Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 13th May 2007 14:17 UTC, submitted by Rahul
GNU, GPL, Open Source Open source guru Alan Cox has voiced his support for the controversial version 3.0 of the GNU General Public Licence in an exclusive podcast interview with Computer Weekly. Cox was once regarded as the Linux number two behind Linus Torvalds because of his work maintaining the Linux kernel, and he is still a major force in the open source community. But whereas Torvalds has openly criticised GPL 3.0, and said he will not be signing up to the new licence, Cox is fully behind it.
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v nonsense
by Oliver on Sun 13th May 2007 15:53 UTC
RE: nonsense
by Rahul on Sun 13th May 2007 18:13 UTC in reply to "nonsense"
Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

All the patents that Alan cox has ever applied to falls under Red Hat patent policy which allows open source folks to use them.

http://www.redhat.com/legal/patent_policy.html

Reply Score: 5

angle/spin/bias/hyperbole/perspective
by troc on Sun 13th May 2007 16:00 UTC
troc
Member since:
2006-05-01

Isn't there a difference between, alan cox stating it is "making good progress" or "getting close to being a good licence" and you reporting that "Cox is fully behind it." ?

It is good news, why mar it ?

Reply Score: 5

pepa Member since:
2005-07-08

The "you reporting" should be "computerweekly.com reporting".

Reply Score: 3

troc Member since:
2006-05-01

Ok I should change 'you reporting' to 'reporting'.

But why copy sloppy reporting ?

It is not as if the 'linked by' clarifies the status of the intro or that there are any quotation marks. Nor are there any references or attribution specifiers. The only way I can see that this is not original content is by doing a side by side comparison. This should change.

Reply Score: 0

pepa Member since:
2005-07-08

I'm fully with you on this. I have to admit, I haven't listened to the podcast, so I can't seperate what ComputerWeekly said and what Alan Cox actually said.

Reply Score: 2

No so different
by BrianH on Sun 13th May 2007 16:14 UTC
BrianH
Member since:
2005-07-06

"There are still a couple of problems with the current draft, but it is getting very close to being a good license," said Cox.


That's hardly full support, and for that matter not all that different from Linus Torvalds' statements about the latest draft of GPL3. It's still a criticism, but a mild one.

Reply Score: 5

Doesnt matter
by Xaero_Vincent on Sun 13th May 2007 16:25 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

I don't think the Linux kernel can be changed to the GPLv3 (or at least in its entirety) without the consent of all the kernel developers, which is unprobable for one but now impossible as a few of the early devs have passed away and thus cannot state their opinion.

Reply Score: 3

v RE: Doesnt matter
by jlt2007 on Sun 13th May 2007 17:08 UTC in reply to "Doesnt matter"
RE[2]: Doesnt matter
by jlarocco on Sun 13th May 2007 19:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Doesnt matter"
jlarocco Member since:
2005-09-14

I'm sure they won't object too loudly, if at all!


That's the problem. They don't have to object, they have to approve.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Doesnt matter
by sbergman27 on Sun 13th May 2007 19:34 UTC in reply to "Doesnt matter"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

I agree that it is unlikely that the Linux kernel license could be changed. (And if it did, I wonder what legal troubles it might cause later on when someone claims in court that it was changed illegally, whether true or not.)

But surely copyright rights get passed on as part of one's estate.

Reply Score: 3

v GPLv3?
by antik on Sun 13th May 2007 16:49 UTC
RE: GPLv3?
by abraxas on Sun 13th May 2007 19:57 UTC in reply to "GPLv3?"
abraxas Member since:
2005-07-07

GPLv2 is a mess by itself- why we need yet another license that nobody understand. If you need entire book with comments for license to fully understand what it really is then this license is useless crap and should be banned instantly.

One reason for a version 3 of the GPL is to clean up the license and make it easier to read and understand.

Where is KISS principle (Keep It Stupid Simple)? There are plenty of licenses available (already) why invent yet another wheel?

If the license doesn't quite do what the author intends it to do then a new license is required. Why do people complain about a few open licenses when every commercial software vendor has a different licensing scheme?

Reply Score: 4

Well
by diegocg on Sun 13th May 2007 17:02 UTC
diegocg
Member since:
2005-07-08

The last thing I heard about Linus and the GPL3 was that he was 'pretty pleased' with the *last* draft (http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-6171300-7.html)

So the phrase "But whereas Torvalds has openly criticised GPL 3.0, and said he will not be signing up to the new licence" is wrong. Yes, he has critized the GPL3 in the past, but he is pleased with the last draft (which invalidates the previous critizements) and he has even said that now there's a theorical posibility of relicensing the kernel under the GPL3.

Reply Score: 5

Rahul Member since:
2005-07-06

Alan Cox has returned back to Red Hat after the sabbatical long back and has been working on several things. If you had actually bothered hearing the interview he mentioned a few things like converting all the ide drivers to use libata that has been merged in 2.6.21 or cleaning up tty drivers which is a ongoing effort. Even during the sabbatical he has been fairly active in and outside the kernel including Xorg.

Edited 2007-05-13 18:19

Reply Score: 5

stephanem Member since:
2006-01-11

Cleaning up code is not what GURUs do.

Edited 2007-05-14 04:50

Reply Score: 0

butters Member since:
2005-07-08

You obviously don't realize that the top lieutenants, including Linus and Andrew, spend much of their time on code maintenance issues and don't write that many LOCs. They certainly exert a strong influence on the direction of future development, but they're up all night reviewing diffs, cleaning them up, and resolving merge conflicts.

This isn't just the way free software works. The gurus in any programming shop end up becoming glorified paper pushers as their knowledge and experience trumps their coding skills. This is especially true in kernel development, since interactions between the various subsystems can get pretty hairy. You need your gurus up at the top guiding and overseeing the work of the underlings. This involves more reading than writing and more cleaning than developing of code.

Reply Score: 4

The controversial part
by b3timmons on Sun 13th May 2007 19:34 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Open source guru Alan Cox has voiced his support for the controversial version 3.0 of the GNU General Public Licence in an exclusive podcast interview with Computer Weekly.

IMO, the controversial part is not so much GPLv3 but how its perception depends so much on the words of gurus as opposed to, you know, sound arguments.

E.g., assume you do not hang on the words of gurus but just want for your software the best protection for the four freedoms. When the GPLv3 is published, which license will be best suit you?

Reply Score: 5

RE: The controversial part
by sbergman27 on Sun 13th May 2007 20:35 UTC in reply to "The controversial part"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
IMO, the controversial part is not so much GPLv3 but how its perception depends so much on the words of gurus as opposed to, you know, sound arguments.
"""

I agree completely. So many of the GPLv3 supporters are blindly following RMS rather than considering the issues for themselves.

While anyone who dares to disagree is dismissed by them as simply not understanding the license.

After all , anyone who disagrees with RMS *must* not understand the license, right?

Edited 2007-05-13 20:37

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: The controversial part
by Shade on Sun 13th May 2007 20:59 UTC in reply to "RE: The controversial part"
Shade Member since:
2005-07-07

"I agree completely. So many of the GPLv3 supporters are blindly following RMS rather than considering the issues for themselves.

While anyone who dares to disagree is dismissed by them as simply not understanding the license.

After all , anyone who disagrees with RMS *must* not understand the license, right?"

That sort of thinking does cut both ways. I'm not picking on you specifically here. God knows that there are enough 'flames' on very side of anything like this. Sites like this live off that fact... Not that there's anything terribly wrong with that.

That being said, I am on the RMS side of the fence here... So I'd like to see a GPL 3 that covers 'emerging areas of concern' and stays true to the quid-pro-quo (enforced freedom) nature of the GPL. (Without being 'unfairly' punitive.)

I'm actually quite happy that the GPL 3 is getting such extensive peer review. It's actually in the true spirit of Free Software when you think about it. Many eyes make most problems shallow and all of that jazz.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The controversial part
by b3timmons on Sun 13th May 2007 21:01 UTC in reply to "RE: The controversial part"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

After all , anyone who disagrees with RMS *must* not understand the license, right?

Anyone who follows anyone else blindly is in trouble--RMS, Cox, Einstein, Elvis, whoever. Anyone who is ready to discuss using facts and logic instead of names, who is more interested in truth than in having a following, has no worries.

Of course, facts and logic may be used to point out a blind following, so try to point out whatever you want.

The GPLv3 is not perfect, but my question on this story's topic is simply: for anyone seeking for their software the best support for the four freedoms, why would anyone choose something other than the GPLv3 when it is published?

Edited 2007-05-13 21:20

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The controversial part
by Ford Prefect on Sun 13th May 2007 21:50 UTC in reply to "RE: The controversial part"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

My impression up till now is the complete opposite: It seems that so many of the GPLv3 nay-sayers are blindly following ... what-/ or whomever.


I didn't count many of these, blind or not, GPLv3 supporters so far. I did count lots of blind looking GPLv3 punishers.


Anyway, it doesn't count. The license counts, what it says, and what your position on it is about. My position as developer is, it is suitable for me, preserving _my_ rights on my very own software. Because, if someone has to "give up" some of his patents to free software users (and _free_ software users only) to incorporate them into _my_ software, it's not my problem. But if someone uses _my_ software, incorporates patented stuff and therefore makes me pay him money just to even use what he "contributed back", it _is_ a problem to me.

Most people I hear talking about GPLv3 don't talk in the position of a developer. They talk in the position of a user, or whatever. It's _the developer_ who has to choose his license, not the user.

Reply Score: 5

Correction to article
by kwag on Sun 13th May 2007 20:33 UTC
kwag
Member since:
2006-08-31

Quote from the article:
"Devised by the Free Software Foundation, the licence will govern how open source code is distributed and what happens if it is modified."

It should read ->> Devised by the Free Software Foundation, the licence will govern how "GPL" code is distributed and what happens if it is modified.


NOT how Open Source is distributed.

Reply Score: 2

No surprise here
by cjcox on Sun 13th May 2007 22:25 UTC
cjcox
Member since:
2006-12-21

No offense, but Alan works for Red Hat, and Red Hat is anti-anything that has patents, unfortunately that also means companies who possess patents. Red Hat maintains a purist approach to Linux which means no proprietary drivers, etc. This shouldn't surprise anyone. Red Hat and GPLv3 are VERY compatible with each other.

Reply Score: 2

We've already been through this
by Lambda on Mon 14th May 2007 04:07 UTC
Lambda
Member since:
2006-07-28

It doesn't matter what Alan Cox thinks or Torvalds, or RMS, or anybody else for that matter. The kernel can't (for pragmatic reasons) have its license changed.

Now what this does affect is obviously GNU software. Most GNU projects demands copyright assignment so that with one fell swoop all GNU software can be changed to GPL v3. Of course that's the real reason for the copyright assignment , despite the official GNU line that it's about "protecting your rights".

It'll be interesting to see how the whole "patent clause" in GPL v3 affects interested parties. RMS will do his best to punish Novell with the license, but in all likelihood it'll just further isolate RMS, the FSF, and GNU.

Reply Score: 2

B. Janssen Member since:
2006-10-11

Every piece of software that is licensed "GPL v2 or later" can be moved to the GPL v3, including parts of the Linux kernel that are licensed in such way.

Since GNU projects are licensed "GPL v2 or later" it wouldn't matter if the copyright was assigned to GNU or not. Your cheap stab just betrays your agenda.

Reply Score: 4

Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> Every piece of software that is licensed "GPL v2 or
> later" can be moved to the GPL v3, including parts
> of the Linux kernel that are licensed in such way.

Yes, those parts of the kernel that are "v2 or later" could be moved to v3. But would that be sensible? It would essentially mean that the distribution of a compiled kernel is illegal, since it contains at the same time v2-only parts and v3-or-later parts. In practice that would mean a compiled kernel must be distributed (if at all) under v2-only and v3-only at the same time. The only way to distribute such a kernel is in source code form, or more accurately in unlinked form, such that you don't have a whole that is derived from the different parts at the same time, but a mere aggregration of the parts.

Unless, of course, the kernel devs want to go illegal and hand over a legal gun to MS and others to shoot them.

Reply Score: 2

lindkvis Member since:
2006-11-21

"Unless, of course, the kernel devs want to go illegal and hand over a legal gun to MS and others to shoot them."

You are mixing civil law and criminal law. Redistributing a binary kernel with GPL v3 and GPL v2 mixed would not be a crime, but it would leave the distributor open to lawsuits from the copyright holders under civil law.

Unless Microsoft is a copyright holder for parts of the Linux kernel (which I doubt), they are not party to any copyright infringement. Not everything has to to with Microsoft.

Reply Score: 3

Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> You are mixing civil law and criminal law.

Right, I apologize.

> Unless Microsoft is a copyright holder for parts of
> the Linux kernel (which I doubt), they are not party
> to any copyright infringement.

I mentioned MS because they hold a high interest in damaging Linux. Yes, they cannot simply go to court and sue for copyright infringement. But there are other ways to reach a goal, utilizing the legal situation.

For one, having Linux infringe someone's copyright is a nice tool to spread some FUD (and even more than FUD since there much "F" but little "U" and "D" about the legal situation - the copyright holders *can* sue, the question is only if they *will*).

Then there is the question whether all kernel devs actually agree (leaving out the deceased ones for a moment). Some may oppose being stepped upon; others may disagree with v3 in principle. Won't they actually sue to ensure their rights?

Then what if MS steps forward and "helps" those annoyed devs in court - maybe financially? And maybe hiding behind other companies so they don't scare the annoyed devs by the fact that it is MS helping them?

Then there is the (minor, but still present) possibility that one of the contributors just doesn't care that much about Linux and agrees on a deal with microsoft to gain some cash for transferring the copyright to MS.

Reply Score: 2

Lambda Member since:
2006-07-28

Every piece of software that is licensed "GPL v2 or later" can be moved to the GPL v3, including parts of the Linux kernel that are licensed in such way.


I'm sure "or later" is legally binding....NOT.

Since GNU projects are licensed "GPL v2 or later" it wouldn't matter if the copyright was assigned to GNU or not. Your cheap stab just betrays your agenda.


It's you morons that have the religious agenda.

Reply Score: 2

v Alan Cox = Red Hat
by tomcat on Tue 15th May 2007 02:02 UTC
RE: Alan Cox = Red Hat
by ubit on Tue 15th May 2007 08:48 UTC in reply to "Alan Cox = Red Hat"
ubit Member since:
2006-09-08

Yeah because Novell should be able to skirt the GPL with Microsoft when they hardly wrote any of it. Tech companies who actually wrote a huge amount of code have no right to be upset at that, nuh uh.

I still find it interesting that the OSDL and Free Standards Group (comprised of companies support GNU/Linux) dissolved so soon into the Linux Foundation after ex-CEO Stuart Cohen supported the Novellsoft deal. Seems like it's not just a bunch of crazy Linux zealots who have problems with that deal after all.

Edited 2007-05-15 08:51

Reply Score: 2