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Torvalds Explains Dislike For GPLv3 552

Joe Barr writes "Linus Torvalds explains in three recent posts why he doesn't care for the DRM restrictions in GPLv3, and he has never been one to hold back. From his commentary: 'I _literally_ feel that we do not - as software developers - have the moral right to enforce our rules on hardware manufacturers. We are not crusaders, trying to force people to bow to our superior God. We are trying to show others that co-operation and openness works better.' NewsForge has the complete text of all three posts available." We discussed his initial reaction to GPL3 at the end of last month. NewsForge is a sister site to Slashdot.
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Torvalds Explains Dislike For GPLv3

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  • "We" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:04AM (#14634736) Homepage Journal
    By "we" is he referring to kernel developers? Because we all know RMS is a crusader trying to press his beliefs onto others. I think the creators of the GPL are trying to be much more influencial than Linus ever was. Linus mostly wants a great OS and community of developers. RMS wants complete reform (or removal) of IP laws. Different goals will get different reactions, and here's where they start to clash.
    • Re:"We" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:13AM (#14634794) Homepage Journal
      His quotes in TFA sound as if he's not against IP law reform/removall, so much as he is against the way they are doing it.

      You don't strong arm the postal carrier when your neighbor puts up a fence. Why should software developers be strong armed over content providers decisions. If you want to fight DRM's, fight the people who are creating them, fight the people who distribute them, don't fight the people who are trying to make your software more effective.

    • by Concern ( 819622 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:30PM (#14635449) Journal

      He's thinking about the near future, where most interesting new hardware would have a chain of trust that requires you to have secret keys to get your programs to run on it, and you will never get those secret keys.

      You modify that source code to your heart's content, suckers, because it's written against this prison platform (and it's probably not really useful anywhere else) and if you change it, it won't load.

      WTF is the point of the GPL then? Where is the freedom?

      Leaving aside the fact that DRM itself is nonsense (it is), impossible (it is), and inherently repugnant and evil (it is), DRM is directly incompatible with the purpose of the GPL, that's all.

      The GPL itself has a "no secret sauce" provision. You're not really staying free if you can keep to yourself some secret that the code actually needs to work. This is just formally and explicitly extending the same line of reasoning for the most likely way it's being violated.

      I really can't understand why people don't get this. The corporate world on a whim thinks it might be more profitable to take away all your freedom to tinker. They're probably not even right about that.

      You just all roll over? Sure, I'll help. No, I don't need to get paid.

      RMS is saying, look, this is bad shit, and I want no part of building this prison. Anyone who feels like I do, here's a license you can use. Don't be a sucker.

      Linus doesn't want to use it, fine. I think he's an idiot for not getting it, but no one is being "pressed." We're all free to do what we want. Stallman can't press anybody. And that's the point. he's fighting so that you can't be "pressed" by others.

      "Pressing." LOL! All this hate against RMS and the FSF is so barbarous, and so sadly ironic, frankly...
      • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs.ajs@com> on Friday February 03, 2006 @01:37PM (#14636003) Homepage Journal
        All of your arguments against DRM make sense, but they're arguments against DRM, not against open source software that implements hooks for DRM hardware. The GPLv3 would, for example, rule out allowing a company to ship a Linux distribution on a hardware platform that required the software to use secret keys in order to run, even if the code that had the hooks were open source. This does not hurt the hardware vendor, but does hurt the open source project which will be passed over by anyone who needs to interact with that platform.

        Linux became the default choice for many business server and embeded applications because it DID NOT make these kinds of arbitrary decisions about the rightness or wrongness of the use to which you put the OS. That menas it might be used to kill people (which I find much more problematic than DRM) or to sniff out file sharers or to record international phone calls, but that's something that you fight outside of the tool. The tool is just a tool and improper uses should be sanctioned by dealing directly with those uses, not invalidating the tool.

        Put another way: if the Linux kernel COULD be put under the GPLv3 tomorrow and WAS, I expect that we would all be using FreeBSD in not so very long. That really doesn't make the statement about DRM that I think Stallman was trying to assert.
        • That may be news for you, but Linux is used by the corporate world because it is good. And it is good because it has a very big and active community. And it has a very big and active community because it can't be taken away.

          If easy to take away where why companies are using Linux, they would already be using a BSD.

        • The GPLv3 would, for example, rule out allowing a company to ship a Linux distribution on a hardware platform that required the software to use secret keys in order to run, even if the code that had the hooks were open source. This does not hurt the hardware vendor, but does hurt the open source project which will be passed over by anyone who needs to interact with that platform.

          Hey, you forgot someone in that paragraph.

          The person you forgot is the END USER you know, the one the GPL is designed to protect.
      • I take it you didn't RTFM, because if you did you'd realize that your post is largely off-topic.

        Everyone's going around saying that Linus is pooh-poohing the GPLv3, which isn't the case if you actually read his articles. What he is in fact saying is that he feels the GPLv3 isn't right for the Linux kernel.

        You modify that source code to your heart's content, suckers, because it's written against this prison platform (and it's probably not really useful anywhere else) and if you change it, it won't load.

        WTF i

      • He's thinking about the near future, where most interesting new hardware would have a chain of trust that requires you to have secret keys to get your programs to run on it, and you will never get those secret keys.

        So take it up with the hardware people, not software people.

        WTF is the point of the GPL then?

        To guarantee access to the source code - which it is whether DRM is present or not.

        Linus doesn't want to use it, fine. I think he's an idiot for not getting it

        So he's an idiot because he has a different p
    • by jbn-o ( 555068 ) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Friday February 03, 2006 @02:05PM (#14636168) Homepage

      Because we all know RMS is a crusader trying to press his beliefs onto others.

      I think this says a lot less than you think it does. Everyone who tries to convince others of the weight of their argument is "trying to press [their] beliefs onto others". This does not address whether those beliefs are wise or valuable.

      I think the creators of the GPL are trying to be much more influencial than Linus ever was.

      They already are much more influential, but influence isn't that important without understanding what the influence is trying to get you to do. The GNU GPL is almost 20 years old and is the most popular license in the Free Software community. GNU is a remarkably popular OS. Linus Torvalds has not written any license, nor has he assembled a social movement, nor has he put together an operating system. The Linux kernel was originally his work, but now there are many forks of the Linux kernel and Torvalds' fork is one (and this fork has many contributors, Torvalds no longer writes Linux alone). People draw inspiration and code from his fork of the kernel, but plenty of people in the community don't use the Linux kernel at all, yet they still use some GNU programs (such as GCC). Even some proprietary software projects use GNU programs to build their systems (again, GCC among them). The GNU project aims to bring people software freedom—the freedom to run, inspect, modify, and share programs—freedoms which Torvalds sometimes works against (his chastising Andrew Tridgell for working on a program to allow users to copy data from Bitkeeper repos comes to mind).

      RMS wants complete reform (or removal) of IP laws.

      Please cite a source to back this up; I know of nowhere RMS says that he would like all patent, trademark, copyright, and other laws to disappear. RMS presents a clear understanding of why we should not use the term "intellectual property [gnu.org]" (which is what you mean by "IP" here), and has come up with a clever use of copyright law to create and maintain a legally defensible commons. Someone who is utterly opposed to copyright law would not do this. They would probably reject copyright law entirely for copyrightable works, place their copyrightable works into the public domain and encourage others to do the same. Yet in his explanation of "copyleft", RMS says why he doesn't place his copyrightable work into the public domain (but would be fine with his copyrighted works entering the public domain through systematic copyright expiration, in fact during the recent GPLv3 conference Eben Moglen said that RMS would be more comfortable with a copyright regime from long ago instead of the one we have now).

      Your post is vastly overvalued in its moderation. It is not interesting nor does it deserve a +5.

  • by MustardMan ( 52102 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:04AM (#14634737)
    He hit the nail on the head (can I think of any more cliches?) with that one. The point of opening the source should be to cooperate, not force people to do it your way. Version 2 of the GPL only forces people to not abuse your kindness. If we try to use our licenses to force our beliefs on others, where exactly does it end? With all the backlash in this country towards the religious right trying to legislate their own morality onto everyone else, you'd think the extremely liberal like Stallman would learn a lesson from that and NOT try to force his own sense of right and wrong onto everyone.
    • by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:14AM (#14634801)

      Money wins much of the time. I don't see this as an issue of forcing anything, but merely ensuring that the playing field remain somewhat hospitable to open source development. I think Linus' view might be appropriate for the process of development, but I think RMS is focused more on the environment in which that development takes place. In effect, Linus is asking that we place a great deal of trust in the commercial sector, trust which I'm tempted to think is entirely misplaced. There have undoubtedly been some shining stars, but these are the exception, not the rule. In essence, open source needs to protect itself against those who insist on playing in a more non-cooperative environment simply because it offers them greater advantage.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      NOT try to force his own sense of right and wrong onto everyone.

      But N.B. that's exactly what I"P" laws do. I don't believe it's valid to consider information "owned". Ownership of each individual physical copy of an information pattern, sure. But that should be it. Yet people, particularly in the USA, seem to believe it's valid to effectively "own" ALL copies of some information pattern, and that that right should trump even physical property rights, and that you're somehow "stealing" if you, e.g. make
      • The ends don't justify the means. The DRM folks are abusing the legal system and a corrupt government to get their laws pushed through - fight them by getting out the word, getting people to vote, and challenging them in court. Using strong-arm tactics when you're the weak one is both ineffective and foolish. It makes you look no better than the people you're fighting.
    • by chowells ( 166602 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:32AM (#14634954) Homepage
      "If we try to use our licenses to force our beliefs on others, where exactly does it end?"

      They still have the right to write their own software which is not subject to the GPL v3. Stallmann is not trying to force his own sense of views onto anyone, they are still perfectly capable of writing their own if they don't like the it. And software developers can still licence their software under the GPL v2 if they wish.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:06AM (#14634749)
    We are not crusaders, trying to force people to bow to our superior God. We are trying to show others that co-operation and openness works better.

    Well this shows what happens when people worship differently.

    Linus worships a benevolent God, looking out for the best in a cooperative humankind.
    The DRM people worship only one God, the Almighty Dollar.
    • by Zwets ( 645911 ) <jan...niestadt@@@gmail...com> on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:10AM (#14634780) Homepage

      ...and RMS and company worship a vengeful god, who will rain fiery death on the evil proprietary DRMed software.


    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:37AM (#14634994) Journal
      The biggest difference between Linus Torvald and Richard Stallman is that Linus is an optomist and Richard is a pessimist.

      Linus seems to walk in world all his own. Somehow he seems to think that we can vote with our dollars to force the hardware makers to cater for our non-drm needs. Right.

      Has he got some other figures on linux use? It is already hard enough to get hardware makers to support linux besides closed source software like windows. But for hardware makers to develop non-drm hardware for just the linux market is insane. Linux is Linux because it runs on cheap easily available hardware. Specialist hardware or worse having to make you own would kill Linux fast.

      What he maybe doesn't get that DRM isn't a analog state. It is binary. You either have it or you don't. Oh, and at the moment, we don't. We got a sorta DRM0.1 at the moment. FULL DRM will be a beast few can imagine. Certainly Linus doesn't seem capable. Stallman is capable.

      FULL DRM means that ALL hardware and ALL software in your entire computer will be DRM aware. Hardware DRM will not work with NON-DRM software and/or NON-DRM hardware.

      For DRM to realize its full potential EVERY piece of your computer must be DRMed. The motherboard, the CPU, the memory, the buses, the cables, the monitor, the speaker, etc etc. It cannot have a single open piece of hardware because the moment you have that the entire DRM chain becomes useless. It is the old argument against DRM that you will always still be capable of capturing the out put of any DRM device. As long as you can hear/see it you can recapture data no matter how it was protected before.

      Que the old story of Vista requiring DRM monitors. if you don't then you could simply hookup a DVI cable to the output and put in a video capture device and instantly avoid any DRM measure.

      Will Vista really do this? probably not, as I said before we don't have full DRM yet. We probably won't have it in Vista either. But it is coming unless we stop it now.

      It is difficult to constantly be paranoid and think that behind every wintel move there must be an evil scheme but can we afford to be wrong?

      Then there is Linus defence of DRM namely signing RPM packages. Well yeah, signing them makes it secure but what is that saying again? He who trades his freedom for security soon will have neither? Something like this.

      We could have the security of knowing who wrote the software we run OR we can have the freedom to write and run our own software. Not both. Your choice.

      • by jeffc128ca ( 449295 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:08PM (#14635269)
        DRM will come and go. It's not the real threat you think it is. I have now been programming and dealing with hardware for about 20 years now. Just enough time to see the same things happen over and over again. Many makers will use DRM to lock you into bying there stuff. Consumers will get pissed off and stop bying that stuff.

        I used to fret and worry about IBM locking down PC hardware so customers would end up locked in an IBM world. Remember that bus that IBM made, microchannel or something, that was suppose to be better than ISA. IBM was going to charge big time for board makers in liscence fees to make cards for these slots. Well along came a small company called Compaq and gave consumers what they wanted. Over the years I have watched this same scenerio play out over and over again with HD interfaces, Video cards, data file formats, you name it. Each time the open market solution natuarly won.

        The consumer market wants cheap and hassle free solutions whether they have the DRM label or not. If John Doe can't plug his USB key and save a file in 10 seconds without sacrificing serious money he will go to a providor that will. Linus is right, vote with your dollars. In the ever competitive hardware market, where margins are as thin as tissue paper, some one will be there to cater to what you want.

        Computer hardware and software is ultimately a buyers market. Let the market punish dumb hardware and software makers that restrict your use.
        • The consumer market wants cheap and hassle free solutions

          The solutions will be entirely hassle free.
          Since Microsoft controls the PC market and the MPAA/RIAA cartels control almost all popular media they will make if very simple indeed.

          You won't have to make any choices at all:

          To play any mainstream media you need the DRM MediaPlayer.
          The DRM Media Player is signed and only runs on Windows.
          Windows is signed and only runs on a Complete DRM PC.

          Infact 99.5% of all PCs will play the media hassle free the other PC
      • The biggest difference between Linus Torvald and Richard Stallman is that Linus is an optomist and Richard is a pessimist.

        And apparently the BitKeeper fiasco wasn't enough to get Linus to see the error of his ways.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:06AM (#14634754)
    'I _literally_ feel that we do not - as software developers - have the moral right to enforce our rules on hardware manufacturers. We are not crusaders, trying to force people to bow to our superior God. We are trying to show others that co-operation and openness works better.'

    Given the prevailing attitudes towards hardware vendors from a driver development perspective...

  • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:12AM (#14634789)
    Linus' philosophy doesn't bridge the gap between us vs them (coders vs hardware engineers), but it does help content owners deal with their own cesspool of problems.

    I applaud his choice; it's not quite an RMS sort of view, but close: let the idiots deal with their issues. We'll let the software do its job.

    Fairly simple, eh?
  • I suppose .... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lee_in_KC ( 816490 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:15AM (#14634810)

    ... RMS could always go looking for another kernel for his crusade.

    Bravo Linus, for showing us that one need not have a GPL tatoo to enjoy the benefits of Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:17AM (#14634834)
    People seem to forget that, simply because GPL3 is coming out does not mean that GPL2 is going away. GPL2 is permanent! GPL2 Lasts forever. Sure developers can choose to use GPL3 if they want but, the fact that they used GPL2 does not require them to use GPL3.

    Linus doesn't like GPL3 in its present state, for good reason. He has stated that he will, for now, stick with GPL2. What's the issue? GPL2 has been good enough for Linux for the past ten years, there's no reason it should have to move to GPL3.
  • No more hacking? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by r0ckflite ( 63420 )
    Just a quick question. Does this mean that device manufacturers that make (I don't know) routers using linux kernel could DRM their routers so that you can't hack them anymore? There seems to be a community out there that likes to rebuild the software on these devices to make them better. With DRM these coders would be out of luck?

    I don't see that as a positive step.
    • by Znork ( 31774 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:37AM (#14635000)
      Yep, that's exactly what the restriction in the GPLv3 is intended to prevent. It's hardly a philosophical change of direction, more like a clarification. The GPL has never been intended to allow freeriders who want to use and benefit from GPL code while at the same time preventing others from doing the same thing.
  • by Nicopa ( 87617 ) <{nico.lichtmaier} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:21AM (#14634866)
    Martin Fink tells it like it is:

    The question is not why you should migrate to GNU GPL v3, but why not?

  • by hahiss ( 696716 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:26AM (#14634903) Homepage
    Look, GPL3 does not force ``our" morality (in whatever sense of ``our" is relevant) here on anyone; nobody is compelled to use the license OR to use software released under such a license. This is not exactly like sending a perv-squad to take down adult shops or sending Christian soldiers off on a crusade in the middle-east or sending young people to blow themselves up in crowded buildings. . . . Heck, it isn't even like that whack-job Jack Thompson.

    (As an aside, there IS frequently plenty good reason to force our morality on those who don't agree. If the come walking into my town to commit genocide, I will impose my morality on them by either (i) appealing to their rationality or (ii) using force.)
    • Look, GPL3 does not force ``our" morality (in whatever sense of ``our" is relevant) here on anyone; nobody is compelled to use the license OR to use software released under such a license.

      Hehe, that's correct. You're free to use the license or not. You can just as well release your work as public domain if you wish. Or protect it with a super restrictive Microsoft-style license where you're barely allowed to even run the software.

      But what's being discussed, and why you see all "forcing morale on others stuf
  • DRM *can* be good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by egarland ( 120202 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:35AM (#14634982)
    One of the points he made which is very important is that digital signing of content is important for the way open source software works. If RedHat has to supply the keys used to sign Fedora Core 6 with the OS, the signature is completely useless. The anti-DRM provissions of GPL V3 would not only lead to less places you can use open source software, it would also make that software worse.

    I also agree with the idea that, while DRM is evil, it's not software developers place to fight it and in fact there is no *need* to fight it. The proprietary vs open thing will soon be smack the content creators around just as badly as it is smacking the software creators around now. The more quality content that is available for free, the harder it will be for the content houses to insist that you not only pay for content, you also have crazy limits on what you can do with it.

    There should be a fund and an organization dedicated to fostering tallent and helping them develop creating creative commons licenced works. I'd like to see all the National Endowment for the Arts money going to something like this for a few years. Better yet, I think there should be a tax on RIAA/MPAA producs used to fund it.
    • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

      If RedHat has to supply the keys used to sign Fedora Core 6 with the OS, the signature is completely useless.

      Then you'll be glad to know it doesn't. The section on giving away keys says you only have to do that if the software won't run without your private key. If Red Hat created a system where you could only install their signed RPMs, then they'd have to give away the private key under the GPLv3. As long as you're allowed to install unsigned RPMs or to install RPMs signed with your own key, their pri

    • by arevos ( 659374 )
      I wouldn't class code signing as DRM. Code signing doesn't stop the user from using unsafe code if they really want to, whilst DRM is designed to restrict what the user can do.
    • Re:DRM *can* be good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by coofercat ( 719737 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:15PM (#14635334) Homepage Journal
      Someone more legally minded than me may shoot me down for this, but I understand that Linus' comments about Redhat are a misunderstanding of the GPL3. From TFA:

      Notice how the current GPLv3 draft pretty clearly says that Red Hat would have to distribute their private keys so that anybody sign their own versions of the modules they recompile, in order to re-create their own versions of the signed binaries that Red Hat creates. That's INSANE.

      This is not what the GPL3 says at all. It says you must distribute keys IF your code won't work without them. In the Redhat case, that's not true at all - you can download and install unsigned (or third party signed) code all you want. Redhat signs stuff so you can be sure it came from Redhat and not Fred in His Shed - that is ALL.

      From TFL:
      Complete Corresponding Source Code also includes any encryption or authorization codes necessary to install and/or execute the source code of the work, perhaps modified by you, in the recommended or principal context of use, such that its functioning in all circumstances is identical to that of the work, except as altered by your modifications. It also includes any decryption codes necessary to access or unseal the work's output.

      The GPL3 does not try to take code-signing capability away from anyone. It states that you must give away keys if it's impossible to make a working program without them. I'll give an example:

      Say there's a crypto program that uses modules, and is not open source. If you write modules, they have to be signed by one of a series of keys before the program will use the module.

      If you tried to release a GPL3 module for this product, you would have to also put your keys with it because without the keys, a third party cannot produce a working module.

      The GPL3 really says that if you're using DRM, you have to let other people use it too. There's a double-edged sword here: At the moment, you could release your (non-working) module as GPL2. Of course, it's useless, except for anyone else who has the keys. It's unlikely the owner of the crypto program would release keys for anyone to use (and so distribute) as that (as stated by Linus) makes the use of DRM pointless. In short, you're unlikely to be able to use the GPL3 for such situations.

      My personal view (as if it matters) is that the GPL3 will fail because (a) people don't understand it and (b) no commercial vendor is likely to use it if they have to give everything away to do it. Using GPL2 + secret keys means you get all the benefits of open source, without giving away your competitive edge.

      Of course, GPL3 might gain ground because version 3's got to be better than version 2, right?

      • by Parity ( 12797 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @01:40PM (#14636020)
        Linus understands the license correctly, as do you, but you don't understand Linus. He wasn't talking about what RedHat does -now-, he was saying -if- you had hardware that only ran signed kernels and -if- RedHat distributed a kernel for it -then- the GPLv3 -would- require RedHat to distribute their private key at the same time.

        Nothing to do with anything being done now, since RedHat does not currently run on any such locked hardware afaik.
  • Well said (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squoozer ( 730327 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:37AM (#14634996)

    I thought, when I first heard that Linux wouldn't support GPLv3, that he was simply throwing his teddies out the pram at something that was even written yet. No I hear his reasoning though it sounds like a very good call. GPLv3 sounds like it is loosing sight of what it really set out to achieve. OSS has reached a point where a lot of tech companies are seriously considering using it if not actually already using it. I can't help feeling that the power might have got to RMSs head a little. I'm not a big fan of Linus in particular but he does do a fairly good job of "keeping it real" something that people in powerful of infulental positions seem to lose sight of.

  • by gvc ( 167165 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:41AM (#14635026)
    It is commonly argued here that RMS and FSF are out-of-touch crusaders to be marginalized when considering how really to get software written. I disagree.

    Torvald's kernel and the community that support it are quite remarkable, and I wish to take nothing away from them. However, they would not exist if not for gcc and a host of other tools that themselves would simply not exist were it not for Stallman. He was savvy enough to see the creation of these tools; part of this savvy manifested itself in the GPL which demands quid-quo-pro from users of free software.

    Now you can imagine a world in which we all just gave away our efforts, and you can imagine a world in which this benevolency resulted in a societal revolution in which open-source (but not necessarily free) software thrived. I can never prove that such a world might not have evolved, but the world as it actually exists has been heavily shaped by Stallman's efforts.

    Stallman is certainly not irrelevant in the history of software. I would hesitate to dismiss him as irrelevant to the future.
    • by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:01PM (#14635206)
      Being relevant to the future doesn't make him right nor necessarily relevant to the future and claiming free software wouldn't exist today without gcc is absurd. BSD exists today after all. It could be argued that Linux has done more to make Stallman relevant than anything Stallman has done himself. Most ppl are interested in the software, not the ideology. That appears to include Linus.
  • Sometimes... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DesScorp ( 410532 ) <DesScorp.Gmail@com> on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:42AM (#14635031) Homepage Journal
    ...I think Linus is the only Human in the OS leadership. He seems to have a remarkable amount of common sense. Too bad it isn't rubbing off on his compatriots...
  • by radarsat1 ( 786772 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:43AM (#14635045) Homepage
    Okay, call me dense, but I really fail to understand why he thinks the GPLv3 is forcing people to give out their private keys??

    Perhaps I'm misunderstanding something, but I was under the impression that GPLv3 says that "source code must be made available, including any encryption keys required to get it". Doesn't this just mean that any encrypted information needed to get the system running need be provided? How does this imply that people need to give away the keys they used to SIGN the code? Authenticating the code has nothing to do with its availability.

    I don't understand why Linus seems to be confusing digital signing with DRM.. (yes, DRM uses digital signing techniques for implementation, but that doesn't imply that digital signing IS a form of DRM... only that DRM is a form of digital signing..)

    - confused.

  • Alan's Comments (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:45AM (#14635060) Journal
    Ping Wales have an interview with Alan Cox on the subject [pingwales.co.uk]. I know of two people who have tried submitting this, but it's been rejected both times.
  • I think Linus might change his tune if and when companies begin releasing de facto proprietary version of Linux on closed hardware platforms.

    It's simple really. A hardware company, say Dell or Apple, build DRM systems that only allow binaries that are digitally signed to run on their systems. They then proceed to pilfer GPLv2 code, sign it to run on their system, and then never give out signatures to any FOSS people.

    Dell sells a PCs, servers or Laptops running "Dell Signed Linux". Sure they give you the source, but they don't give you the keys. Linux becomes a closed OS on DRM platforms, with only the big companies able to turn the now useless source into working binaries. Cue the "Proprietary Linux" club, which will begin to look an awful lot like the Unix club.
    • by Eil ( 82413 )
      Uh, if Dell gives you the complete source code to their Dell Signed Linux (unencrypted, as it must be under even GPLv2), then all of the requirements of open source software have been fulfilled. It doesn't matter that the Dell system won't then run the non-signed code. It's still open source software. If you don't like the hardware then you know what? DON'T BUY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      Sheesh. People act like this is a new thing. Since the 80's video game console manufacturers have been doing everything possib
  • he doesn't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:51AM (#14635116)
    Smart guy, but can't see the big picture outside his own specialist niche. This isn't a dig, it's an observation,and I have seen it many times with brilliant people I know. If the software patents and DRM goons had had their way back before he wanted to build a minix/unix replacement, he wouldn't have been allowed legally to do most of what he did. Heck, we would barely have affordable functioning home computers either.
    I really like the idea of a new GPL that goes farther than the last one in making sure freedom and openness becdomes the norm and not the exception. If we can't get rid of software patents, we can use the fact they exist against that concept. It's sad but you can't remove the legal aspects to coding, so might as well use what ammo and tools are available to counter the threat that patents and DRM clearly are.
  • Short Sighted (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zephos ( 877875 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @11:57AM (#14635168)
    Although Linus makes very good points I think he doesn't understand the pernicious nature of those who would want DRM technology.

    Granted as a software creator I should have the ability to do whatever I want and the F/OSS community should only have domain over what they create. However, we are _not_ an independent community. Without hardware vendors the software we create is worthless.

    If the almighty Microsoft decided to lock out hobbiests and allow only those paying into a "partners" program to have their software signed as running on windows and neither the OS nor the underlying hardware allowed for execution of unsigned code then the F/OSS would run into problems.

    Granted "we" as a community could buy other hardware, but with the _vast_ market share of Microsoft it would be difficult [as it is to get drivers now] to convince vendors to spend the time, energy, and $$$ to develop F/OSS friendly hardware.

    I think Linus is a bit niave in thinking that larger software vendors won't make backdoor agreements with larger hardware vendors to use DRM technology to remove competition.

    I mean they've used every other tactic they can think of, why not hardware DRM?

  • by Chris Snook ( 872473 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:02PM (#14635217)
    Some police departments are using DRM in cameras to prove that photographic evidence has not been tampered with. This is just one of many, many examples people benefit from limiting the capabilities of the user. If you've ever worked in IT, you know how dangerous users can be. Imagine never having to remove gator from someone's computer again, while still giving them privileges to manage their own system.

    An anti-DRM software license is just as stupid as RMS deliberately making su insecure because he was mad that he couldn't root a box.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `earthshod.co.uk'> on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:13PM (#14635316)
    Has anybody here actually read and understood the anti-DRM provisions of GPLv3, or are you all just spouting off?

    Section Three -- the anti-DRM provision -- basically says that any work covered by the GPLv3 is not to be construed as a copy-prevention measure. In other words, if some mis-worded legislation makes it onto the statute books -- specifically legislation which apparently makes an act illegal, ignoring that a copyright holder might well have given permission for such an act -- GPLv3 3 is there to make it quite clear that the copying is being carried out with the blessing of the author.

    It also ensures that if software subject to GPLv3 is recorded on some medium which attempts to restrict copying, that any user who is forced to bypass anti-copying restrictions in order to perform a legitimate act for which permission had already been granted, has a legal defence for doing so.

    Which of the above don't you agree with?
  • Fighting DRM (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peter H.S. ( 38077 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:15PM (#14635335) Homepage
    I agree with Linus that the GPL is the wrong place to fight DRM.
    If you like me and many others, think that DRM imposes problems for both individual persons and the way we want to run our societies, then you must fight DRM at the _real_ battlefield, namely the political process that makes the laws governing your society.
    _WE_ know why DRM is a bad thing, but does the politicians? the voters? your friends?
    You need to sharpen your thoughts about why you think DRM is a bad thing for our society, and then act upon it.
    Fighting DRM is a political battle, not a technical.

    We may not be able to gather enough political support to outright ban DRM, so let us instead follow the anti-tobacco crowds lead, and bit by bit; a law here, a ban there, make DRM product manufactureres life difficult and expensive.

    Eg. enforce a DRM escrow: the content providers must guarantee, not promise, not try, but guarantee, that a DRM free version is available when the copyright expires.
    And since DRM products enjoys not only the strong copyright protection, but also protection from DMCA laws, then it is only fair, that the duration of this state guaranteed monopoly is shortenend somewhat.

    Be imaginative; think of all the little scenarios where DRM could be a problem, and work for small, concrete laws that expells DRM for that scenario, or at least makes it more expensive.

    Make a "lex Sony rootkit"; make DRM dealers responsible for their actions in a way that actually hurt them.

    Make sure that all DRM products are marked as such in a clear way, perhaps like on cigarette packets; "Warning, this product contains DRM, that may be harmfull for your personal freedom";-)

    Make a "Lex ipod", that guarantees everybody the right to use their bought content on _all future_ appliances.

    Peter H.S.
  • by stanwirth ( 621074 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:18PM (#14635359)

    If Linux were released under GPL3, then nobody with a DRM box could run Linux on it. But by allowing Linux to run on DRM hardware, if something doesn't work because of DRM, then the HW manufacturers are the bad guys, and DRM at fault -- not those nice OSS people who just want to help everybody.

    It also gives us all ongoing opportunities to observe misapplications of DRM technology (spyware, malware attempts) by providing a nice platform. While finding ways of actually thwarting lawful applications of DRM would be wrong, if there's an unlawful misapplication of DRM that's easily observable (because Linux runs on the thing) and possible to thwart...Cool!

    So I have to say that Linus has it right, both in spirit and in strategy wrt to the kernel. And there's nothing stopping anyone from writing GPL3 applications that run on it -- but only if you get a non-DRM box. Which is another way of strategically opposing DRM -- allow your OS to run on it, but let it break half the apps, so people have a reason to not buy DRM hardware.

    And he says as much, too.

    • don't be confused. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by twitter ( 104583 )
      If Linux were released under GPL3, then nobody with a DRM box could run Linux on it.

      No, people will continue to use hardware as well as they can. The ability to use your hardware as you see fit is a core freedom that's not contradicted by GPL3. That's very different from making DRM friendly code.

      The bottom line is that DRM will be used to deny you the ability to run your own code, regardless of your cooperation. DRM is about control and locking people out. You can see it coming.

  • God bless Torvalds (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @12:21PM (#14635378)
    He's so level-headed in a field of holy-men-with-a-mission-from-$DIETY as far as the eye can see. I may not always agree 100%, but it's well worth it just to hear him point out from time to time that we do not, in fact, have to commit ourselves to Jihad.
  • Missing the Point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yartrebo ( 690383 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @01:12PM (#14635804)
    I feel that Linus is missing the point. GPL3 is mostly a set of changes to give some assurances that code licensed under it will not be made proprietary through the use of DRM and strengthens the provisions regarding patents.

    Having anti-patent provisions makes total sense in my book. Having patents invoked against GPL'ed software means that the software cannot legally be used, and this provision makes it just that much more costly for a real (not a lawyer-only firm) to shut down a GPL project using patents while not effecting other users in the least.

    The DRM provisions don't forbid the use of DRM, but assuming their legal theory is correct, it will make it legal to circumvent the DRM assuming that it is done for a legal end.
  • get over it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idlake ( 850372 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @01:47PM (#14636050)
    I _literally_ feel that we do not - as software developers - have the moral right to enforce our rules on hardware manufacturers.

    Bill Gates has no qualms about enforcing his rules on hardware manufacturers. Neither does Steve Jobs or anybody else in industry. And corporate CEOs are religious about how they think the market should operate and won't shut up about it.

    RMS is no more religious than any of these people, and the GPLv3 restrictions are still far less onerous than anything Microsoft, Apple, Sun, or any of the other big players will force you to agree to.

    Linus is entitled to his opinion about the GPLv3. But his statement that we have no moral right to enforce those restrictions is ridiculous in light of the fact that everybody else is trying to place far stronger restrictions on licensees and nobody thinks twice about it.
  • by Maljin Jolt ( 746064 ) on Friday February 03, 2006 @02:11PM (#14636213) Journal
    Whole DRM concept is seriously flawed and cannot work in reality but in limited way only. Here are my points:

    - In cybernetics theory, there is no mathematical distinction between hardware and software. Hardware has theoretical base in abstract automatons while software in algorithms, but cybernetics shows those two are mathematically equivalent. Whatever algo you can design in hardware (logic gates, for example) you can implement in software and vice versa. Also in theory, there is no distinction between data and program as well.

    - Most non-cs people intuitively accept hardware as something static, and software+data as something volatile, and DRM is a try to declare software+data static by binding it to hardware. This is fundamental error of the DRM, because hardware could be not as "static" as it is expected to be. So, DRM concept does not respect laws of mathematics which makes it false.

    - Algorithm cannot decide if it runs as a part of some "bigger" algorithm. First emulator of specific DRM hardware will make the specific hardware obsolete.

    Example for dummies:

    Imagine your computer is DRMed totally to the stage you can only use a word processor with limited scripting of your own documents, and email to send your documents around. But you can create an universal computing platform even on top of that:
    - let the document represent a "memory" for virtual computer (line==instruction, use hex or keep the stuff human readable or both)
    - write some virtual instructions as a document script functions
    You can code an 8-bit platform such way in a week or two, capable of running some ancient 8-bit operating system such as Newdos-80 or CP/M at the speed comparable with those of 70'-80' computers. Or you can code something like forth or lisp even quicker, in days.
    - Process your data such as sound or pictures on that platform. Use other word documents as a filesystem.
    - use email transport as a low level network layer, implementing some simple protocols over it, treating an email message as a "packet".

    Now you have a free as in uncontrolled platform at your hands.

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