explain how it is possible to "steal" BSD-licensed code. The whole *point* of the license is that it allows anyone to take the source code and do whatever they want with it.

    There are few things that identify a GPL-zealot more effectively than talking about code being "stolen" because someone else's changes to it were not "shared". It's like making a speech in public and then complaining about how all the people who heard it "stole" from you.

  • by trytoguess (875793) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:58PM (#19855349)
    Tivo legally limited hardware they owned, and people willingly bought this legal object. In that case you've lost the right to say I want xyz in my widget. That comes before the purchase.
  • Re:Fork? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Friday July 13, 2007 @09:06PM (#19855395) Homepage Journal
    I believe the (not inconsistent) position is that copyright is bad for society. So the GPL exploits the flaws of copyright in order to make the flaws in copyright extremely painful (or impossible) for others to exploit. In the event that copyright is abolished, then the GPL becomes both unenforceable and unnecessary at the same time.
  • by CustomDesigned (250089) on Friday July 13, 2007 @09:15PM (#19855443) Homepage Journal
    What do you agree/disagree with in GPL3? I am glad that patent abuse is addressed. However, I never thought Tivo was all that evil. You *could* after all, take their code and use it on your own hardware. We all want our voting machines to run open source software - but such hardware needs to be locked in the same manner as a Tivo. GPL3 software could not be used for an open source voting machine! Fortunately, the application is small enough that alternative licenses could probably be bought/negotiated from copyright holders.
  • Re:Who cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Animixer (134376) on Friday July 13, 2007 @09:15PM (#19855447)
    Solaris (and Sun) has probably been declared dead as much as Apple and BSD. In my line of work the commercial UNIX variants (AIX, Solaris, HP-UX) are very much alive (SAN/Database/medium-iron). Perhaps it's the native SAN driver/multipathing/utility stack on Solaris that's my favourite to work with that makes me like the OS. 'course, with ZFS and dtrace and zones in Solaris 10+ there are some nice new features, too.

    All in all, everything has its place.

    I guess we live in different 'communities'?
  • Re:Fork? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Friday July 13, 2007 @09:21PM (#19855481) Homepage Journal
    Then you're not doing it willy nilly, you're doing it within their licensing regime, and complying with their terms.
  • Re:duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Friday July 13, 2007 @09:58PM (#19855735)
    That article just emphasizes my point, that Bitkeeper was only a problem if you are mainly concerned with "Freedom". Linus isn't. He had a some-guy-screwed-up-my-free-license-for-software-I -use problem.
  • by CaffeineJedi (643314) on Friday July 13, 2007 @10:23PM (#19855865)

    Proprietary licenses believe you can only do what they specifically authorize you to do (emphasis added), and what they authorize really isn't a whole lot. If I were going to sling terms like "evil" around, I daresay the target wouldn't be any open-source license.


    While the above post never referred to GPLv3 specifically, I think it made a good and interesting point. I will hijack this part for my own purposes :-)

    Fundamentally, I think the poster's quote is one of the biggest arguments against the adoption of GPLv3.

    GPL version 2 had no restrictions on what hardware was required upon which to run the software. The license merely required that all modifications to the software were contributed back to the original work. It did not care how you used the software, merely how you contributed back to the project.

    Version 3, on the other hand, makes statements about how software is used. As far as I can tell, TiVo is one of the most predominant factors in spurring GPLv3. TiVo contributes their software back to the community, as can be seen right here [tivo.com]. TiVo, however, runs their software on a DRM'ed box. Anybody can use TiVo's source code modifications in their own hardware projects if they so desire. The software is still just as free as if TiVo decided to run it on a non-DRM'ed box.

    The FSF believes you can do anything you want with software except make it non-free
    This is what the FSF would like people to believe. However, it is inconsistent with what the FSF is actually doing in advocating GPLv3. GPLv2 ensured that all software remained free. The old license fully satisified that software remained "free," not just in price but in the availability of people to choose how to use it.

    GPLv3, on the other hand, makes restrictions upon what kind of hardware-software interactions are allowable. Forcing people, corporations, or whomever to use freely available code in a certain way is contradictory to freedom. This is the argument for version 2 of the GPL. It is also the argument against DRM. Strangely enough, it is also the argument against GPLv3.

    Enforcing freedom is an oxymoron. This however, is the logical extent of what RMS and people at the FSF are proposing with the adoption of GPLv3, forcing people to run their software on certain hardware. In the words of the poster, the FSF acting exactly like proprietary vendors in limiting the scope of their software to what they "specifically authorize you to do."
  • Re:Fork? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigjocker (113512) * on Friday July 13, 2007 @11:07PM (#19856069) Homepage
    It's not as simple as that.

    The Linux kernel is absolutely useless without the GNU userland (GCC, glibc, bash, ls, man, mc, etc, etc). I'm ok with people calling it whatever they like, be it Linux, GNU/Linux, BarbieOS or whatever, but I call it GNU/Linux (it's my choice) so I don't feel like a hypocrite bashing the GNU project while using all of it's tools on a day to day basis.

    The argument that it should be called MIT/X11/Apache/GNU/etc/Linux then is pointless and very childish ... the kernel itself is nothing without the GNU userland (and compiler, BTW). If you hate the GNU project that much, then you are more than welcome to port the BSD userland and create your own distribution.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Friday July 13, 2007 @11:41PM (#19856203)

    Enforcing freedom is an oxymoron.
    How do you mean? Courts, police, governments, the US Constitution, do you include these in your assessment? What about a gun used solely in self-defense? Is that not an example of that exact same "oxymoron"?

    It's one of the universe's many ironies that freedom must be enforced. The reason for this is that if you don't enforce freedom, someone else will assuredly impose their will upon others in contradiction of these others' freedoms. This is a direct result of combining "free will" with the physical capability of adversely hindering the freedom of others.
  • Re:Fork? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by udippel (562132) on Friday July 13, 2007 @11:43PM (#19856211)
    I believe you're correct in that the original copyright holder can relicense their software.

    For the umpteeth time: of course can any author relicense her software at any moment. But that does not at all affect the earlier licence !
    There is no way of retro-actively changing the licence for those who received the software under the 'old' terms. They may use the software for infinity. Only modifications and patches added after the moment of relicencing fall under the new licence. XFree to Xorg is a good example here: XFree changed their licence; fine. Xorg took the software as it was a split second before the change of licence and fully legally so. The former licence remains valid for that software before the change.

    The trouble for any fork: The licenses could be non-compatible, and then you compete with yourself, so to say. Who is installing XFree these days ? See. With quite a few of the applications moving to GPLv3, who is going to use a GPLv2-licensed kernel once a GPLv3 licensed kernel becomes available (whispers: SUN-SUN-SUN), which permits the use of the latest versions of those GPLv3-ed applications ?
  • by SillyNickName (1125565) on Friday July 13, 2007 @11:50PM (#19856253)

    We always knew that RMS is a zealot.
    "Zealot - A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause." I think the "zealot" characterization is infounded. RMS has never struck me as being unreasoning.
  • Re:duh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @12:07AM (#19856341)
    Define right and wrong. What makes an action right? What makes an action wrong? Who are you to say so? What source do you go to to determine the answers? Your definition of morality is circular logic. "This is the moral thing to do because it is the right thing to do." "This is the right thing to do because it is the moral thing to do." These sentences are the same, and neither one says anything.
  • by bit01 (644603) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @12:33AM (#19856515)

    Why shouldn't both hardware and software creators have the same privileges?

    Yes, and the software they distribute is in no way limited.

    Except for the freedom of being able to run a modified version on the hardware it came with. Taking freedom away from the owner.

    If you don't like it, take your business elsewhere.

    If TiVo doesn't like the software license they can take their business elsewhere. Their choice.

    Preventing "evil" by denying someone freedom who has done nothing wrong is evil.

    You're a zealot. GPLv3 is merely fighting fire with fire.

    ---

    Open source software is everything that closed source software is. Plus the source is available.

  • by CaffeineJedi (643314) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @01:27AM (#19856829)

    It's one of the universe's many ironies that freedom must be enforced.

    Absolutely not. You can never tell a person: "I am forcing you to use your liberties! You are legally required to go out and protest!" The best you can ever do is provide them with the opportunity to protest, and hope that they choose to use their liberties soundly.

    What about a gun used solely in self-defense? Is that not an example of that exact same "oxymoron"?

    If we allow people to use a firearm, we bestow upon them rights. If we require them to use firearms or purchase them, it is not a right, but a requirement. Requirements on the usage of freedom make something inherent un-free.

    This is what I am referring to when I say that enforced freedom is an oxymoron. Freedom has no enforcement measure, because I can not force someone to use their rights in a certain way. They, and only they, can decide how to use their freedoms. If at any point someone is required to use a "freedom" in a certain way, it is not a freedom at all, but an obligation masquerading as a liberty.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @01:38AM (#19856879)

    This is what the FSF would like people to believe. However, it is inconsistent with what the FSF is actually doing in advocating GPLv3. GPLv2 ensured that all software remained free. The old license fully satisified that software remained "free," not just in price but in the availability of people to choose how to use it.
    If there is one defining event in RMS's life, it is his experience with a broken printer driver.
    He had a printer that stopped working because the software that came with it was buggy. When he went to fix it, he could not because the source code for the software was unavailable to him.

    THAT event is the entire motivation for the FSF and the GPL - an end user with hardware that included broken and un-fixable software. DRM'd software is just another manifestation of that situation, and in fact is arguably covered in the GPLv2 with this clause:

    For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable.
    Since DRM'd software did not exist at the time of the writing of the GPLv2 it obviously could not contain specific reference to such, but both "all modules" and "scripts used to control ... installation" both suggest that the FSF wanted to cover whatever it took to modify and regenerate the executable as delivered to the end user. Which is essentially what this clause in the GPLv3 makes explicit:

    "Installation Information" for a User Product means any methods, procedures, authorization keys, or other information required to install and execute modified versions of a covered work in that User Product from a modified version of its Corresponding Source. The information must suffice to ensure that the continued functioning of the modified object code is in no case prevented or interfered with solely because modification has been made.
  • Viral (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @01:41AM (#19856897) Homepage
    > Sure, the GPL is viral. I don't think anyone really denies that.

    I do. The "GPL is viral" meme was invented by GPL-haters as a replacement for real arguments, and spread by trolls and useful idiots.

    The GPL encourages people to volunteer their own software under similar terms, by offering them something valuable in return. A virus (biological or computer) is extremely poor analogy for that, except for the strong negative connotations. Which is the only reason it was invented.
  • by Dillon2112 (197474) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @02:07AM (#19857015) Homepage
    That is the point: it is within the framework of the GPLv2, but not within its spirit.
    Tivo did try to exploit a loophole: the intention of the GPL (any version) is to preserve the rights of the end users to modify the software they receive and make use of that modified software. Tivo found a (legal) way to avoid having to do this while still technically complying with the GPLv2. GPLv3 is written to close that loophole and preserve the idea that GPL'd software is software the end user can modify to create a new version and then make use of that modification in the same way they made use of the original software as it was supplied to them.
    So, legally, there is no "loop hole or end run", but as far as the intent of the license, some perceive that there was.
  • by totally bogus dude (1040246) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @02:45AM (#19857155)

    What is it that you want, personally and exactly, from Tivo?

    I personally don't want anything from TiVo; I've never used any of their products, and don't expect I ever will. They could magically reflash every TiVo on the planet, rendering it incapable of doing anything except playing a rather bad game of Pong, and I wouldn't care. I mentioned them purely as an example (and because everyone else was doing it).

    How did Tivo not keep up its end of the bargain?

    That's exactly the point: TiVo did keep up its end of the bargain. They did not violate the license in any way, shape or form. Yet, people who bought TiVo's were unable to make full use of the freedoms that the GPL (as a Free software license) was supposed to guarantee them. Some people have no problem with how this transpired: it's TiVo's hardware and they have every right to dictate what software you can run on it. Others felt it was violating the spirit (not the letter) of the license that the code was provided to TiVo under.

    That's why they've created a new license, with specific provisions to ensure that if, as an author, you don't want this to be able to happen to your software, you can specify that in the license. The new license is intended to correct flaws in the previous license, as perceived by certain people with specific goals in mind.

    I don't think anyone is stopping you from taking out your soldering iron and having at it.

    As mentioned above, I don't actually care; but from what I've read about the DMCA and related laws, wouldn't it be illegal to modify (or remove) hardware that was designed as a DRM/copyright enforcement mechanism? The TiVo hardware might not fall into this particular category, but it's not inconceivable that the protection mechanisms of future devices would. (In fact, it seems inconceivable that such mechanisms wouldn't fall under the protection granted by the DMCA.)

    Further, this raises an interesting point: if it's perfectly okay to be able to hack their hardware, why is it not okay to hack their software? Where do you draw the line between the two? If the device has the ability to receive software updates, but has hardware designed to prevent you from installing software that isn't signed by the manufacturer, do you have the right to remove that hardware? Do you have the right to run whatever software you want on it after removing the hardware that's designed to prevent you from doing just that? If so, why are they allowed to put hardware in there to stop you from using your right to run your own software?

  • Re:Fork? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 14, 2007 @04:26AM (#19857575)
    The Linux kernel is absolutely useless without the GNU userland

    No, it isn't. You can use icc, uclib, busybox and some other BDS tools to have a Linux GNU-free system. It's not just theorical, most Linux-based embedded systems don't use anything from GNU project because the tools are too heavy and designed for desktop computers, servers and workstations.

    And I don't feel like an hypocrite bashing GNU while using it's tools. I use its tools because they fit better for my needs than any other ones, and I bash GNU because I don't agree about their views and goals although I think that they make good software (except emacs, of course). GPL license don't say anything about that I'm have to agree with GNU project and FSF in order to use the software. In fact, that's a main point of GPL: don't force anything to the users.

    That's why isn't hypocrital to use GNU software without agreeing with GNU and FSF, and that's why it's hypocrital the GPLv3, because it goes against what it preaches. But it doesn't surprise me, RMS is very hypocrital himself (remember Emacs vs. XEmacs, the glibc incident circa 2.2 version I think, remember the way of develop GNU software before Linux arrived, when everyone had to send a signed letter to him before he can contribute code, and every contribution had to be revised by a bunh of people in MIT, commanded by RMS of course...)

    And those who say that Linux will be die when GNU/Solaris GPLv3 appear, that's nosense. FOSS is big because a lot of companies support FOSS, and have a lot of programers working on FOSS and GNU projects (check the development and quality of Linux, GCC and glibc before companies starter working on it, and check them after). And the vast majority of the companies don't like GPLv3. GNU/Solaris will be used during a time, Linux will fall, until some new processors appears, or some new graphics slots in the motherboards, new devices, new protocols, etc. GNU/Solaris won't be able to use them, but Linux will. And GNU/Solaris will become something like a more advanced HURD, with no use in the real life.
  • by Fred Ferrigno (122319) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @05:01AM (#19857731)

    Tivo is controlling its hardware, not its software, and without such controls, it can't actually function as a business.
    Actually it ceases to be their hardware when they sell it to me. I'd like to be able to control my hardware, thanks.

    TiVo does not have an intrinsic right to software they didn't write. If TiVo's business model is enabled by Free software, it's only because of the generosity of the authors. Some of them don't like what TiVo has done with their software, including that business model, so now they're being slightly less generous. If TiVo doesn't like that, they can write their own or buy someone else's. That's more than they would have if Free software didn't exist at all.
  • by Peaker (72084) <gnupeakerNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Saturday July 14, 2007 @06:34AM (#19858107) Homepage
    If you abolish copyrights, Microsoft's business model collapses.

    Microsoft may become a hardware company, in which case they have an incentive to use the opensource software. In such a case they may close the software - but they have little incentive to. Anyone will be allowed to redistribute their software and create compatible hardware.
    Not only that, but competing hardware companies that do open their source will be more successful than Microsoft at developing software, because they will get contributions back from the community.

    The conclusion is:
    • No software companies will remain in their current form. Some may sell software directly to requirement specfiers, akin to today's "in-house" software. They will not become huge monopolies.
    • Those that do distribute closed-source software will have no way to make a profit from such software, and thus no incentive to close it.
    • Those that do distribute closed-source software will be unable to compete with those that distribute open-source software, and get enhancements back from the community.
  • by MooUK (905450) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:11AM (#19859211)
    Since when is a company's chosen price and business plan OUR problem?

    Printer manufacturers sell printers well below cost and then overcharge incredibly huge amounts for ink. There are very few who have a problem with using an alternate source for their ink.
  • Virus may have negative connotation, but it also has a definition that the GPL fits fairly well.

    If somebody created a biological virus that immunized people against AIDS by infecting skin cells, reproducing, entering the bloodstream and spreadying throughout the body until it reached the lymph nodes and other other relevant areas, then modifying the immune system to make it immune, would it be any less of a virus? Sure, people with this would be encouraged to spread it, it would be a good thing, but it still meets the definition of a virus. The GPL (but not the LGPL) behaves very much like this.

    In fact, the difference between GPL and LGPL is the viral clause. LGPL code must remain free and be distributed in source form with anything that contains it, but it can be comiled into proprietary modules. GPL code CANNOT! If I wrote a faster or safer or whatever version of printf and licensed it under the GPL, any source code using that method would need to be entirely licensed under the GPL! Insert one handy method, and it affects everything. Now imagine what it's like for things like LAME, one fo the best MP3 encoders available... and widely used even outside the free software world, because it is LGPL code and people don't need to make their entire ripping program or whatever open source just to use a really good free encoder.

    Please explain to me how you think the GPL is not viral? You're free to use an alternate term if you like, provided it is at least as accurate in terms of definition.

    I have no objection to the GPL (v2, I'm a bit less comfortable about v3) and in fact use it myself, but I'm thinking of switching to the LGPL because, while I would like more people to open their source code, as long as people keep MY code open and contribute back any and all changes they make to it, I don't really feel I should restrict what they do with the rest of their code even if it uses something I wrote.

    (Mind you, AFAIK nobody is using any of my code in anything like that anyhow, but that could change.)

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito

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