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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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 Parent 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 Parent 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 Parent Score: 2