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Because of people like Linus, RMS, and PJ

Post by Void Main » Fri Jul 28, 2006 12:02 pm

Wow, hot thread over at Groklaw on GPLv3 with Linus jumping in as an Anonymous poster. Follow the thread through and you will find several comments by Linus. I understand more about his strong feelings regarding GPLv2 vs GPLv3 and I think I may be moving back a little toward his position and away from Richard's after hearing him rant. He does make some good points. Crazy the things you run into while reading your daily news sites. :)

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Post by Master of Reality » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:03 pm

Not being a "real" developer (yet) I never really looked at the differences.

It is a really... interesting thread. It sounds like the v3 wants to encompass the hardware aspects (with the key stuff) and the running of the software where v2 was only concerned about the actual Source Code.

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Post by Void Main » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:19 pm

Stallman believes that you should have the freedom to change your software. You do have this freedom under both GPLv2 and GPLv3. Stallman has a problem with being restricted from running the resulting binary after having made your changes. Tivo has created their hardware so that it will only run the binary image of the GPL software that they have compiled (DRM).

Under both versions of the GPL Tivo must make the source code available, which which they do, however if you change the source and compile it the Tivo hardware will not run the resulting binary. Stallman calls this "Tivoization". He wants to make this impossible under GPLv3. He wants to make sure the user has a right to not only be able to change the code but should not be restricted from running it. Linus doesn't believe these changes belong in the GPL.

I was fully onboard with Stallman but after reading Linus's rant I'm not 100%. The thing is, the Linux kernel can continue to be licensed under version 2 of the GPL and probably will considering Linus's and the other main developers position on the issue. That means Tivoization will probably continue.

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Post by Void Main » Fri Jul 28, 2006 5:47 pm

Wow, Linus even replied to my post. Now I feel like a little school girl! :)

So the Linus comments are easier to follow and don't get lost I will back up a few of the comments from this article at Groklaw (Linus's reply to my menial post at the bottom):

Initial comment by anonymous poster:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 03:16 PM EDT

I don't think Linus misunderstood the DRM clause. He disagreed with it,
because his way of looking at the problem has changed since he was a student.

After working at Transmeta, Linus can understand *why* a company would try to
limit people from messing with software on an embedded device. As a technical
programmer, he still releases software open source and uses open source, and
demands that he not be treated as an 'IDIOT' (
http://lists.osdl.org/pipermail/desktop ... 00390.html ).
But he can understand why TiVo does what it does. And he disagreed with the
clause.
Reply by anonymous poster:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 03:26 PM EDT

And, since I'm not Linus, to back up the "I don't think he misunderstood," check out what he said on the Kernel mailing list:

I believe that a software license should cover the software it licenses, not how it is used or abused - even if you happen to disagree with certain types of abuse.

I believe that hardware that limits what their users can do will die just becuase being user-unfriendly is not a way to do successful business. ... I'd rather be blue-eyed than consider all uses of security technology to necessarily always be bad.
Reply by PJ:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 03:51 PM EDT

He misunderstood about the idea he had that it meant you
had to reveal your key to signing software, that kind of
thing, and that was never the meaning.
Reply by anonymous poster:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 04:26 PM EDT

Better Torvalds quotes, from after the signing thing was explained (HTML-ized):

So taking open software and closed hardware and combining it into something that I cannot modify is ok by you?

But you CAN modify the software part of it. You can run it on other hardware.

It boils down to this: we wrote the software. That's the only part I care about, and perhaps (at least to me) more importantly, because it's the only part we created, it's the only part that I feel we have a moral right to control.

I literally feel that we do not - as software developers - have the moral right to enforce our rules on hardware manufacturers. We are not crusaders, trying to force people to bow to our superior God. We are trying to show others that co-operation and openness works better.

And:

So to me, the point of the GPL is not the "convert the infidels" logic, but something totally different:

*

"quid pro quo"
This is where I started out. My initial reason for my original license (which was also "you must make changes available under the same license") was not crusading, but simple reciprocity. I give out source code - you can use it if you reciprocate. ...

The GPLv3 fundamentally changes that balance, in my opinion. It asks for more than it gives. It no longer asks for just source back, it asks for control over whatever system you used the source in.
*

encouraging merging
I've come to believe that the BSD license is not a "sustainable" license, because while it encourages (and allows) forking even more than the GPL does, it does not encourage merging the forks back. And I've come to the private conclusion that the real value of a fork is lost if you don't have the ability to merge back the end result. Not that all forks should be merged back - most forks are dead ends - but the firm ability to merge back if it turns out to be something other than a dead end.

The GPL guarantees you the right to both fork and merge the result back - equally, and on both sides. That makes it sustainable.

...

So long-term, I believe that a GPL'd project is stabler. I believe, for example, that the fact that Wine switched over to the LGPL ... [from a BSD license] was a very important decision for the project, and that they would eventually have otherwise become irrelevant and the commercial users of the BSD-licensed code would have taken over.

But note that my second reason is not why I _began_ using the GPLv2, and that it's also equally true of the GPLv3 and LGPL.
Reply by tknarr:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: tknarr on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 04:51 PM EDT

I tend to disagree with Linus here, mainly over the issue of what the right to modify implies. For me, the right to modify the software includes the right to at the very least use that modified software. I shouldn't have to buy anything new to do that. If I have a device whose operating software I'm permitted to modify and redistribute and that device permits modified/new software to be loaded at all, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to expect that my modified software should run on it (modulo anything I broke myself with my modifications). I can see not making any provision for updating software (on a basic embedded device that's not expected to ever need updated firmware, for example), but to say "We're allowed to modify this GPL'd software and have it run, but nobody else is." seems to me to go against the deal behind the GPL.

To me, Linus is missing one half of the equation. Yes, it's Tivo's hardware. They worked hard designing it. We didn't put anything into the hardware side of things. But it's not Tivo's software, and without the Linux kernel they'd've had to do a lot more work (at a lot more expense) to produce a working box. They gained a lot of benefit from the software they chose to use, and they continue to benefit from work by the Linux community. I don't think it's unfair to expect the software community that Tivo benefits from so heavily to be able to do the same things with their software that Tivo can.
Reply by anonymous poster:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 05:51 PM EDT

Obviously you agree more with Stallman on this. I can't say who I agree with
here. I'm only saying that Linus said what he meant.
Reply by PJ:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 06:05 PM EDT

It's not a question of leaning. I adore Linus.
But he's a human too, and he, to my understanding,
did misunderstand. He also may disagree. I can't
speak to that, but I think everyone pretty much
agrees that he read it wrong to begin with, which
is no big deal. It happens to everybody, me, you,
everyone. But the GPL folks took his misunderstanding
quite seriously, as indeed they should, and wished
to make sure that no one misunderstood the purpose
and the limitations of the DRM clause.
Reply by Linus:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 07:11 PM EDT

I'm pretty sure I didn't misunderstand anything at all.

A lot of people are confused by the DRM issue, and the problem comes mostly from the organization of the first GPLv3 draft itself. It had a section on DRM, and that section is totally irrelevant and has almost no semantic content.

(In the new draft, the DRM section has been renamed to talk about users' rights instead, but it's still the same case - that section isn't actually the interesting one).

The real anti-DRM thing is the new and bogus language in section 1 - the definition of "source code". That is the true change in both the previous and the current draft, and that's my personal beef.

The fact that they had a separate (and largely boring) section called "DRM" was never the issue, and was (and is) a total red herring. The real problem was always the re-definition of source code.

Actually, I take that back. The real problem was and is that there are lots of people who disagreed with the FSF on issues (mine was the definition of source code, while I know that some commercial entities felt that the patent language was totally unsupportable). And the FSF took that input, and then totally ignored it.

So as far as I can tell, the whole GPLv3 "process" has been a sham from the very beginning. Eben and Richard talk about "discussion drafts", but it's not "discussion" if you don't actually care what the other side says. And Richard most definitely doesn't care (Eben probably does, but has no actual say in the end result).

So forget about this whole "community input" thing. Input has been given, and then duly ignored.

Oh, well. At least that's how I've seen it, and maybe that explains my disillusionment with the GPLv3.

Linus
Reply by PJ:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 07:39 PM EDT

Hey Linus,

I would appreciate it if you would explain what your
objections are to the definition of source code, so I can
understand it.

As to the process ignoring input, I can tell you that I
offered a suggestion and it's in the draft. And someone
offered the BitTorrent change and it's in the draft.

So I don't think it's accurate to say that they are
ignoring input, although you may feel they are ignoring
your input. I know though from the committee discussions
that they are definitely not ignoring input, including
yours, but it may be a misunderstanding. If you will tell
me your issues so a nonprogrammer can understand, either
here on in an email, I'll gladly try to be the bridge.

That is what Groklaw is trying to be, a way to get the
tech community and the lawyers in sync.
Reply by Linus:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 08:18 PM EDT

I tried to explain my own disagreement with the GPLv3 in a number of emails to the linux kernel, but obviously haven't been uniformly successful.

And yes (responding both to you, and to another poster), I realize that input has been taken on the drafts, but all the changes I've seen have been about largely stylistic issues - wording changes, things like that. I don't think any input on any really fundamental disagreement has been really on the table.

Now, I also realize that that is probably exactly what the FSF was going for. Rms had a vision for what he wanted the GPLv3 to say, and it says that, and then they are open to modifying details. Fair enough, and I'm not fighting the GPLv3 changes per se. I'm just telling people why they are bad changes for me, and why I think they are bad changes for most other projects too.

I'll try to explain it once more, usign the analogy that seems to have been the most effective so far with some people. To me, the GPLv2 has always been about "quid pro quo", ie I want people to pay me back in kind. There are other issues (and many of them I think end up being the reasons why it has been so successful), but that "quid pro quo" is why I started using the GPL, and I think it's a very fundamental thing. It's also - to me - very fair. I give source code out, you can repay in kind.

Now, the difference between "quid pro quo" and the FSF stance is that in many ways, the reason for the GPL as far as the FSF is concerned was never "fairness". It was all about a higher calling, and about something that the FSF thinks is much bigger - "freedom".

And I disagree. I think that "freedom" is fine, but we're not exactly talking about slavery here. Trying to make it look like we're the Abraham Lincoln of our generation just makes us look stupid and stuck up. I'd much rather talk about "fairness" and about issues like just being a much better process for generating better code, and having fun while doing so.

And the thing is, the GPLv2 was a wonderful license, not because it was about "freedom", but because it was a good meeting point for all of these issues!

The GPLv3 is much inferior. It no longer works in the "fairness" sense. It's purely a firebrand, and only good for the extremist policies of the FSF. It's no longer a nice balance that a lot of people can accept, and that a lot of companies can stand behind once you explain it to them.

The FSF doesn't like that Linux in particular turned the GPLv2 into something pragmatic. I think the FSF sees Linux has having "usurped" their place as the guardians of peoples morals. And they seem blind to the reason why Linux did so - exactly because the Linux reading of the GPLv2 has never been the extremist firebrand reading, but a much more modest "this is fair", "this is fun" and "this is a good way to evolve technology together".

So I think the GPLv3 is a wonderful license if you want to ignore all the good things Linux stands for. If you just want to push your own moral agenda, the GPLv3 is great. But if you want to have fun, work with people, and just get the best damn product out there, and do so while everybody thinks that what they are doing is "fair", the GPLv3 sucks.

The GPLv3 is designed to take the FSF back to its original "good old days", when "Free Software" was a war, and rms was its protelyzing general. But the fact is, it's not a war, and peaceful and happy co-existence is actually much preferable to moral jihads

And that's why I think the GPLv2 is much better. It allows us all to agree to just work together, without making it a religion. Linux was a big reason Open Source isn't "religious" (and why it's called "Open Source" and not "Free Software" - exactly to avoid the bad old religious dats), and GPLv3 is trying to turn the clock back.

Does that explain my stance?

Linus
Reply by PJ:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 09:38 PM EDT

Well, you explain your emotions, but not the legal part.

What exactly do you want the license to say that it doesn't now say, particularly the redefinition of source code part?

I am not political at all, Linus. Not even a tiny bit, so I hear you on that. But I also see from a legal perspective that the GPL has value precisely because it forces the unkind and unchivalrous (such as SCO), shall we say, the folks that really do not want to play fair and equal, to do so or else.

That isn't politics. It may be to others. But to me it's a legal issue.

If we rely on good will, it doesn't always work, you know, not with big corporations and sometimes not with small ones. Money is a very big thing to some, and they want the code, but they don't wish to give back, and being able to modify the code is one reason it's so truly valuable. You can make it do what you want it to do.

If you get rid of that, you've lost one of the things that made Linux possible.

I'm not into joining anything. I'm not a member of FSF, for example, but I don't "belong" to Open Source in opposition, nor do I think that just having fun is enough when faced with the SCO's of this world.

And I can tell you from a legal point of view that the GPL is the MVP of the SCO story. If it had not required the things that it does, your code would be theirs. It's that simple, from my point of view.

That "extremism" if you will is what paid off big time, and I think it's time for everyone to realize it, and to realize that not everyone is going to play fair or even wants to. The GPL is what protects the common pool of code. Nothing else does, that I'm aware of.

From that standpoint, what Tivo is doing is a fast track to destroying some of the legal strength of the GPL. I think something needs to be done to make sure that in the future a Linux could happen again.
Reply by Linus:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 02:11 AM EDT

I explain the emotions, because the legal part of the GPLv3 makes no sense what-so-ever if you don't understand what is driving the changes.

The whole notion that "Tivo is bad" is idiotic. It's the exact same argument as "proprietary software is bad", and it's wrong. It's the stupid FSF agenda that it's about "us vs them", which has never been true.

Proprietary software does not take anything away from open source. The fact that windows exists, and is proprietary, is totally and utterly irrelevant from an open source angle. The proprietary people are not evil, they are just misguided. They think that they can compete better by keeping secrets, and they are wrong.

The whole point of open source is that we can do better than that, and that we can do so exactly because we can work on each others work - not on the work of the proprietary people. We don't need them, but they are also not our enemies.

But more importantly, it is their choice to not believe us. It's not our place to force our beliefs down their throat - if we cannot show that we can do better software than they can do, then what the hell is the point of it all?

And the exact same thing is true of proprietary hardware. Tivo isn't the enemy. If you don't like their closed hardware, just don't buy it. Make your own. See the exact same logic as with proprietary software? If you don't like proprietary software, nobody forces you to use it or buy it, and you can help the people that do alternatives.

I realize that a lot of people see this as a fight. But I tell you, those people are missing the point. We're not fighting. At least the useful people aren't fighting. No good code ever comes out of people who do things because they are afraid, or because they hate. And I'm not just sayign that because it sounds good - it's really true. If you make your choices because you fear somebody, you'll make the wrong choices.

Look at all the idiotic choices that Sun has made wrt Java and other things. A lot of them seem to be directly a result not of trying to do the right thing to their custimer, but because of fear and loathing of their competition. The whole choice of their licenses seem to not be about trying to make the best technical choice, but from fear of others - both Microsoft and Linux.

And I'm sorry, but I refuse to be that stupid.

So it all boils down to this: do you want to use a license that is for something good (GPLv2), or one that is against something bad? And I claim that having your guiding principle to be against something else is not just insufferably stupid, it's also a sure way to make your own life miserable.

I think the GPLv2 is a very positive license. It's about the positive belief that together, you can make something better.

In contrast, every single big and fundamental addition to the GPLv3 is about hate and fear. What used to be a "quid pro quo" has been turned into a weapon. And that is not just sad, it is counter-productive. The FSF seems to be actively trying to turn this into a fight, when most of the entities involved don't want to fight at all.

And yes, I realize that they saw the GPLv2 as a holy crusade too, and if you have that mindset, the new GPLv3 just makes sense in a "let's escalate the fight" kind of sense. Me, I just never believed in that whole FSF idiocy.

And take it from me, the FSF has been acting idiotic for the last decade. Why do you think it's called "Open Source" in the first place? Exactly because the FSF has made a dirty word out of "Freedom".

And hey, if people cannot see that, it's their problem. I've tried to explain my standpoint, but in the end I can just say that hey, it's my choice. And I've talked to a lot of kernel engineers, and quite frankly, it's pretty damn unanimous. The people who are spoiling for a fight are not the people who are actually getting things done.

I think I've explained about as much as I'm likely to be able to explain. If people can't see what's wrong with the FSF, me standing on a soap-box won't help you.

Linus
Reply by PJ:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: PJ on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 01:04 PM EDT

You've gotten hooked into the very thing you are saying one should never do, decide something based on hating or thinking something is evil.

The GPL isn't just FSF and FSF isn't the GPL. They are totally different now. You even love the GPLv2 but it's FSF authored too. See my point?

If you could forget this came from FSF, and just look at the license itself, I think you'd see it a bit differently. Not that you have to. It's your free will decision, and i totally agree that proprietary software is a choice anyone can make. My mom uses Microsoft software. I have it on one half of a laptop.

But the one issue you haven't addressed yet is the issue of users, end users. What about us? We need to modify software. I couldn't run Groklaw if it were not for the ability to modify the Geeklog code. We are able to tweak it to do what we need here, and so even though I am not a programmer, I still rely very much on the ability to modify GPL code.

You are assuming that the world will always offer both GPL and nonGPL software. I think that is naive, in the sense that the whole SCO lawsuit was about destroying the GPL, and if it had succeeded, it would affect you too. So I see you as looking at the past, the good old days, instead of realizing that the pressures on the GPL are real and they are increasing, and from an end user perspective, Tivo represents a threat, because if they get away with it, others will do the same thing, and if enough do it, your solution means that GPL users like myself will be pretty much locked out of a great deal of entertainment and information.

Now, that is happening anyway, but at least with the GPL I can work around it, but if that gets blocked too, I become a mere consumer, sitting passively and receiving but unable to do anything to make it what I want.

That is not acceptable. You don't see it, I think, because you are thinking in a programmer's way. You can just write your own Tivo, I'm sure, but I can't. But it's the principle of the thing that matters, the principle that I as an end user want to be able to modify GPL code.

This has nothing to do with FSF. I want that. I, personally, PJ, want to be able to modify code, and Tivo is undermining that. It's not just Tivo, it's the technique. Please address the end user issue, and let's leave FSF out of it. I consider them irrelevant to this issue.

There's a reason why the GPL is chosen by more programmers than any other FOSS license. It's because they trust it to be fair. Ditto end users. It has nothing to do with endorsing the FSF.

PS Please don't swear on Groklaw. It's a violation of our comments policy.
Reply by Per Jensen (original anonymous poster):
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 04:26 AM EDT

>The whole notion that "Tivo is bad" is idiotic.

That is your opinion, which you are entitled to, so, so far so good.

>It's the exact same argument as "proprietary software is bad"

No, now you're stretching it. They are two completely different arguments IMO. I
see Tivo as a legal loophole which circumvents the freedoms the GPL was supposed
to grant me, the user. But I don't mind proprietary software (I like commercial
closed source computer games for instance, hey, I'm a geek), and I suppose that
means I disagree with Stallmans agenda, so there. And regardless, Tivo should
just have used one of the BSD's instead. Or maybe you should have chosen a
different license to begin with.

>just don't buy it

We may not always have that choice, which leads us to fear:

(also, your faith that companies will do "the right thing" is amusing
to say the least)

>If you make your choices because you fear somebody, you'll make the wrong
choices.

If someone is holding a gun to my head, fear would guide my choice, and it might
save my life. Extreme (and silly) counter-example, but it proves you wrong.
Don't be so quick to draw conclusions. We do not know the future, and neither
should we ignore it blindly. Yes, a future of DRM is currently just a fear, but
a justified one IMO. Why ignore it?

>The people who are spoiling for a fight are not the people who are actually
getting things done.

Because we (the users) are the ones losing our rights, not you (the
developers).


All this silliness out of the way, let's get back on topic.

The addition to section 1 in v3 addresses a legal loophole in the GPL, it does
not disallow the co-existance of proprietary and free software, please correct
me if I'm wrong. I'm familiar with Stallmans crusade, but I fail to see what
that has to do with v3, it's simply a legal bugfix. Please tell me why I'm
wrong, I'd really like to know.

Per Jensen
Reply by Linus:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 11:28 AM EDT

That is your opinion, which you are entitled to, so, so far so good.

The thing is, it's more than just "my opinion".

It's the opinion of the person who started the project, and judging from the people I talk to, it's also the opinion of the people who actually do most of the work on the project.

Talking to yet other people (a lot of the customers and users of the project), people have also told me that the patent clauses are simply not acceptable in the form that they are in the GPLv3. I don't actually even care that much why, but I do care about the fact that the people who tell me that are "the good guys", ie people who have actually made a difference for Linux and open source.

In other words - yes, it's an opinion, but it's a shared one, and it's one that is both informed, and more importantly, it's one that is held by the people who actually do the work.

And if you don't see how that matters, you're not even worth talking to.

Linus
Reply by PJ:
Authored by: PJ on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 12:49 PM EDT

Linus, please don't attack people on Groklaw.
It's a violation of our comments policy, and I
don't wish to remove anything your write. But
I have to be fair. We try to avoid meanness here,
and I think that is something you appreciate.

As to the patents thing, it may not be acceptable to
those who love software patents, but those are the
breaks. The GPL is not going to be a softare patents
enabler. Not for money. Not for anything.

I thought you were against software patents yourself.
Did you not send a letter to the EU on that point?
Reply by Per Jensen:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 10:26 PM EDT

>Does that explain my stance?

Well, not legally, regardless, I cannot help but feel you are ignoring the other
side of the coin. You talk about "fairness", and yes, I agree, the
GPLv2 is fair -- for developers, but not for me, the user.

You only care about Linux, and I get that, and thanks to the GPLv2 you get what
you want, you get the source, you get the changes, and you get to make a better
kernel.

Users however, get jack. I don't get to modify the source and use that, I cannot
tweak it or hack it to do what I want, or remove what I dont like (say,
spyware). I've lost all the benefits of the GPLv2, and the GPL, you know, was
supposed to be "fair" to users and developers alike.

(And by leaving "users" out of your equation, you end up hurting
yourself, you don't get any bugreports or patches out of this.)

For me, the user, this is no different than if Tivo was running Windows CE. They
are equally closed. I'm sorry, but I simply fail to see any merit to your
argument, and given the previous rant, the only impression I'm left with is that
this is all about you versus Stallman, and not "fairness", not fair at
all.

I apologize for being rude, but I wanted to try and drive my point through. You
have no obligation to the users of your software, I know that, but I'm asking
you anyway, please try and be fair to your users, we love your software, because
of both it's technical and legal merits, now the GPLv2 is without merit (for
us), so, simply for the sake of your _users_, please do reconsider using v3 for
your software.

Best Regards: Per Jensen
Reply by Linus edited by PJ :):
Sorry, Linus
Authored by: PJ on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 01:24 PM EDT

I am sorry, Linus, but I had to remove your comment because you violated our comments policy by swearing so much. Please read the comments policy linked on the left. Believe it or not, it keeps the atmosphere here one where ideas can be expressed without the personal attacks that I find deeply offensive no matter who does it.

Now, because I don't want anyone to miss the meat of what you said, here it is without the sauce:

Well, not legally, regardless, I cannot help but feel you are ignoring the other side of the coin. You talk about "fairness", and yes, I agree, the GPLv2 is fair -- for developers, but not for me, the user.

That's [deleted], and you should be ashamed of being such a whiner.

First off, the developers are the ones that are doing this for you in the first place. So by definition, their opinion and feelings do matter more. They don't owe you anything, and any user who talks about this being "unfair" is just whining.

But more importantly, you're fundamentally wrong. I tried to explain to you why you were wrong, but either I did a bad job, or (more likely), you're just not interested in listening.

My explanation for why the GPLv3 is bad is that if you make your decisions based on fear and loathing, they will be the wrong ones.

The whole point about the changes in the GPLv3 is to be "against" something else. That's how the FSF has always acted, and I don't know if you remember (or ever saw) the animosity between the BSD camps and the GPL camps, but a lot of it was because of how the FSF was preaching their religion as if it was "evil" to do anything else, even with the GPLv2.

And [deleted], I'm proud of the fact that Linux helped change that mental landscape. There were other projects (and certainly other people) too, but Linux was one big part of the movement away from that horrible "us vs them" mindset.

And the fact is, by being pragmatic and not being too crazy about it, the "Open Source" people ended up making open source a lot more accessible to a lot more users, and they made the software better too. Because when you make your technical choices on technical grounds, rather than on religious ones, they end up being better.

In other words, my stance is not at all "leaving the users behind". Quite the reverse. I'm the one that tries to guarantee that we make decisions that make sense from a technology standpoint, which in turn means that our users will have a better system, rather than one that is hobbled by non-technical limitations.

Just as a very concrete example, the anti-DRM stance of the GPLv3 is not only anti-Tivo, it's also anti-security. Exactly because it tries to make a non-technical stand on a technical issue, one that has very real impact on real behaviour.

The fact is, that signed binaries are not only a good idea, they are an integral part of pretty much any security scheme. Every time you do a "yum upgrade", you tend to be getting a lot of binary packages that were signed with a key that you are not going to get access to, because if you had access to that key, the whole security model would break down.

So a sane person will not say "you cannot stop execution of a binary based on a key that users don't have access to", because a sane person realizes that this is very fundamental technology, and that it's a technical issue, not a political one.

And any time you let your fears or your politics make what should be technical choices, the end result is inevitably crap, crap, crap. And the GPLv3 makes exactly those kinds of technical choices, on exactly that kind of non-technical basis.

And I'm trying to protect users from idiots that think that it's a good idea to make technical choices on non-technical grounds. Notice how the GPLv2 (the good one) didn't do that. It even made expressly clear that the act of "running" the program was not restricted in any way, shape or form.

Here's a quote from section 0 in GPLv2 that is totally gone in version 3, and people should think long and hard about the fact that the new version is a big change in this area:

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

So do me a favour, and stop talking [deleted], and start actually thinking deeper about the very fundamental changes that the GPLv3 introduces. Also, do give the people who actually wrote the code that the license is supposed to cover some respect.

So that is what Linus wrote, and now here is my response: First, the GPL wasn't written just for Linux. It was written for everybody, including end users, so it's simply not true that developers should get a louder voice. Linux is one GPL entity, but it isn't they only one, by a long shot. So Linux uses the GPL, not the other way around.

By that I mean the GPL is useful to Linux, but it wasn't designed for it.

That is what is so unique about the GPL. It cares about end users, and Linus, we end users care about more than just having great tech. I want to own my computer in the sense that I want to know what it is doing and I want to be the one that decides what it does. I want to be able to modify the code myself.

Finally, I believe you are repeating your misunderstanding about binary drivers. Really. You need to stop saying that about security. There is nothing in the GPLv3 that I've seen that says you have to provide the keys to the binaries.
Reply by Linus (sounds like Calum here):
No need to be sorry...
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 02:32 PM EDT

I happen to believe that politeness (especially on the internet) is somewhat overrated, since it's too damn easy for people to misunderstand each other anyway, and a bit of bluntness can often punch through the more superficial issues. But hey, it's your forum and your rules, and you have the right yp (and should) enforce your own rules ;)

So to answer your post:

First, the GPL wasn't written just for Linux. It was written for everybody, including end users, so it's simply not true that developers should get a louder voice. Linux is one GPL entity, but it isn't they only one, by a long shot. So Linux uses the GPL, not the other way around.

Hey, I have no problem with that. I do have a gripe when people (very much including the FSF) then think that I should apparently mindlessly agree with a new version, even though I have made it very clear that I think the new version is much worse.

I'm telling it like I see it. The GPLv2 was a wonderful license. The GPLv3 is a total disaster. I've explained why I feel that way, and I don't see why you even argue against me. Are you saying that I don't have the right to choose my own license, especially one that has been very much a success, and that thousands of people (and hundreds of companies) have signed off on?

If somebody else wants to use the GPLv3 for a project they wrote, that's obviously their choice, but wouldn't it be good if they were first educated about why at least one big project maintainer decided it was a bad idea? The kernel is staying with v2, and I'm trying to tell people why. And yes, I'm upset when I get whining about the license on the project I started and still maintain. I'm sorry PJ, but you simply don't have the moral right to complain about another persons choice of license for his work, and neither does anybody else.

(Btw, this cuts both ways. It's why I don't complain about companies that think they should use the BSD license or keep their source code proprietary. Microsoft is obviously perfectly within its rights not believing in open source, and nobody should complain about them over that)

Finally, I believe you are repeating your misunderstanding about binary drivers. Really. You need to stop saying that about security. There is nothing in the GPLv3 that I've seen that says you have to provide the keys to the binaries.

Sorry, but you are just wrong. Maybe you don't understand the technical points, but let me quote the GPLv3 draft for you:

The Corresponding Source also includes any encryption or authorization keys necessary to install and/or execute modified versions from source code in the recommended or principal context of use, such that they can implement all the same functionality in the same range of circumstances.

And the thing is, that's exactly what requries a company like Tivo to give out the keys that they use for signing the binaries they trust. It's also something the DVD consortium would use to give out keys to the people they trust.

You seem to think that's a capital idea to make it illegal to use these things with open source, because you think Tivo is doing something bad. But what you don't realize, and what you refuse to listen to, is that the same clause also makes a lot of other uses impossible.

So let me repeat. The GPLv3 makes technical decisions where no technical decisions should be made. It makes a technical requirement that actually limits how the system can be used, in bad ways.

The fact is, people who build their own hardware are perfectly within their rights to then limit the use of that hardware some way. It's their choice if they let others tinker with it, the same way it is my choice whether I let other people tinker with the code I write.

And the fact is, anything that tries to stop Tivo from doing what they are doing very fundamentally stops others from doing perfectly valid things, because the technology doesn't care. Keysigning (and keeping those keys secret) is just a tool. You can't tell people that they can't use that tool. It's stupid.

Finally, as a constructive thing, let me tell you what would not be stupid, for example.

For example, it would not be stupid to have a clause that requires that you make it easy to verify that you actually complied with the GPL licenses. So it would not be stupid to say (for example) that you must not encrypt the binary in order to make it harder to decode and verify that it matches the sources you made available.

See the difference? This one doesn't say that encryption and keys are bad, and it doesn't say that it's wrong to limit your hardware some way. Instead of limiting the use of the software, it just says that you cannot try to hide the changes you've done, so that we can more easily verify that you actually did comply with the "you have to make your sources available" part.

But that's not what the GPLv3 does. The GPLv3 tries to expand the copyright past the project itself. Instead of saying that it cares about the source code, the GPLv3 says that it also cares about the hardware, and the environment required to run the source code. That's a big thing.

And let me give you an example that is not about Tivo, but very much about the very thing that the GPLv3 explicitly mentions: keys for things like DVD players that may have special keys in hardware that are actually used to decrypt the disk.

For example, let's say that you were creating a trusted voting machine. You'd really want to verify the software that the machine is running, so you'd obviously want that to be open source, so that people can see what it actually does, and you'd also like to verify that the binary that is run actually matches that source code.

Fine so far. But you might very validly also want to have a secret key that is actually used for communicating the end results, and/or validate the hardware itself. You do not want to have people make their own random voting machines (using either proprietary or open source software, and proprietary or open hardware), and have them be able to connect to the central voting registry and claim to be "valid".

See? Secret keys are a tool. They are a tool for privacy, they are a tool for DRM, they are a tool for identity validation, they are a tool for a lot of things. The fact that they can be used to limit something does not make them bad.

And by definition, that secret key must be secret. It would be handed off to the software by an external means, and while the software would be "functional" without it, it sure as hell wouldn't be able to do what a real voting machine is able to do without it. So by definition, that secret key is very much required for the "same functionality", the exact same way that a DVD player has a secret key to actually show the contents of the disk.

Can you not see that the GPLv3 makes something like this illegal? Can you not see that it is technically exactly the same thing as what Tivo wants to do? Can you not see that making technical limitations in a license is a huge and gaping problem?

And the thing is, the stupid and idiotic key signing rules are just my particular hang-up. It's actually not what most companies seem to be upset about. There aren't that many Tivo's or voting machine manufacturers about, so I'm not complaining because people have been complaining to me - I'm complaining because I see a very fundamental disconnect between the technology and the license.

But companies seem to be more upset about the patent wording. The point being, the GPLv3 really does have problems, and not admitting that those problems exist is fairly shortsighted. The people here, for example, seem to sometimes degenerate into more of a "politically correct groupthink", and less about critical thinking in general.

The fact is, the GPLv2 has been very successful for fifteen years. Why are you automatically assuming that the v3 changes are changes for the better?

Linus
Reply by PJ:
No need to be sorry...
Authored by: PJ on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 03:57 PM EDT

Well, finally. I will relay your alternative suggestion. Sometimes people assume that a good idea is naturally in another person's head, and therefore they are derelict in not choosing it, whereas in truth, they never thought of it. The change regarding BitTorrent is a good example. No one at FSF had ever thought of that situation until some unknown person wrote in about it.

I would encourage you most seriously to do the same, because you will do a better job than I will, for sure, of expressing your own idea. But in any case, I will report this to the committee I'm on.

As to you saying I don't grant you the right to choose, I think if you search this very thread, you'll find I've said you *DO* have that right. I've said so several times. I'm perfectly comfortable with anyone choosing their own license, and while I want you to adopt V3, assuming the final version is acceptable and remembering this is still a draft, I will always recognize your right to choose whatever you want.

But I have that same right. And I will naturally prefer a license that does what I want it to do for me as an end user. And what I want as an end user is the right to control my own computer. That's where you are misunderstanding, I think. You don't need someone's key to a binary to install and use the software. That is why it is worded as it is, to exclude the binary key having to be given over: "necessary to install and/or execute modified versions from source code"). Get it?

And as for the voting machines, there is a fine comment earlier explaining that. But my answer would be I don't care what secrets the voting machine people keep, as long as my software still works *on my computer* the way I want it do. I don't care about their computers. The clause isn't by any means saying that all secrets must be shared. Really. I may be a nonprogrammer and just a para, but I am on one of the committees and I've heard the explanations from the lawyers on the committee, who are not FSF only, by the way, and I'm quite sure that is what they have explained. So, yes, I do believe you have misunderstood, and if you did understand, I think it would relieve some of your problems with this license.

Why am I discussing it with you at length? Because I care deeply about the GPL. I don't care about the old Free Software freedom vs. Open Source practicality. That argument is over. They both, in my view, have value for different things.

But the reason I love Linux is the freedom that I feel when I use a GNU/Linux operating system, knowing that it isn't calling home behind my back. It isn't telling me what I can or can't do with my own property. I bought my computer. I don't want to share its control with anybody. I wrote about the feeling once long ago:

People are sick of license terms that treat them like criminals, where even when you try hard to obey, you never feel free of that worry...am I allowed to do this? They love GNU/Linux because you can share with your friends and family freely, install it on as many computers as you own at home and at work. Sick of saving proof of purchase certificates under pain of a visit from the IP police and fines when they can't find that piece of paper from 1998. Sick of typing in numbers to prove they bought the software, and having software call home to validate their right to use what they bought, and companies that shove one-sided EULAs down their throats, claiming the right to monitor their hard drive for compliance. Sick of businesses that care about money for themselves first and customers a distant second. GNU/Linux opened people's eyes. It offers an escape from all of that. So they're going to notice. And they're going to care.

But here's, to me, the best thing about GNU/Linux. It's so pleasant to be in control of your own environment. You can design any kind of look you enjoy, pick from a seemingly endless variety of applications, and do whatever you want without fear. It's a feeling you can never have with any other OS.

As you can see, I'm consistent. That is what the Tivo's of the world are endangering, and it is the one thing that made me choose Linux in the first place. It pains me to be on the other side from you, and I can't say yet that GPLv3 is better, in the sense that it is still just a draft. But I like the fact that it is looking out for my interests. Why wouldn't I like that? And yes, I would like you to look out for me as an end user, as opposed to thinking from the corporate standpoint quite so much. They have valid interests too, and there is a balance. But why should the balance always be that the end user has to give up rights? Always? The GPL says that end users have rights. V2 does too. It's what it stands for. The Tivo's are threatening those rights. You may not care, or you may think I should deal with it another way, but that's a rewrite of the meaning of the GPL's terms, Linus. And not even you have that right. That of course is what the corporate guys hate about the GPL, that end users have rights and can't be excluded.

But I'm not a corporation. I'm a human being. And I want control over my own property. GPLv3 is offering me that. Whatever other flaws it may have, it is looking out for my interests as an end user. If you can do that a better way, please do.
Reply by me:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 01:58 PM EDT

"I think I've explained about as much as I'm likely to be able to explain. If people can't see what's wrong with the FSF, me standing on a soap-box won't help you."

So let me see if I understand. You pretty much think the GPLv2 is perfect and there is no need for a GPLv3. Does that sum it up? :) I really want to thank you for explaining your point of view, it has helped me significantly. I do agree with you on the GPLv2 being near perfect. I only wish I had the capability to build my own hardware in the same way that I can write my own software. Until your rant I was leaning to the RMS side of things on Tivoization. Now I'm not as sure where I stand on the issue. I do agree with you and think it might be best to just keep with GPLv2 and not mess up a good thing.

-Void
Reply by Linus:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 06:59 PM EDT

I only wish I had the capability to build my own hardware in the same way that I can write my own software.

Actually, I think that while the last two decades have been kind of a dark time for people building their own hardware, in many ways the future is actually brighter.

FPGA's are getting pretty cheap and capable, and can do a lot of things. Things like rapid prototyping machines are still extremely expensive and not really an option for home users, but hey, that used to be true of laser printers too.

So right now, if you want to build your own hardware, you actually can often do so. The tools for doing FPGA design tend to suck (well, that was true a few years ago, maybe it's improved), and the open source ones at least didn't use to be able to do do any of the device-specific stuff, but if you don't need top performance, and if you can live with what is likely less than wonderful packaging (ie we're not talking iPod Nano kind of cute), I think you're actually better off today than you were, say, ten years ago.

I think a lot of people think that we're entering some kind of dark age of "people can't build their own hardware", remembering how they maybe built their own simple computers (or even just a transistor radio) when they were kids. But I think the signs are actually that we're coming out of the age where discrete logic no longer cut it, and integrated logic wasn't available to normal people.

I personally find it extremely unlikely that we'd be entering an era of closed hardware. Yes, a lot of the very densely packed and highly designed stuff is definitely out of range from a person tinkering in his garage, but look up projects like opencores.org and GNU radio and check out the FPGA's one day, and realize that you really really can do your own hardware.

Linus
I really hope I'm not violating any copyright rules here but I would really hate for all of this to get lost. If anyone has a problem with me copying a few comments in full into this thread let me know.

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Post by Void Main » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:30 pm

After reading all of Linus's posts, and trying to process the information to the best of my ability, I believe he has some compelling arguments but I think I still agree with Richard's visions. Linus and the kernel developers certainly are free to continue to use GPLv2 (and they will) but looking at this from a "user" perspective I wish they would agree with the new license and try to migrate to it. It will prevent a future where we might not have control over our own computers.

Linus's argument is that you can build your own hardware. Well, that would actually be quite a feat for me which is why I currently buy my hardware. I would just like to be able to control the hardware that I buy. If a vendor wants to control the hardware that they sell then they can use proprietary software on said device. I will not purchase that particular device. Yes, maybe that will lead to fewer hardware vendors using GPL software but so be it. I don't think the GPL is designed to win a popularity contest. It's designed to give certain freedoms to programmers as well as users.

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Post by Void Main » Sat Jul 29, 2006 5:30 pm

Couple more comments:

My original comment:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 01:58 PM EDT

"I think I've explained about as much as I'm likely to be able to explain. If people can't see what's wrong with the FSF, me standing on a soap-box won't help you."

So let me see if I understand. You pretty much think the GPLv2 is perfect and there is no need for a GPLv3. Does that sum it up? :) I really want to thank you for explaining your point of view, it has helped me significantly. I do agree with you on the GPLv2 being near perfect. I only wish I had the capability to build my own hardware in the same way that I can write my own software. Until your rant I was leaning to the RMS side of things on Tivoization. Now I'm not as sure where I stand on the issue. I do agree with you and think it might be best to just keep with GPLv2 and not mess up a good thing.

-Void
Linus's reply:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, July 28 2006 @ 06:59 PM EDT

I only wish I had the capability to build my own hardware in the same way that I can write my own software.

Actually, I think that while the last two decades have been kind of a dark time for people building their own hardware, in many ways the future is actually brighter.

FPGA's are getting pretty cheap and capable, and can do a lot of things. Things like rapid prototyping machines are still extremely expensive and not really an option for home users, but hey, that used to be true of laser printers too.

So right now, if you want to build your own hardware, you actually can often do so. The tools for doing FPGA design tend to suck (well, that was true a few years ago, maybe it's improved), and the open source ones at least didn't use to be able to do do any of the device-specific stuff, but if you don't need top performance, and if you can live with what is likely less than wonderful packaging (ie we're not talking iPod Nano kind of cute), I think you're actually better off today than you were, say, ten years ago.

I think a lot of people think that we're entering some kind of dark age of "people can't build their own hardware", remembering how they maybe built their own simple computers (or even just a transistor radio) when they were kids. But I think the signs are actually that we're coming out of the age where discrete logic no longer cut it, and integrated logic wasn't available to normal people.

I personally find it extremely unlikely that we'd be entering an era of closed hardware. Yes, a lot of the very densely packed and highly designed stuff is definitely out of range from a person tinkering in his garage, but look up projects like opencores.org and GNU radio and check out the FPGA's one day, and realize that you really really can do your own hardware.

Linus
PJ's reply:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: PJ on Saturday, July 29 2006 @ 09:37 AM EDT

We can build our own hardware, but the software
on it won't be able to do much of anything, if
Tivoization becomes accepted.
My reply:
DRM "Misunderstood"
Authored by: Anonymous on Saturday, July 29 2006 @ 07:23 PM EDT

I only wish I had the capability to build my own hardware in the same way that I can write my own software.

Actually, I think that while the last two decades have been kind of a dark time for people building their own hardware, in many ways the future is actually brighter.


That's good news indeed. I have been doing a lot of thinking about all of the statements you have made against the new additions to GPLv3. I understand the new license may not work for you and you can certainly continue to keep the kernel under version 2 and that's just fine with me. You and all the other developers should have the right to distribute it however you like, after all you wrote it.

Like you, I also enjoy being part of a collaborating community of developers/users. I enjoy writing programs and sharing those programs with others and like you I do not want to have my code incorporated into a proprietary program and closed up. I like for people to enhance my programs and give those enhancements back to me. We both benefit this way. It's why I license my programs under the GPL.

In addition to not wanting my code to be closed up in a proprietary program I would prefer that my code is not locked up in a proprietary piece of hardware. I think this is where we differ in our wishes. I do agree with you that these are more "religious" reasons than "technical" reasons. To me it's a "spirit" thing.

I want people to be able to use, modify, run, and redistribute my code. I don't want a proprietary company to be able to take my code and lock it up in their proprietary hardware for profit and not allow users of that hardware to modify the code and run the modified version without having to hack the hardware (and hack that hardware illegally in many cases now days). So, I do want a license that goes that extra step. I will use the GPLv3 in these cases. The hardware vendor can write their own code if they do not want to abide by my wishes. Another option would be for them to ask me to license the code to them under a different license for a share of their profits. It's only fair if you ask me.

Of course I have absolutely no problem with you continuing to use GPLv2 for the kernel. You wrote the code, you have the say as to what can be done with it. I respect your wishes 100% on this. I do believe that I like the spirit of the new license. Maybe it would be better for you if they didn't call it GPL version 3? How about if they gave the license a new name since you believe it is taking a turn into new territory?

-Void
I probably won't get a reply because there are so many messages in there now but if I do I will add to this.

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Post by worker201 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:33 pm

Absolutely fascinating discussion. That Linus is a smart one, and he has that Hitler-esque way of making even the most trivial detail sound important. I'm glad that this stuff has been archived here.

And I'm also happy for you, Void, for getting a quoted reply. Well played!

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Post by ZiaTioN » Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:38 pm

I am not completely up on the entirety of the differences but overall I would have to say that I disagree with v2 with regards to making it impossible to make changes and re-compile and run the software on any machine. There should be legal ramifications of course for doing so and trying to pass off the hardware and software as your own and try to make a profit, but if I pay for a system and get my hands on the source code and see something I want to change and run this change on my system that I already paid for, I MOST DEFINATELY should be able to.

That is like buying a car and having the vehicle manufacturer make it impossible for you to change your radio stations. Not only that, but make it impossible for you to install any other stereo that would make it possible for the radio stations to be changed. I bought the damn car I should be able to change whatever I want right?

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Post by worker201 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:28 pm

ZiaTioN wrote:That is like buying a car and having the vehicle manufacturer make it impossible for you to change your radio stations. Not only that, but make it impossible for you to install any other stereo that would make it possible for the radio stations to be changed. I bought the damn car I should be able to change whatever I want right?
Which is probably why it ended up on Groklaw in the first place. There is no consistent standard for how use licenses work, and they tend to vary from product to product. Makes it very difficult to do analogies. In your hypothetical case here, I think the vendor would say "absolutely not", and the courts would agree with him. Because the car is sold as a finished commodity. You're not buying engine technology, and you're not buying the right to change radio stations. You're not even buying a specific amount of steel, aluminum, plastic, and glass. You're buying a car, a complete unfragmentable item.

I suspect Tivo probably looks at it that way too. Just because they show you the source doesn't mean they want you to use it or change it. In this respect, Tivo is not being fair, and it would probably make things easier on them and everyone else if they had just left it closed.

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Post by Void Main » Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:46 pm

worker201 wrote:I suspect Tivo probably looks at it that way too. Just because they show you the source doesn't mean they want you to use it or change it. In this respect, Tivo is not being fair, and it would probably make things easier on them and everyone else if they had just left it closed.
But you see rather than writing their own code for the device they chose to use other peoples code who released their code only to be used under certain conditions listed in the license (the GPL). If you ask RMS (and me) Tivo has already broken the spirit of the license and had there been enough foresight when writing GPLv2 that something like this could happen then it would have been spelled out as not allowed. That's the whole reason for needing a GPLv3, to spell this out.

If the hardware manufacturers want to close the code up in their hardware then they can spend the money and hire some programmers and spend a couple of years writing their own kernel. Or they could have gone and spent a boatload at Microsoft. They didn't do this.

I can tell you right now that any code I write from now on will go under GPLv3 (when it's finished). The Tivos of the world are more than welcome to use my code as long as they don't put physical barriers in place to prevent the users from exercising their rights under the license I choose. The entire point of releasing the code at no charge under the GPL is so that it can't be closed up, that people can run the code, can modify the code, can redistribute the code, and if they improve the code and they are nice they will give me the changes back (they must give source+changes to anyone they give the binaries to). We all benefit this way.

On the other hand, if a hardware manufacturer wants to use my code and lock it up in their device they can contact me and we might be able to work out a deal where I give them my code under a different license (dual license) and in return I get a share of their profits. Only fair.

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Post by worker201 » Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:13 pm

Wait, Tivo is using code that was already open source and locking it to their hardware? Well, that's something altogether more fiendish than I thought. I thought they just made their own code open source, but wouldn't let you do anything with it.

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Post by Void Main » Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:58 pm

No, they are using the Linux kernel and other GPL tools in their firmware. They have created a key in their hardware that if it doesn't match the binary image of their firmware it will not boot. This ensures the firmware can not be changed (firmware made up of GPL code mind you). Technically by the exact wording of the GPLv2 they may be able to get away with this but it certainly is against the spirit in which the GPLv2 was written. They do make available the source to the firmware in accordance with the GPL but it doesn't do you any good if you can't change that source, compile it, upload it back to the device and run it. Like I said, if they wanted to close this up in this way they should use code other than GPL licensed code (e.g. BSD) because the GPL is all about being open.

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Post by ZiaTioN » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:08 pm

worker201 wrote:Wait, Tivo is using code that was already open source and locking it to their hardware? Well, that's something altogether more fiendish than I thought. I thought they just made their own code open source, but wouldn't let you do anything with it.
LOL... what do you think we are talking about here? :-)

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Post by worker201 » Wed Aug 02, 2006 1:52 pm

I thought it was one of those deals where they release the source, you know, put it on a website or something, and then have some sort of lockout where you get nothing if you try to use the source. It would be a PR move, so they could say they're open source without having to give anything away. Which is a lame thing to do, and totally against the spirit of fairness that Linus talks about.

But if they are actually using GPLed code in an inappropriate manner, then they are wrong - whether what they do is legal or not. And that's against the fairness too. I don't know exactly what GPLv3 says, but if it keeps people from using open source code in inappropriate ways, then it ought to be implemented - as long as it doesn't inadvertently hurt someone who is using the code in a way that stays with the spirit of the original concept. It's a dang shame that we live in a world where even the most altruistic endeavors have to protect themselves with licenses and lawyers. But those guys are right, it has to be done.

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Post by ZiaTioN » Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:01 pm

The only faction that GPLv3 is going to hurt is the corporations who, in the past, have used GPL code in their devices and have tried to lock it down. This will force them to either open it up completely or spend the time and money actually developing their own software, like Void said.

Actually what is done is done as far as GPLv2 code goes. Any company that currently has something licensed under GPLv2 can and probably will continue to make profit off of others free and open contributions.

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