Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st Aug 2006 09:17 UTC, submitted by jeanmarc
GNU, GPL, Open Source Disagreements over what should be included in the free software license's next version have pitted the movement's leaders against each other. Say the letters G, P, and L in that order around most folks and you're likely to be met with a blank stare. But try dropping them around the open-source crowd, especially in proximity to San Francisco this mid-August, and you'll get a very different response: everything from fist-pumping to hand-wringing.
Thread beginning with comment 154400
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Linux and Free Software
by DKR on Mon 21st Aug 2006 13:05 UTC
DKR
Member since:
2005-08-22

Linux is just a kernel, and therefore a small piece in an otherwise huge GNU/Linux system. Stallman contends just that, and isn't too worried that Linux becomes GPLv3-d.

On the other hand, Eben Moglen seems to have confidence that Torvalds will make this change, which I doubt will happen, but it appears that everyone, including Torvalds has some sort of a mixed reaction.

I've read the GPLv3. I do not believe that the patent and DRM clauses/sections/statements/[legality] should be altered to fit the whims of businesses. Free Software, while still leaving room for business, was never in the best interest in the businesses because it was about respecting freedom and implementing politics, something businesses do not like.

Unless you're a business whose planning to restrict and subjugate users in one way or another that would violate the license in some arbitrary fashion, I would not be worried about the changes in GPLv3. In case you haven't noticed, their definition of Free Software has not changed. The license still permits you, as the consumer of the said software to run, copy, modify, and redistribute the software under the same definition of Free Software as was initially intended.

I assert that the GPLv3 is one of the most American, democratic things you can do to the world of Free Software. The American way was initially about freedom of speech, choice and individual opinion, but it seems that our government, politics (both in software and in many other factors in life and business) are being steadily impeded upon.

If businesses are afraid of the said politics -- let it be. We don't deserve DRM and software patents infringing on the rights of the users and developers who came to this world to be free.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Linux and Free Software
by elsewhere on Mon 21st Aug 2006 15:25 in reply to "Linux and Free Software"
elsewhere Member since:
2005-07-13

I've read the GPLv3. I do not believe that the patent and DRM clauses/sections/statements/[legality] should be altered to fit the whims of businesses. Free Software, while still leaving room for business, was never in the best interest in the businesses because it was about respecting freedom and implementing politics, something businesses do not like.

Unless you're a business whose planning to restrict and subjugate users in one way or another that would violate the license in some arbitrary fashion, I would not be worried about the changes in GPLv3. In case you haven't noticed, their definition of Free Software has not changed. The license still permits you, as the consumer of the said software to run, copy, modify, and redistribute the software under the same definition of Free Software as was initially intended.

I assert that the GPLv3 is one of the most American, democratic things you can do to the world of Free Software. The American way was initially about freedom of speech, choice and individual opinion, but it seems that our government, politics (both in software and in many other factors in life and business) are being steadily impeded upon.


First of all, once again, GPLv3 has nothing to do with conventional DRM. Nothing in v3 would prevent vendors from implementing DRM as a method of content control. If that's your concern, you'll have to continue to vote with your feet rather than letting others make decisions on licensing for you.

The issue is to whether or not it is appropriate for a software license to dictate terms to hardware manufacturers for the privilege of running and supporting "free" software.

Many like to wrap themselves in a flag and cry freedom whenever Stallman farts in public. That's fine. Others are a little more rational about it. You don't have to embrace patents, closed architectures or capitalism to accept that they exist and find a way to co-exist with them.

The GPL became the de facto OSS license not because of the freedom it brought users, but because of the fact that it inadvertently created a mechanism that encouraged collaboration from both commercial interests and the community. Which is why Linus chose it in the first place. Linux has become a multi-billion dollar business, no other OSS project can make that claim. And more importantly it has done so without extracting sacrifice from the community that helped it prosper. Individual users have access to run and modify the very same software that enterprises pay thousands upon thousands of dollars in contract fees to deploy and support.

And apparently that's not good enough because of Tivo, we now need to interfere with something that works adequately in the name of zealotry. We need to break something that is working in order to teach big bad corporations a lesson.

Linux, despite it's community roots, is driven by commercial interests. It would never have reached it's current position without that support. It has somehow achieved a balance that works better than I think anyone anticipated. It validates the power of the GPL and an OSS development model. It is far from perfect, but it's success justifies accepting it's deficiencies rather than throwing it away.

Unfortunately it doesn't necessarily validate the FSF model of absolute, unequivocal freedom and so Stallman is attempting to hijack Linux's success as a platform for furthering political idealism.

The best thing that could happen is the rejection of v3 by the kernel team thereby scaring off all the free software zealots and allowing everybody else to stick with the program and keep linux advancing, free from political interference and still able to embrace commercial support, development and investment in the same quid pro quo manner it has always been. The majority seems happy enough with the status quo, so who exactly is asking for change?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Linux and Free Software
by r_a_trip on Mon 21st Aug 2006 17:02 in reply to "RE: Linux and Free Software"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

The issue is to whether or not it is appropriate for a software license to dictate terms to hardware manufacturers for the privilege of running and supporting "free" software.

Of course it is appropriate, or at least this is what the GPL (all of its incarnations) has always done. You can't legally interface hardware with non-closed modules to GPL-ed software and distribute the result. That is why there are no closed drivers in the kernel. That is why NVIDIA is asking its customers to create non-redistributable kernels by implanting non-gpl-ed code in it. The only way to make a legally distributable hardware and software combo is to comply with the GPL. So GPLv2 imposes restrictions on hardware vendors.

Unfortunately it doesn't necessarily validate the FSF model of absolute, unequivocal freedom and so Stallman is attempting to hijack Linux's success as a platform for furthering political idealism.

You seem to forget there would be no Linux if it weren't for GNU. Linus could take a complete GNU OS environment to write his kernel against. That OS environment written by the GNU project is directly linked to the FSF. So who hijacked who?

Don't forget that when the GPLv3 goes gold, the whole GNU software repository is instantly licensed under both the GPLv2 and GPLv3 and moving onward from there the patches will probably become GPLv3 only. So with time passing, the current GNU GPLv2 toolchain will become increasingly more entangled with GPLv3 code, making it practically impossible to use it under the GPLv2.

I wonder what Linus' contingency plan is. Massive forking to keep the current GNU toolchain GPLv2 clean or just accept that locking GPLv3 code with a DRM padlock is impossible. I guess it will be the latter.

Commercial interests, besides the small subset of entertaiment businesses, don't care about electronic padlocks. They don't use computers to listen to the latest rubbish from commercial "pop stars" or the latest flick from Hollywood. Then again, Hollywood is free to write closed software to support their flicks on GNU/Linux, with DRM and all. The Record Industry has the same freedom. They just can't take an easy ride and piggy back on software licensed under the GPLv3.

Who is asking for change? Everybody who wants to use his/her computer free from third party interests seeking to impose restrictions on usage. It's better to accept some self-restriction than to lose that control wholesale to an ourside party.

In other words, I'd rather forego the latest whizbang, must-have Joe Average fad myself, than have you decide what I can do with my property. The GPLv3 provisions for that.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Linux and Free Software
by BluenoseJake on Mon 21st Aug 2006 18:36 in reply to "Linux and Free Software"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

DRM and software patents are 2 different things. I tend to agree that software patents are a bad thing, but DRM's main use today is the protection of copyrighted music and video. If you are an artist, you have the right to control the distribution of your work any way you see fit, and DRM is the only way to do that in today's technological society.

It is better to work with content producers to build better, more free DRM systems, that work fairly and can be trusted. DRM is not evil in itself, but it can be used as such. Banning DRM in the GPL leaves users of free systems out in the cold when it comes to new content formats (HD-DVD, Blue-ray), and forces them to either not buy new technology, lowering the adoption rate and slowing down innovation (you can pile the scorn on, but it's true, iTunes, for example, would not have existed without DRM), or force them to go to OSX or Windows.

Lets not cut off our noses to spite our face, ok?

Reply Parent Score: 2