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Torvalds Puts Support Behind GPL2 Linux 326

Christiangrays writes "Linux creator Linus Torvalds has used an interview being made public by the Linux Foundation to stress that version 2 of the GPL still makes the most sense for the Linux kernel over the newer GPL version 3. GPL 3, which was released last year by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), reflects the FSF's goals while GPL 2 closely matches what Torvalds thinks a licence should do, Torvalds said. "I want to pick the licence that makes the most sense for what I want to do. And at this point in time, Version 2 matches what I think we want to do much, much better than Version 3," said Torvalds, who is now a fellow at the foundation. He was interviewed in late-October by Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin."
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Torvalds Puts Support Behind GPL2 Linux

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  • by autocracy ( 192714 ) <> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:59AM (#21954816) Homepage
    I don't believe so. I'll be half-assed and make somebody else verify this for me as I'm too busy to grok the kernel license at the moment, but I believe that the GPL v2 found in the kernel sources leaves off the part that says "or any later revision."
  • Re:2 vs 3 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @12:37PM (#21955360) Journal

    What is the value of letting a company use and modify the Linux kernel if they can legitimitely lock out any usage of a modified kernel on that hardware?
    Value to whom? To the company, the value is that they get a cheap and relatively well-supported development platform. To the Linux community the advantage is that more people are working on Linux. To the end user, the advantage is that they get a device with a stable[1] kernel.

    Any company building a product like this has three choices:

    • Use a proprietary kernel like QNX or Wince.
    • Use a BSD licensed kernel.
    • Use Linux.
    Linus believes that changing to GPv3 would push companies to choose one of the first two options instead of Linux. RMS believes that switching to v3 would cause companies to continue using Linux but rethink their policy about locking users out of the systems they bought.

    [1] Please replace stable with any other adjective you feel applies to the Linux kernel.

  • Re:2 vs 3 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @12:40PM (#21955414)
    Bullshit. That's like saying that because you pay taxes, you support torture! Or like saying since you support slashdot, which is part of a corporation, you're promoting the exploitation of poor chinese children! Linus believes that there's a difference between hardware and software, and that software shouldn't dictate hardware. That makes sense to me.
  • The real question... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @01:26PM (#21956098) Homepage Journal
    The real question is would a move to GPL3 benefit your freedom? Unfortunately, Linus doesn't give a hoot about your freedom. Here's a practical example of the importance of freedom for those who aren't willing to consider it in the abstract. I have some Sony HDTV hard disk recorders. They are going to stop getting the TV guide and will stop having the ability to set their clock when the analog TV shutdown completes at the San Francisco PBS station (which broadcasts that data in its vertical interval). These devices use Linux and indeed they come with a copyright notice for Busybox (which I created). They are also DRM locked. Sony is just going to allow the devices to become bricks, even though they were sold as HDTV, rather than analog TV, recorders. I will have to somehow crack their DRM if I want the devices to be useful after next February. GPL3 would have given me a better ability to do this work and save my device from an uncaring vendor. GPL3 is also compatible with DRM for media, as long as the DRM isn't done in the GPL3 program. So, Sony could have used it, and could have made it more possible for this device to continue to live.


  • Re:2 vs 3 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eggnoglatte ( 1047660 ) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @01:28PM (#21956140)

    Well, besides the point that the GPLv3 doesn't stop TIVO from doing that...
    I salute you! Finally somebody who gets it. I so wish I had mod points right now. Whenever this topic comes up, I am tempted to post the N different ways for circumventing GPLv3 that I can think of, but ultimately I don't want to encourage anybody.

    Escalating the rules and restrictions for distributors in the GPL is somewhat similar to ever increasing new DRM methods: the more difficult you make it, the more likely it is that you'll find somebody who sees it as his mission to produce a workaround. The escalation of rules and workarounds will just go on until the rules have become so restrictive that a whole number of legitimate uses are precluded, at which point people will move on to the next project. The only way to deal with that is to stop, and accept that a minority will always be using your stuff in ways you don't fully agree with. Get over it.

  • Re:2 vs 3 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @02:05PM (#21956830)

    You can use the software on other hardware...

    I'm going to tell you a little story. I'm sure you've already heard it, being a Slashdot reader, but I'll continue anyway:

    A couple of decades ago, there was a programmer, working at a college in New England, who had just gotten a new printer. He had a problem, though: the printer didn't do quite what he wanted. But that wasn't a big deal; like any good programmer, he figured he'd simply modify the printer's driver to fix it. In order to do this he'd need the source code, so he emailed the manufacturer to get a copy. Now, back then people -- and especially those working in academia -- shared code all the time; it was normal. So imagine his surprise and dismay when the company refused to give him the code for his own printer! Now remember, he could have just gotten himself a different printer. But he was upset about the principle of the thing. In fact, he was so upset about it that he resolved to dedicate himself to ensuring that users could always control their tools.

    So who was the programmer in my story? His name is Richard Stallman, and he created GNU and the GPL. So ask yourself this: considering the reasoning behind the GPL, is having to buy or make different hardware good enough?

  • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) * <> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @02:11PM (#21956942) Homepage Journal
    There is nothing about the DRM provisions of GPL3 that matters where Busybox is concerned, because Busybox doesn't do the DRM.

    Actually, I am working on a dual-licensed version of Busybox. It doesn't include the work of other folks, and does include a new UDEV implementation. People who don't support freedom can pay for the privilege, and I'll use that money to make more free code.


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