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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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  • Fork? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dn15 (735502) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:38PM (#19853993)
    If Linus doesn't like where the GPL is going, he could make his own fork...

    Really, I say this mostly for the purpose of humor, but it's true. If there's enough objection to GPLv3 maybe someone will introduce an alternate version based on GPLv2 that allows it to be updated in the future but without the conditions present in v3.
    • by exley (221867)
      But what is GPLv2 licensed under? That'll end up being the issue there.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:39PM (#19854007) Homepage
    ...because only a sith deals in absolutes!
    • by rleibman (622895) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:43PM (#19854071) Homepage
      You've just stated an absolute ("Only Sith's deal in absolutes") therefore sir... you are a Sith.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Etrias (1121031) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:40PM (#19854017)
    To steal from John Hodgeman... Anyone who uses the GPLv3 are lepers with tuberculosis.
  • 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.
    • Re:duh (Score:4, Funny)

      by Icarus1919 (802533) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:45PM (#19854089)
      Hush! Our lord and savior is speaking.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515)
      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?

    • 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.
    • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014)
      Well, there's not a lot of context in the article, but piecing things together, I'd guess that what has Linus ticked off is not injecting personal morality into the license, but forcing others to accept that license and by extension their personal morality.

      In the paraphrased quote, it would appear that Linus is conflating these issues by criticizing their injection of their morals into the license, which they have every right to do. Anybody can license their work under any provisions they wish. If you don
  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:40PM (#19854023)
    > Torvalds said the authors of a new software license expected to be used by thousands of open source programmers are a bunch of hypocrites ...

    "Hey! That's GNU/Hypocrisy to you, buddy, and don't you forget it!"

  • 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?
    • 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:And this is news? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Rutulian (171771) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @12:17AM (#19856393)
        What limit on hardware manufacturer's? There is no limit on hardware manufacturer's. The only requirement is that if your hardware will only run signed code, the means to reproduce that signed code must be distributed with the software (which is distributed with the hardware). You can do whatever you want with your hardware, but if you use and distribute (i.e: make money selling) my software with your hardware, you can't prevent me from modifying (ex: with an newer version that adds extra features) said software and running it on your hardware (or rather, the hardware can prevent it, but you have to provide me with the means to make my software conform to what the hardware will run). It seems like a fair trade to me, and is not entirely unreasonable. The only people who see it as unreasonable are the hardware manufacturer's who want to use free code and not give anything back to the original developers.
    • 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 Anonymous Coward

      We have heard about trusted computing. It has many disguises (the beast always does) but one of them is that hardware won't run unsigned code. Very handy, in theory. You wouldn't want just any code by any stranger to run on your own hardware do you? Even if that stranger is you?

      Offcourse trusted code is NOTHING MORE then code that has had someone pay for a certificate because we all know only people to be trusted can afford to do that (hint, sony's often mention rootkit could easily have PAYED to be run as

  • by Icarus1919 (802533) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:43PM (#19854063)
    Yeah, I hate it when people hypocritically force their ideas of free software on others. Thank goodness Linus is here to save us from that!
  • 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

  • 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.
    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Zarhan (415465) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:53PM (#19854181)
      But the fact of the matter is, other people have spent all this time assisting him because of the morality of the license.

          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.

          Without the legal issues, FreeBSD would probably be where Linux is now, perhaps even further, and Linux would never have taken off like that - it would have stayed as a little practice project for the Helsinki University. However, now Linux just has so much momentum with it that it's the focus of most open source efforts.
      • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:16PM (#19854435) Journal
        Well, the legal issues (e.g. the ATT/SysV v. BSD lawsuits) sure... but there was also the little matter of dealing with a rather large cloud of interpersonal troubles that made things ugly, with most of it centered squarely over UC Berkeley. 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. Like most folks, if I want to contribute stuff freely, I'd really like to see any improvements to be incorporated and shared. BSD relies on only honor and a mandatory attribution for that).

        Not flaming, trolling, or otherwise... but a sense of perspective is kinda needed as to why BSD didn't catch on as fast or as big.

        (OTOH, the BSD license made it easy to incorporate a LOT of stuff from it into Linux, and the results converted to GPL licensing...)

        /P

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kuciwalker (891651)
          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:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.
  • 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.
  • New Joke (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joebert (946227) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:46PM (#19854101) Homepage
    Q: Why don't devolopers write their own software liscenses ?

    A: Because then they'd have to write their own software.
  • by chrb (1083577) on Friday July 13, 2007 @06:47PM (#19854105)

    "Only religious fanatics and totalitarian states equate 'morality' with 'legality,' "

    Every legal system enforces ideas of morality. Why is murder wrong? Why do countries restrict hate speech? Why can't you have sex with your sister? These are all moral concepts enforced through legality.

    Maybe Linus is having a bad day. And what exactly does he mean by:

    "I think it is okay to control people's hardware, I do it myself"

    Does Linus sell have a sideline selling PCs? And he uses some DRM to stop users modifying the software he supplies? What?

  • 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.
  • But what he has a lot of good views and ideas on things. In this case, though, he's being typically difficult. Instead of saying nothing at all on the subject, or just simply stating that the kernel will not be moving to GPLv3, he instead does a ridiculous attack on RMS.

    Torvalds is brilliant, and we and RMS all owe him for everything he's done with Linux and in promoting free software (maybe a happy byproduct). But he can still be egotistical and petty. This is life I guess. But it's exactly these kind
  • 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 delire (809063) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:08PM (#19854347)
    Was..

    I don't think it's hypocritical to prefer the GPLv3. That's a fine choice, it's just not *mine*.

    . What I called hypocritical was to do so in the name of "freedom", while you're at the same time trying to argue that I don't have the "freedom" to make my own choice.

    See? THAT is hypocritical.
    and..

    In a very real sense, the GPLv3 asks people to do things that I personally would refuse to do. I put Linux on my kids computers, and I limit their ability to upgrade it. Do I have that legal right (I sure do, I'm their legal guardian), but the point is that this is not about "legality", this is about "morality". The GPLv3 doesn't match what I think is morally where I want to be. I think it *is* ok to control peoples hardware. I do it myself.
    The rest here [lkml.org].
    • by wrook (134116) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:31PM (#19854557) Homepage
      I wish I had mod points...

      Sigh... the author of the article seems to be yet another bozo trying to stuff words in Linus's mouth. Clearly people opposed to free software development have decided that trying to make GPL V3 a big issue will win them points.

      What's interesting is that I haven't heard any criticism from the FSF over Linus's choice to keep the Linux kernel GPL V2. Clearly they want people to upgrade to GPL V3. In fact, here's RMS's editorial on the subject:

      http://gplv3.fsf.org/rms-why.html [fsf.org]

      In it he doesn't even mention the Linux kernel. In fact he goes so far as to say it's OK to run a GPL V2 program side by side with a GPL V3 program.

      I'm getting a little bit tired of this stuff. The spin doctors are working overtime to discredit free software developers. I think it's time we just ignored them and got back to writing code.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phliar (87116)

      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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by trytoguess (875793)
        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OriginalArlen (726444)
      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....
  • by kosmosik (654958) <konrad&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?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BRSloth (578824) *

      So again - somebody please explain what is the problem here?
      Simple. Linus is seeing the GPLv3 as a *developer*, while RMS wrote it as a *user*.

      For a developer, it doesn't matter if the code runs on a DRM machine, as long as your get fixes back. For a user, it does matter that your changed code doesn't run on the same machine.
  • Read the original (Score:5, Informative)

    by jopet (538074) on Friday July 13, 2007 @07:30PM (#19854553) Journal
    That article can create some misunderstandings about what Torvalds actually said and meant. If you want to form your own opinion, read the email discussion thread (it is huge) at http://marc.info/?t=118136815500004&r=36&w=4 [marc.info] and Linus' posts e.g. at http://marc.info/?l=linux-kernel&m=118235728513045 &w=4 [marc.info] and http://marc.info/?l=linux-kernel&m=118236278730043 &w=4 [marc.info] .

    I think Linus' statements make much more sense in context.

    For instance, several posters here have responded to "Only religious fanatics and totalitarian states equate 'morality' with 'legality'," by pointing out that all western legal systems represent morality in some way. However that is missing the point, and I think, not what Linus meant. Democratic systems compromise on a *common* idea of how morality should be represented by laws. This is entirely different from religious fanatics or totalitarian states where the moral ideas of an individual or small group is the only acceptable one. The point Linus is making here is that the GPLv3 is used as a vehicle to impose upon others the ideas of a few and regulate what Linus thinks should be a matter of choice.

    I agree with Linus point of view: it might be wrong to trust in the choice of users. Maybe users will not do what I wish they would do - not buy DRM protected music etc. Maybe this will lead to a point where Linux needs a program that can play DRM protected media. But still, I think that taking that choice away from future Linux users would be the totalitarian way of trying to achieve things. Personally I would not want that. I hate DRM, software patents, vendor lock it, but as a *NIX user of more than a decade, I do not want Linux (and other open source software) to become the blunt weapon of a few fanatics instead of an inviting and competitive alternative.
  • by anwyn (266338) on Friday July 13, 2007 @08:49PM (#19855283)
    Linus' original message [iu.edu] is by no means as confrontational and sharp as the Infoworld indicates. Linus and RMS are comming from different perspectives. Linus' is more pragmatic. RMS is driven by his particular beliefs. The kernel will definitely not be moving to GPLv3. The world is not comming to and end. GPLv2 and GPLv3 software can coexist on the same distribution.

    Both are sincere in their beliefs. RMS is accused of being idealogical and hard to get along with, however it was perspective and tenacious that created free software and the GPL in the first place.

    RMS is the original author of GPL, gcc, bash, glib, emacs and many other important tools. No "normal" person would have had the vision or determination to do what RMS has done. He originally intended to create the compiler, the runtime library, the editor (emacs) and to OS. Only a person that was a little bit "crazy" would have even attempted to do this. The Free software world and the "open source" world are greatly indebted to RMS, no matter how hard to get along with he is, or what people may think of him. The vary characteristics that some people dislike, are exactly the characteristics that made it possible for RMS to achieve what he achieved. Without RMS free software would be nowhere. The GPL was introduced from the start, as being with a certain idealogical intent, the intent of the GPLv3 is in the same spirit as this intent.

    It may be this idealogical attitude, together with acceptance of a faulty academic idea called the microkernel, that caused RMS to fail in creating a workable kernel to work with his other software. The HURD is nowhere.

    What is called GNU/Linux and sometimes just Linux, is a merger between Linus' kernel and RMS' free software, and much other software.

    Linus attitude is pragmatic. He uses the GPL as a tool just has he uses gcc. He is a great programmer and kernel hacker. He had the wit to reject the academic idea of the Microkernel which if adopted could have killed Linux just has it did the Hurd. There is no better person to lead the Linux kernel project.

    If the BSDI USL lawsuit had not delayed the BSD project there would have been no Linux. Linus would have joined one of the BSD projects as just another BSD hacker. One of the BSDs would have become the dominant free software OS.

    I believe that if this had happened, Microsoft would have destroyed BSD's commercial chances using "embrace and extend". They would have created a BSD/Windows hybrid that would have duplicated BSD's API. This would have happened because BSD lacks the GPL's so called "viral clause" that prevents embrace and extend. The existence of this hybrid would have been used by Microsoft to prevent the suits from even considering a move to free software.

    Linus lacks the vision that RMS has. This has caused him to make several blunders such as the Bitkeeper Debacle. However the discipline implicit in the GPLv2 will prevent him from making any fatal mistakes. Were Linus to attempt to go in any totally insane direction, his project will fork. He knows this vary well.

    I have given several presentations to Austin Linux Group from this perspective.

    Free software history [io.com]

    Lessons of Free Software History [io.com]

    Tanenbaum-Torvalds microkernel vs monolithic kernel Debate [io.com]

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