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Torvalds Describes DRM and GPLv3 as 'Hot Air' 420

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

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  • by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:52AM (#17629400)
    Is that just an omission on the part of the reporter or do you really believe you have no moral responsibility to intervene when you see someone doing something wrong?

    I think he just means that if someone wants to write code that implements some sort of DRM scheme, he thinks they should be allowed to do that. What he should be saying is that he is OK if they do that with HIS code, because that is his position.

    If he is really OK with "letting people do what they want," then why force them to allow further modification of works derived from your code?

    Why not just let them take your code, create their own version and use a signed key to make any further modifications unusable on the device? Oh wait. That's what DRM does. He **is** OK with that.

    Linus sure is a confusing guy.
  • Re:Shows it... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot,kadin&xoxy,net> on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @11:55AM (#17629456) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't really matter. The real battle of DRM is going to happen in Congress; if the content industry gets what it wants, people won't have any option as to whether they buy DRM or not, any more than you have a choice of whether or not to buy a MacroVision-enabled VCR. They're just going to get Congress to mandate it, and that will be the end of the discussion.

    The technology of DRM is hardly even worth discussing, because it's inherently flawed. There cannot ever be a 'perfect DRM' system, because of the model's fundamental problems. So whatever gets implemented, will be broken -- the discussion is whether the people who break it, and others who subsequently take advantage of the break, will be criminals.
  • Re:*Not* pragmatic (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:15PM (#17629804)
    the Linux community could have avoided an embarrassing debacle.

    Oh please. What embarrassing debacle? I'm an avid Linux user, read news sites constantly, and only heard that they were switching to git from BitKeeper. If it was a "debacle", I'm 100% sure it would have been more newsworthy than it was.

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

    Stallman is a moron and always has been. Just because he happened to be right about BitKeeper doesn't mean that we should worry our pretty little heads about GPLv3 and DRM. If someone wants to write DRM stuff for Linux, so be it. There is a huge opportunity for the kernel to be written by someone else that doesn't want to have that functionality.

    Let Linux run the way it always has -- with very little care about how the code is modified.
  • by spiritraveller ( 641174 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @12:45PM (#17630392)
    Isn't imposing a restriction on what someone can do with your code violating the freedoms that Stallman advocates and demands, or are we supposed to do as he says and not as he does where DRM is concerned?

    No and no.

    The point of the GPL is to allow sharing and modification, while disallowing activities that would prevent further sharing and modification.

    If you don't prevent others from restricting sharing and modification, then you might as well release your code into the public domain.
  • by init100 ( 915886 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:06PM (#17630786)

    what? When has that ever happened?

    What? You never heard about the TiVo, the device that brought the DRM clause to the GPLv3? The operating system of the TiVo is Linux, probably not only the kernel, but also other GNU utilities. It is supposed to be free to modify for the user. But TiVo signs the software with their private key, and the hardware verifies that the operating system image contains a signature created by their private key. If it doesn't, the system refuses to start.

    This is effectively a DRM system that removes the ability to modify the software on the TiVo, even though it is mostly free software, where allowing modification by the user is a crucial part of the license. It barely complies with the GPLv2 by supplying the source code, but requiring that the modified software is used on another hardware device (not a TiVo).

  • by hutchike ( 837402 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @01:32PM (#17631290) Homepage Journal
    From []:

    "Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation." GPL3 code can eat GPL2 code, but GPL2 code can't eat GPL3, since it requires compliance to GPL3 or "any later version". Well, that's how I read it anyhow.

  • by Undertaker43017 ( 586306 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:01PM (#17631806)
    "My rights to use my hardware to the fullest of its ability given that I own it."

    No one is restricting your rights to use your hardware to it's fullest, your hardware works exactly as it was intended by the manufacturer. They have just as much right to sell you hardware that has DRM capability as the media companies have to sell you DRM'd content. If you don't like those restrictions find an alternative.

    Also you are free to inform other people of the "evils" of DRM and bring them over to your cause, thus further swinging the demand to your side. Good luck though, most people don't even care enough to vote, so getting them to care about something as arcane and non-life threatening as DRM...

    If enough people rise up against DRM, it won't be profitable for companies and they will be forced to try something else, that's how supply and demand works.
  • Re:Shows it... (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday January 16, 2007 @02:54PM (#17632718) Journal
    iTMS DRM is liberal, but it's still too restrictive. Pretty much any modern (last year or two) mobile phone can play AAC audio, including any format ripped in iTunes except Apple Lossless (no problem, because transcoding from Apple Lossless in iTunes is easy and doesn't introduce any artefacts that you wouldn't have got from going straight from CD to the lossy format). How many can play iTMS music? One or two?

    It's not just Free OS users these days; pretty much everyone owns a device that is technically capable of playing iTMS music, but can't because of the DRM.

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