The split over GPLv3 deepens - Linus Torvalds

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Mickey Mouse, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. Mickey Mouse

    Mickey Mouse Guest

    Linus Torvalds won't license the kernel under GPLv3, stating 'The GPLv3
    doesn't match what I think is morally where I want to be'. Furthermore, he
    has 'slammed executives at the Free Software Foundation, likening their
    mind-set to that of "religious fanatics and totalitarian states"'. And in an
    encompassing summation concludes that 'anybody who thinks others don't have
    the "right to choice", and then tries to talk about "freedoms" is a damn
    hypocritical moron'.

    Linux Creator Calls GPLv3 Authors 'Hypocrites' As Open Source Debate Turns
    Mickey Mouse, Jul 16, 2007
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  2. Mickey Mouse

    sam Guest

    It is fairly selectively edited isn't it ?
    Here is the context of the discussion, it is far from nasty

    It is also a month old Mickey, try to keep up.

    I don't disagree that "morals" are something very personal, and you can
    thus never really argue on morals *except*for*your*own*behaviour*.

    So I claim that for *me* the right choice is GPLv2 (or something similar).
    I think the GPLv3 is overreaching.

    There's a very fundamental, and very basic rule that is often a good
    guideline. It's "Do unto others".

    So the reason I *personally* like the GPLv2 is that it does unto others
    exactly what I wish they would do unto me.

    It allows everybody do make that choice that I consider to be really
    important: the choice of how something _you_ designed gets used.

    And it does that exactly by *limiting* the license to only that one work.
    Not trying to extend it past the work.


    The GPLv3 can never do that. Quite fundamentally, whenever you extend the
    "reach" of a license past just the derived work, you will *always* get
    into a situation where people who designed two different things get into a
    conflict when they meet. The GPLv2 simply avoids the conflict entirely,
    and has no problem at all with the "Do unto others as you would have them
    do unto you".

    In a very real sense, the GPLv3 asks people to do things that I personally
    would refuse to do. I put Linux on my kids computers, and I limit their
    ability to upgrade it. Do I have that legal right (I sure do, I'm their
    legal guardian), but the point is that this is not about "legality", this
    is about "morality". The GPLv3 doesn't match what I think is morally where
    I want to be. I think it *is* ok to control peoples hardware. I do it

    So your arguments about "potential murderes", "thieves", "trespassers" and
    "distributors of proprietary derived works" is totally missing the point.

    It's missing the point that "morals" are about _personal_ choices. You
    cannot force others to a certain moral standpoint.

    Laws (like copyright law) and legal issues, on the other hand, are
    fundamentally *not* about "personal" things, they are about interactions
    that are *not* personal. So laws need to be fundamnetally different from
    morals. A law has to take into account that different people have
    different moral background, and a law has to be _pragmatic_.
    So trying to mix up a moral argument with a legal one is a fundamental
    mistake. They have two totally different and separate areas.

    The GPLv2 is a *legal* license. It's not a "moral license" or a "spiritual
    guide". Its raison-d'etre is that pragmatic area where different peoples
    different moral rules meet.
    In contrast, a persons *choice* to use the GPLv2 is his private choice.
    Totally different. My choice of the GPLv2 doesn't say anything about my
    choice of laws or legal issues.

    You don't have to agree with it - but exactly because it's his private
    choice, it's a place where the persons moral rules matter, in a way that
    they do *not* matter in legal issues.

    So killing, thieving, and distributing proprietary derived works are about
    *legal* choices. Are they also "immoral"? Who knows. Sometimes killing is
    moral. Sometimes thievery can me moral. Sometimes distributing derived
    works can be moral. Morality != legality. They are two totally different

    Only religious fanatics and totalitarian states equate "morality" with
    "legality". There's tons of examples of that from human history. The ruler
    is not just a king, he's a God, so disagreeing with him is immoral, but
    it's also illegal, and you can get your head cut off.

    In fact, a lot of our most well-known heroes are the ones that actually
    saw the difference between morals and laws.

    A German soldier who refused to follow orders was clearly the more "moral"
    one, wouldn't you say? Never mind law. Gandhi is famous for his peaceful
    civil disobedience - was that "immoral" or "illegal"?
    Or Robin Hood. A romantic tale, but one where the big fundamnetal part of
    the picture is the _difference_ between morality and legality.

    Think about it.

    Yes, there is obviously overlap, in that a lot of laws are there to
    protect things that people also consider "moral". But the fact that there
    is correlation should *not* cause anybody to think that they are at all
    about the same thing.
    That was *not* what I did.

    I don't think it's hypocritical to prefer the GPLv3. That's a fine choice,
    it's just not *mine*.

    What I called hypocritical was to do so in the name of "freedom", while
    you're at the same time trying to argue that I don't have the "freedom" to
    make my own choice.

    See? THAT is hypocritical.
    sam, Jul 16, 2007
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  3. Mickey Mouse

    peterwn Guest

    Fred and Ebeneezer, please note.

    The Linux brigade cop it for posting anti Microsoft stuff, and now this
    Microsoft shill comes along and posts this incorrect (and stale) crap.
    Sam has explained why.

    And you guys wonder why the likes of me will not go away.
    peterwn, Jul 16, 2007
  4. What is apparent from the article linked, is that it isn't just Microsoft,
    Tivo and Linspire that have issues with GPLv3 and in particular the
    idealogues at the Free Software Foundation, but that the discontent reaches
    much further - even to the creator of Linux, and has the potential to
    alienate Linux from further penetration into corporate and embedded
    environments, and restrict its viability in numerous consumer applications.
    Abstract Reasoning, Jul 16, 2007
  5. Mickey Mouse

    Allistar Guest

    What has GPL3 got to do with Linux if Linus won't use that license?

    Allistar, Jul 16, 2007
  6. Mickey Mouse

    impossible Guest

    Everything. Torvald's point is that GPL3 components added to the GPL2 kernel
    will create Linux distros that impractically limit the choices that people
    have about how to copy, modify, and distribute that software. He does not
    dispute the FSF's **legal right** to impose these restrictions, but he his
    quite clearly arguing that it is hypocritical of anyone to claim that this
    can be done in the name of "freedom". By extending the reach of the GPL3
    license beyond just the derived work -- outlawing behavior with respect to
    DRM and patents that the FSF happen to think is morally reprehensible --
    FSF has, in Torvald's opinion, trampled on the freedom of users to choose
    their own morality. Now, you can argue the pros and cons of this view, but
    acting as if it's irrelevant is a bit disingenuous, I'd say.
    impossible, Jul 16, 2007
  7. Mickey Mouse

    thingy Guest

    Tivo uses GPL software it did not have effect it locks out the
    ability of others to use TIVO modifications to do their own
    thing....that is not the spirit of the GPL and never has been.

    The differences between ver2 and v3 are some explicit statements instead
    of implicit (patent protection). so fundamentally there is no huge

    As for penetration, you seem to be assuming that is what the creators of
    OSS want, in fact this is not the case. I can but assume you just do not
    grok OSS and the GPL. There is no real dis-content within the OSS
    community as you seem to suggest, the mis-contents are those exploiting
    the OSS community, or those wishing to who sit outside the community....

    Look it is quite simple, OSS programmers/developers want to share their
    work between themselves in order to "stand on the shoulders of giants".
    Corporates are using the GPL software for their gain when in fact OSS
    community does not care.

    Try to understand this, OSS is not about doing business, it is about
    writing code to suit the users who wrote the code....anybody else is
    plain lucky thye gte OSS for free if they do not change it....GPL came
    about because the code is not has terms and conditions
    that those in the OSS community will happily meet....

    Some companies like IBM use the OSS and make a good business profit, but
    also contribute back with GPL many companies have no
    issues with the GPL.

    Some corporates might be "alienated", but those are probably the
    ignorant and probably exploitative ones.....those that understand the
    aims behind the new GPL will not have any issue. GPL3 will not effect
    them as they meet GPL2 now AND in effect in using GPL3 software in their
    environment means that they have GREATER protections than under GPL2.....

    So the MS's and Tivo's of this world which abused the GPL will now be
    unable to sustain their business models moving models
    that were never intended by the writers of the software that released
    their software under GPL2.

    Finally, if you read some of the mailing lists and later updates from
    Linus that this article seems to miss, in fact he has little issues with
    GPL3. It is just he will probably not move the Kernel to GPL3, when in
    fact most of the abuses of GPL2 are taking place outside of the kernel...


    thingy, Jul 16, 2007
  8. Mickey Mouse

    thingy Guest

    Nothing....but "Linux" is more than the Kernel that Linus manages....the
    Kernel is not Linux.....Linux does not maintain the bash shell for
    instance that comes with a Linux.....


    thingy, Jul 16, 2007
  9. Mickey Mouse

    thingy Guest

    GPL3 is more than this, it also offers greater protection from the "IP"


    thingy, Jul 16, 2007
  10. Mickey Mouse

    impossible Guest

    Huh? GPLx **creates** IP. If you license something under its terms, then the
    intellectual property of the copyright holder(s) is protected. The
    difference between GPL2 and GPL3 is simply that the protections it specifies
    go beyond the contents of the derived work itself.
    impossible, Jul 16, 2007
  11. Mickey Mouse

    thingy Guest

    No, copyright and not IP...

    Not so...GPL2 said that if you create a work based on GPL2 work and
    release it into the world, you have also to include the source
    you took our code and improved it, then we should also benefit from that
    improvement if its publicly out there as a have stood on
    our shoulders, please play fair. There has been considerable dis-content
    that there are violations of GPL2 code because while implicitly offering
    conditions and protection it was not explicit...some commercial
    companies have attempted to exploit that. In reality it is few and far
    between, most want to be reasonable....

    eg if you modify the kernel, you have to release that
    modification...some companies did not....GPL3 makes it clear they have
    to....IF they chose to modify the kernel (assuming the kernel goes GPL3)
    There is no forcing to use the kernel, companies are free to write
    their own code....indeed look at an EULA from say Microsoft...its terms
    are similar or even worse...

    While not the kernel this applies to any piece of software eg Samba will
    be going GPL3....a commercial entity does not have to use Samba, they
    can write their own CIFS stack...they are not forced to use Samba...if
    they want to they have to meet the conditions of the GPL3....

    Under GPL2 Ms and Novel tried to get cute, GPL3 stops end
    users are explicitly offered more protection than GPL2....Ms and Novel
    cannot just offer FUD protection for their clients with regards to GPL
    software if they offer it to anyome they have to offer it to all.....

    So the people who are tripped up are those which wish to use GPL code
    purely for their commercial advantage to the detriment of two groups,
    those who wrote the code and those end users who wish to use it....

    All MS wants to do is sit in the middle and make money for no added
    value and/or damage OSS which is its main competiton or use the OSS code
    for free....GPL3 prevents this....end users will be freer from the mafia
    style tactics.......


    thingy, Jul 16, 2007
  12. Mickey Mouse

    sam Guest

    Torvalds said "Its a fine licence" just not for him.

    I've heard the same arguments advanced in GPL vs BSD discussions, Linus
    Torvalds doesn't have much choice here, he's quite happy with what Tivo
    do with the kernel, other kernel developers have different ideas, this
    piece is from their internal discussions and isn't it nice to see how
    they tolerate dissent and frank discussions. If TiVo wanted, they could
    choose to use BSD, like Apple, there is nothing stopping them except
    more work. From Linus perspective he would lose TiVo's contributions
    back to the kernel project
    Ideology isn't a perjorative term, and it is Torvalds own ideology that
    is preventing him from adopting this license.
    There are many open source licenses. The Apache license takes a tough
    stance on patent litigation for example. It hasn't stopped it from being
    included in the Novell Suse Microsoft distribution, because it doesn't
    specifically target the patent covenant deal. Torvalds isn't concerned
    about that. Just the provision against the end user being locked out by
    TPMs in the hardware it runs on.

    Here's Alan Cox's response to questions prior to the final draft

    What Alan Cox said


    Audience member: What do you think about the talk about GPL 3? About
    Linus not going under it.

    Alan Cox: Ahm, I understand why Linus feels that way, because one of the
    things that's happened with the Linux kernel is the Linux kernel was
    released under a licence and that licence says there are some things you
    can do and some things you can't do.

    Not a perfect licence, there are people who push binaries of it, there
    are people who use it in entirely legal ways which most of the
    developers don't like. There are Linux systems flying military
    equipment, and a lot of developers aren't happy about it. But, that's
    the way it goes.

    The problem you've got though, all these people who've contributed to
    it, many individuals, companies, whatever have contributed to this
    project on the basis that they could use it under those terms. So, if
    you come along and say "This is the a licence, we're changing the
    rules", all the stuff you've been contributing to it, and you have
    expectations, we are going to change the rules on you so you can't - is
    a very hard thing to do. To some people it's a very unfair thing to do.

    When you get things like Digital Rights Management, you get into the
    question of: do the ends justify the means?

    I think it's something Linus is very concerned about is that he's
    basically not breaking the trust. He doesn't see himself, if you like, I
    think, as kind of the... how else can I put it ... When people style him
    as sort of the "Chief dictator" but Linus in the project isn't so much
    dictator overlord evil empire owner, as man in charge of a large number
    of things contributed by other people, so he's custodian rather than
    dictator, so to speak, and that makes it very awkward to come along and
    say "Well, we're going to the new version of the licence. Sorry Tivo, we
    love all the work you've given us in the kernel, but go away, goodbye".
    So, it is very hard, from that point of view.

    I think it's the ethical thing which are questions for the kernel,
    rather than, necessarily, the technical things about the change to new
    licences. And so I don't entirely agree with Linus, but I understand
    where he's coming from on the issue. If that makes any sense.

    Audience member: What do you think about the Digital Rights Management
    stuff in the GPL 3 itself?

    Alan Cox: Ehm, as the draft stands at the moment, it's a bit heavy
    handed. I'd like to think there's a more elegant way of solving the problem.

    For one, it's arguable that GPLv2 already covers it. It sufficiently
    vague to make lawyers nervous, rather than happy, to go and say "Oh yes,
    bang splat, we'll win this one", but the GPL version 2 wording says, not
    just the program code, also all the scripts blah blah blah necessary,
    and there's a distinct legal opinion that would include cryptographic
    keys in the case where you need it to digitally sign the binary that's
    given to users.

    So, the GPL 3, one way you could argue, it's a clarification, but the
    way it deals with it, it's a very heavy handed way of dealing with it.
    It talks about DRM on media and stuff, so not giving people, for
    example, GPL source code on an SD card - because that's Digital Rights
    Management media - gets a bit silly if you take it to it's extreme.

    I mean, you don't want a clause saying you can't use media which has a
    patent on it. There goes the CD ROM, for example.


    So, I'm very wary of that.

    I think a lot of the other changes in GPLv3 are very good. Particularly,
    for example, where it's clarifying graphical applications and the web.
    Because GPLv2 is really in the world of the command line. So it had
    things in it saying "if the program prints that it is GPL software, you
    may not remove that", but it didn't have anything saying "if there's an
    about box... you may not remove that", or "if the web page says... you
    may not remove that". So that's being clarified. That kind of stuff I
    support. So I think those parts of the licence are a definite improvement.

    But it's only a draft. You still have an ongoing consultation and will
    do for quite some time yet. ...and we'll see how it evolves.
    sam, Jul 16, 2007
  13. Mickey Mouse

    Allistar Guest

    You're refering to the GNU system then. Linux, in the purest sense, IS the
    kernel. Everything else is software bundled by distribution maintainers.
    Allistar, Jul 16, 2007
  14. Mickey Mouse

    Allistar Guest

    Doesn't Linux (and other kernel maintainers) have a say in what license is
    used for code added to the Linux kernel?

    Allistar, Jul 16, 2007
  15. Mickey Mouse

    impossible Guest

    Copyright **is** IP. Why is that a sticky issue for you? GPL'd code is the
    property of its creators, who license others to copy, modify, and distribute
    it under certain conditions.
    impossible, Jul 17, 2007
  16. Mickey Mouse

    impossible Guest

    I'm not sure what you're driving at. Care to elaborate?
    impossible, Jul 17, 2007
  17. Mickey Mouse

    sam Guest

    Which contradicts your previous assertion.
    It is Copyright which creates the and protects exclusive right to
    intellectual property.
    The GPL is indeed just the license agreement, the assignment of
    ownership of copyright does not change with the license
    sam, Jul 17, 2007
  18. Mickey Mouse

    impossible Guest

    No. The GPL itself is the instrument that assigns ownership via copyright.
    Without that license, you have no legal claims to ownership whatsoever.
    impossible, Jul 17, 2007
  19. Mickey Mouse

    sam Guest

    The license does not assign ownership of the copyright and you cannot
    claim ownership otherwise anyone could claim ownership and change the
    license to suit themselves.
    sam, Jul 17, 2007
  20. Mickey Mouse

    thingy Guest

    Copyright assigns/asserts ownership. GPL is the licence type you are
    allowed to use the software under.


    thingy, Jul 17, 2007
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