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Linus Says No GPLv3 for the Linux Kernel 415

Posted by Hemos
from the the-battle-wages-on dept.
HenchmenResources writes "Late Wednesday a posting from Linus Torvalds appered on the the Linux Kernel Mailing List. In it Linus states that the Linux Kernel will remain under the GPLv2. Types Linus,"The "version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version" language in the GPL copying file is not - and has never been - part of the actual License itself.""
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Linus Says No GPLv3 for the Linux Kernel

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  • by Renegade Lisp (315687) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:10AM (#14567364)
    GPLv3 hasn't even been released yet. The public discussion on what it will be like only started a few days ago. And yet Linus seems to be categorically certain that he won't even consider using that license? There must be a lot of bad feelings between him and the FSF (not that I couldn't understand this from some of the recent events, but I always thought Linus was a very diplomatic and friendly character who would not be easily offended).

    What is that thing about developers having to turn over their private keys? I don't think anything that stupid is even considered for GPLv3.

    I wish there would be a rational and friendly discussion. Is that too much? Have we come thus far?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:13AM (#14567417)
      Linux is licensed under GPL v2. In order to move to GPL v3, v4, v99 etc, EVERY SINGLE CONTRIBUTOR must accept this. Practically impossible.
      • Linux is licensed under GPL v2. In order to move to GPL v3, v4, v99 etc, EVERY SINGLE CONTRIBUTOR must accept this. Practically impossible.

        Don't contributors assign copyright to some type of Linux foundation?
        • by mrchaotica (681592) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:20AM (#14567536)
          Nope! That's why copyright problems are so much more of a concern for the Linux kernel than they are for, say, HURD (because for HURD the copyright has to be assigned to the Free Software Foundation).

          It's also why the Linux kernel is much more popular among developers than HURD (because people and companies can contribute to it and still keep their copyright).
          • in any substantial fashion. Philosophy doesn't yield code.
          • by LWATCDR (28044)
            "That's also why the Linux kernel is much more popular among developers than HURD (because people and companies can contribute to it and still keep their copyright)."
            No.
            Linux is more popular than HURD because it has been around longer and is is more useful. Hurd came late. A developer can go one of two ways. Work on Linux and expand a working system that is used by millions or work on a system that few have ever heard about.
            Frankly I don't like what I have read of GPL v3 and I feel that it will not be as po
        • by Jon Pryor (118031) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:22AM (#14567561) Homepage

          Don't contributors assign copyright to some type of Linux foundation?

          No. Linux kernel contributors retain their own copyright. This is frequently considered to be a good thing, as it means that no single group has copyright over everything, which means that no single group can change the license to e.g. BSD and start selling a proprietary version of Linux.

          • I've held my tongue for quite a while on this hoping to see some discussion directly related to this. The GPLv2 has a MAJOR flaw in its original design. This could be intentional or unintentional, you decide. You state that "no single group can change the license" yet there remains the

            "; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version"

            clause in the original version. One of two things _can_ happen:

            1. The FSF _can_ change the license to a MIT/BSD style AT ANY TIME.
            2. The GPL _sho
            • "Since the FSF is the only entity capable of modifying or releasing future versions of the GPL (as stated in the GPL), we have to trust they will not tamper with the spirit of the license."

              No, we don't need to trust this. You can't take a paragraph from a contract and say "that's all with it". You need to see it in context.

              Now: what does point 9 say?
              "9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in
        • No. The FSF does require that for its code, but Linux and a lot of other projects don't. It's not always bad, though. While it's harder to change the license, you don't have to trust whoever you're assigning the license to to not sell out.
          • by pthisis (27352) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:48AM (#14567914) Homepage Journal
            The FSF does require that for its code, but Linux and a lot of other projects don't. It's not always bad, though. While it's harder to change the license, you don't have to trust whoever you're assigning the license to to not sell out.

            At least with the FSF model, it's not 100% trust based; at least last time I checked they do sign a contract with the assigner saying that they'll distribute the code under a free license or the copyright reverts, or something along those lines. I can't remember the exact wording.
            • by ZoneGray (168419) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:30PM (#14569445) Homepage
              It's one thing to assign copyright to FSF, quite another to assign it a random non-profit organization. FSF has some history and widespread recognition, and one can be reasonably confident that they'll survive and remain true to their vision.

              On the other hand, if somebody set up a non-profit to create the nextest bestest portal application, there's a real chance that the non-profit org could go bankrupt, regardless of the sincerity of their intention. Or the org could undergo a leadership change and a change of philosophy. If you had assigned your code to them, it could easily wind up in a proprietary commercial application. The GPL would protect existing releases, but anybody who held all the copyrights could update and re-release under a proprietary license.

              Even if the terms of assignation were written to preclude this, such provisions might not survive bankruptcy.

          • Its also makes it really hard to enforce the license. Standing can become highly ambigious and since the burdon is on the plantif to prove standing no one can actually enforce the license. In practice this can turn GPLed software into MIT software.
      • Linux is licensed under GPL v2. In order to move to GPL v3, v4, v99 etc, EVERY SINGLE CONTRIBUTOR must accept this. Practically impossible.

        Yeah but that is not the reason Linus is giving. He doesn't like it (and he mentions that bizarre private key issue as a reason for that), and so he doesn't even get to the point where he starts wondering whether it would be practically possible to change licenses. At least that's the way I read his post.

        • Part of the DRM clause I think. Plus Linus has no problem with DRM in the kernel [linuxtoday.com], something GPLv3 adamantly opposes (and quite possibly may be set up to directly oppose, oooh the drama). So of course he isn't going to use GPLv3.
          • by drakaan (688386) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @01:29PM (#14569423) Homepage Journal
            The article you linked to didn't say that Linus has no problem with DRM in the kernel. It said that he has no problem with people using the kernel for whatever purpose they like, which is a vastly different viewpoint.

            It sounds like his gripe with the GPLv3 is that it is imposing restrictions on what modifications or contributions can be made, which is not the same agnostic view as in previous versions.

            The idealist (RMS) and the engineer (Linus) are definitely at a point of contention on this issue...it'll be interesting to see what happens.

            • The idealist (RMS) and the engineer (Linus) are definitely at a point of contention on this issue...it'll be interesting to see what happens.

              I agree the general point of your post, but I just wanted to add that this "idealist/engineer" contrast is slightly inaccurate. In fact, I think Linus once said something like "RMS is the great philosopher, I am the engineer" (correct me if I'm wrong). RMS sure talks a lot about philosophy and Linus does not, but that doesn't mean that RMS isn't as much of an engine
        • People shouldn't forget that most of the kernel code is a derivative work on Linus' original 0.01 kernel and, as such, he has the right to say how those parts can be licensed.
    • by Orion (3967)
      His concern appears to be with a clause that would require publically releasing the keys that were used to sign-off sections of the code.

      I'd have to look into it in more detail to figure out what keys he is referring to. Does anybody know? I could see the logic of GPLv3 requiring this, and I can also see Linus' objection.

      In other words, this isn't a knee-jerk reaction.... there is logic to it. Now maybe what Linus should be doing is commenting on GPLv3 so that it gets changed, and for all we know he has.
      • by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:32AM (#14567695) Homepage Journal

        He misinterpreted part of the GPLv3. The private key section says that if private keys are required for the code to function (in other words, your program will only load signed code) than you must make available a means to generate the signed code. The theory here is that certain hardware devices (*cough*TiVo*cough*) use GPLed software, but make it impossible to actually modify and run that software on their hardware device. In order to allow people to make changes and actually use those changes, you have to make available any private keys required to make the code actually run.

        So if Mr. Torvalds has a private key that he uses to sign code, he is under no obligation to release that key to the public assuming that an end user can build and run the code without requiring the private key. You only have to release your private key if a third-party build of the software will not run without being signed by that key.

        Now, another common misinterpretation that came up at the GPLv3 launch was that this meant that if you had set up your system to require signed code that you would have to make your private key available. This isn't the case. The only requirement is that a third party must be able to build and run the system without your private key. If this requires them to generate their own private key, that's perfectly acceptable.

        If a GPLv3ed program cannot run without a specific private key, that private key must be made available. That's all the license says. Developers are not required to disclose private keys that they use to sign code.

        • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:48AM (#14567907) Homepage Journal
          "If a GPLv3ed program cannot run without a specific private key, that private key must be made available. That's all the license says. Developers are not required to disclose private keys that they use to sign code."

          This simple, clear statement should be at the beginning. I think if you argue about this in the future, you would help your case to lead with this, and then back it up afterwards.
        • http://lkml.org/lkml/2003/4/24/19 [lkml.org]

          The issue of private keys, DRM, code signing and the effect of GPL V3 has been in discussion for a long time. Linus has said he might in some circumstances sign binaries, in which case you would need the private key to regenerate the signed binary.

          "And since I can imaging [sic] signing binaries myself, I don't feel that I can
          disallow anybody else doing so."
          Linus Torvalds, LKML April 2003
        • "You only have to release your private key if a third-party build of the software will not run without being signed by that key."

          Whos to say what will or will not run? They give all their code back, but their hardware is not even close to related to the GPL. You can run every mod to the software you want on your own hardware just fine, but to just let anyone run their own forks on their hardware is far past the scope of the software license. It sounds like a good idea, but it would really lead to a state we
    • DRM, private keys (Score:5, Insightful)

      by everphilski (877346) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:17AM (#14567482) Journal
      Discussion over GPLv3 has been going on for quite some time now even though the draft has just now emerged. He has mentioned a few things, one is that he has no problem with DRM in the kernel [linuxtoday.com], whereas GPLv3 is Anti-DRM [newsforge.com]. Also Linus opposed having his developers have to make their private keys available, which was stated in the article.

      I think he's thought it though, and I think the decision makes sense. No one says you have to increment from GPLv2 to GPLv3, it is at your option. RMS make the license more restrictive, too restrictive, therefore Linus said no.
      • by mrchaotica (681592) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:10PM (#14568253)
        RMS make the license more restrictive, too restrictive...
        The fundamental intent of the license hasn't changed. The only thing this does is close the loophole whereby vendors could technically release source code that runs on their device, but if anyone actually tried to exercise their rights under the GPL by modifying the code (i.e. the entire point of it being Free Software in the first place) the device would refuse to run the code because the checksum/key wouldn't match. The GPL v.3 just adds text explicitly saying that device makers must allow this, where it was only implied (i.e. without legal weight) before.
    • Complete Corresponding Source Code also includes any encryption or authorization codes necessary to install and/or execute the source code of the work, perhaps modified by you, in the recommended or principal context of use, such that its functioning in all circumstances is identical to that of the work, except as altered by your modifications. It also includes any decryption codes necessary to access or unseal the work's output. Notwithstanding this, a code need not be included in cases where use of the wo
    • GPLv3 hasn't even been released yet. The public discussion on what it will be like only started a few days ago. And yet Linus seems to be categorically certain that he won't even consider using that license?

      I seem to recall reading something from the FSF stating that even though it's not finalized, the draft will be the final license unless a serious problem is identified.

      Linus refusing to support it might be enough of a problem. Certainly, I strongly suspect that the code signing issue will be largely

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:11AM (#14567373)
    This comes as no great surprise. How could Linus convert it to v3, even if he wanted to? There are thousands of individual copyright holders to contact (not everyone released it under "any later version"). For some of them, that's going to require a seance and/or JLH, since they are dead now. I consider this a non-story, personally, we knew this was going to happen before v3 was even announced.
    • For some of them, that's going to require a seance and/or JLH, since they are dead now.

      Whilst I wouldn't mind being the liason to contact Jennifer Love Hewitt for extended "meetings" and "negotiations," I don't believe she does much coding.

    • JLH??? (Score:3, Funny)

      by biendamon (723952)
      Jennifer Love Hewitt?
      Juicy Lumpy Hamburgers?
      Just Limp Humphrey?
  • Huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bhirsch (785803) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:12AM (#14567396) Homepage
    How can code released under the GPL be relicensed at all, even GPLv3? If it can be, why can't I take it and license it with a BSD-style or completely closed source license?
    • by Nichotin (794369) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:14AM (#14567433)
      Either, one entity holds the copyrights, and are free to change the license. Or, the copyright holders have agreed upon submitting their code, to allow the thing to be released as "GPL v2 or later".
      • But can this be done with respect to companies like RedHat that make significant changes to the kernel. Code released under v2 would seem to be stuck as v2. How could someone make a retroactive license change on a released piece of software?
        • No, the copyright holders can give permission to re-release it as GPLv3 or Carl and Jabbas Artistic Hut Licence. The 'problem' with the Linux kernel, is that there are an extreme amount of copyright holders, so even if RedHat gave permission to re-release their code as GPLv3, that would not be anywhere near the complete kernel source code.
        • As the grandparent tried to put it, only the copyright holder can change the license on a piece of software.

          If I create a program that counts to 100 and then exits, I can release it under any license(s) I want. If I release it GPL v2 and someone says, "Hey, Stine, management wants us to avoid GPL. Can we get it under BSD?", I can decide to release it under BSD if I so choose. You cannot decide to release my code under any other license than I have explicitly said that you can. If you want it under a dif
          • (ignoring the fact that the program you mentioned above is NOT eligible for copyright protection because of its obviety, non-intellectual-novelty and other similar factors)

            If you distributed your code to me under the terms of the GPL, and I made a derivative work, and I distributed my derivative work (under the terms of the GPL also, because this would be mandatory), then a third work, derivative of my work, can only be licensed under the terms of the GPL regardless of any change in the license of the origi
        • If you are the copyright holder, you can re-release your code any time under any license you want. Now if every kernel contributor re-releases his code under GPLv3, then the whole kernel is re-released under GPLv3. Of course, the code you received under v2 would remain under v2; and if you have an old kernel containing code which isn't in the current one, and isn't relicensed, then you couldn't redistribute it under v3 either. Also I think GPLv2 and GPLv3 are not compatible, because e.g. the GPLv3 DRM stuff
      • Which would be the dumbest thing to do, ever. Who's to say whoever is in charge of 'making' the GPL vXXX doesn't add in all sorts of nasty things that an original author might not like. What if they release it as a horribly restrictive license? What if they open it up to being as open as the BSD license? Who knows what some other group might change the license to in the future. Licensing your code under a license another group could change at a whim is dumb. Really, really dumb.
    • Re:Huh (Score:5, Informative)

      by k98sven (324383) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:28AM (#14567647) Journal
      How can code released under the GPL be relicensed at all, even GPLv3?

      1) Because the GPL license can optionally include the statement that it's covered by the GPL and/or any later version.

      2) Because a copyright holder can relicense, dual-license and in general put any conditions he or she wants on their copyrighted work, including multiple different sets of conditions (licenses).

      What you are asking is akin to saying "If someone lends a book to me on a set of conditions, how can they be allowed to lend it to someone else on different ones?".

      If it can be, why can't I take it and license it with a BSD-style or completely closed source license?

      Because you don't own the copyright.
    • by mark-t (151149)
      The author can relicense his own code under whatever license he wants.

      It's trickier with Linux, however. Because of so many authors, who have independantly retained copyrights on their personal contributions, they would all have to agree on an alternative license scheme before it could be done. You can have the same problem when you have a compilation of works by many authors.

      And as for obtaining permission from contributers that may no longer be with us, in the case of something like Linux, their pe

  • I don't get it... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Concern (819622) *
    Linus says:

    And quite frankly, I don't see that changing. I think it's insane to require people to make their private signing keys available, for example. I wouldn't do it.

    Private signing keys? I must have missed that in the GPLv3 discussion so far. What on earth is he talking about?
    • Re:I don't get it... (Score:5, Informative)

      by everphilski (877346) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:19AM (#14567526) Journal
      http://software.newsforge.com/article.pl?sid=06/01 /17/1454213&from=rss [newsforge.com]

      DRM clause I guess?

      "Complete Corresponding Source Code also includes any encryption or authorization codes necessary to install and/or execute the source code of the work, perhaps modified by you, in the recommended or principal context of use, such that its functioning in all circumstances is identical to that of the work, except as altered by your modifications. It also includes any decryption codes necessary to access or unseal the work's output."

      http://gplv3.fsf.org/draft [fsf.org]
      • by Concern (819622) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:27AM (#14567628) Journal
        OK, I guess I see where the confusion comes from, but it still seems just like confusion. How on earth could this clause require Linus to release his private keys? There is no DRM in linux. No encryption or authorization codes are required to install and/or execute the work, and no decryption codes are necessary to access or unseal... you get the idea.

        Is Linus on crack?
        • by photon317 (208409)

          Linus clearly plans for the Linux kernel to support DRM in the future if hardware and future content seems to demand it. Has has no qualms about supporting DRM, as long as it's done "right". When and if DRM comes to the kernel, those provisions of the GPL could have serious consequences for Linux, perhaps even making it illegal to realistically use Linux on the DRM hardware it was designed to support.
      • In the V2 of the GPL, there was an obligation of making the usable, human-readable version of the code avaliable. Ergo: we shouldn't need keys to read the code.

        When you have the code, any "protection" of the executable generated can be easily stripped out, as can also be the case of output files of the app.

        Case closed?
    • To me this just reflects a deep distrust of Richard Stallman and his social agenda. Stallman has become an impatient utopianist an, like most utopianists, he's resorting to tyranny where his past attempts to win hearts and minds have failed. Linus may be paranoid in this example but that paranoia is grounded in a loathing of Stallman's fundamentalist thinking.
      • Tyranny? The guy doesn't have the greatest social skills around, but then again who does? Can we really say "Tyranny?"

        I wasn't aware the FSF was a failure either.

        Why on earth loathe the guy? I feel like I missed something.
      • by fitten (521191) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:44AM (#14567853)
        I'm with you on this. I distruct Richard Stallman for the same reasons. I personally think he's gone off on a side road of his original mission. Originally, it was to provide a bunch of software that was open to all and protected by copyright. Now, it seems his mission is to attempt to destroy anything that isn't open to all and protected in the ways he wants to define it. The first is setting up a safe haven for intellectual ideas and the like. The second is waging a war. I don't want a war and have no time for it. I prefer to live and let live and have no problem with OSS and proprietary software coexisting. Stallman no longer wants to coexist so I've not supported his views for some time.
        • by starseeker (141897) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @03:02PM (#14570736) Homepage
          "Now, it seems his mission is to attempt to destroy anything that isn't open to all and protected in the ways he wants to define it."

          I rather doubt that. I think he is trying to fight the creation of an environment where free software is either illegal to run or technically impossible to run. Both are quite possible. After all, what good is software with no hardware to run it on? Stallman is right to worry about that point.

          Stallman has ALWAYS considered non-free software immoral. He is "leading by example," so to speak. The problem is the hardware side is more difficult to handle, since fab equipment for chips is not a simple or inexpensive proposition.

          I don't like the GFDL because of its invariant sections (primarily) and so in that regard I disagree with the approach he and the FSF have taken, but on the whole they seem to be facing up to some very unplesant possibilities and trying to put roadblocks across their ever being implemented. I'm reminded of two Lord of the Rings quotes:

          "It needs but one foe to breed a war, not two."

          "Those without swords can still die upon them."

          Stallman is doing exactly what he has always done - respond to the threats as they become apparent. His approach to patents is another step in the same direction.

          To paraphrase a sig I saw somewhere: "it's only paranoia if they AREN'T actually out to get you." Like security, license writers should be paranoid about threats to their intent. It's just too expensive to try hashing things out in court.
      • Why trust anyone? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by vondo (303621) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:03PM (#14568127)
        I made the same decision Linus did on a project I run. I like what GPLv2 says, I don't want someone at MIT deciding, years after I wrote my code, what the terms of the license on my code are by granting additional rights or restrictions. My application happens to be one that runs on a server and presents users with a web interface. As you'll recall, there were originally thoughts that v3 would require modifications to such applications to be available.
        • by Jason Hood (721277)

          This whole argument about GPLv3 is moot anyway. Why on earth would anyone want to relicense? Its like upgrading software that works just fine the way it is. I think Linus made the right call - There is no reason to promote a relicensing of the kernel. In fact there is no reason why anyone would.

          Not many people license under the GPL anymore (compared to 3-5 years ago). Most use dual BSD/Apache style licensing now. This latest "update" to the GPL is pushing more companies away from OSS, not closer. I know my
      • To me this just reflects a deep distrust of Richard Stallman
        As multiple posts point out, it's more to do with the licensing minutae then a some kind of relational "trust" problem. I'm not sure where you get that, but please re-consider the facts.

        and his social agenda.
        His "social agenda" is at the very least partially responsible for the loads of free software and **innovation** in the computing industry. If you don't agree with his views, then there's lots of commercial software vendors with proprie
  • by WebHostingGuy (825421) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:15AM (#14567451) Homepage Journal
    Here is the full text as it took me several times to get past the MySQL errors with too many connections:

    Date Wed, 25 Jan 2006 17:39:16 -0500 (EST)
    From Linus Torvalds
    Subject Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders

    On Wed, 25 Jan 2006, Chase Venters wrote:
    >
    > This means that when the code went GPL v1 -> GPL v2, the transition was
    > permissible. Linux v1.0 shipped with the GPL v2. It did not ship with a
    > separate clause specifying that "You may only use *this* version of the GPL"
    > as it now does. (I haven't done any research to find out when this clause was
    > added, but it was after the transition to v2).

    Bzzt. Look closer.

    The Linux kernel has _always_ been under the GPL v2. Nothing else has ever
    been valid.

    The "version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version"
    language in the GPL copying file is not - and has never been - part of the
    actual License itself. It's part of the _explanatory_ text that talks
    about how to apply the license to your program, and it says that _if_ you
    want to accept any later versions of the GPL, you can state so in your
    source code.
    The Linux kernel has never stated that in general. Some authors have
    chosen to use the suggested FSF boilerplate (including the "any later
    version" language), but the kernel in general never has.

    In other words: the _default_ license strategy is always just the
    particular version of the GPL that accompanies a project. If you want to
    license a program under _any_ later version of the GPL, you have to state
    so explicitly. Linux never did.

    So: the extra blurb at the top of the COPYING file in the kernel source
    tree was added not to _change_ the license, but to _clarify_ these points
    so that there wouldn't be any confusion.

    The Linux kernel is under the GPL version 2. Not anything else. Some
    individual files are licenceable under v3, but not the kernel in general.

    And quite frankly, I don't see that changing. I think it's insane to
    require people to make their private signing keys available, for example.
    I wouldn't do it. So I don't think the GPL v3 conversion is going to
    happen for the kernel, since I personally don't want to convert any of my
    code.

    > If a migration to v3 were to occur, the only potential hairball I see is if
    > someone objected on the grounds that they contributed code to a version of the
    > kernel Linus had marked as "GPLv2 Only". IANAL.

    No. You think "v2 or later" is the default. It's not. The _default_ is to
    not allow conversion.

    Conversion isn't going to happen.

                    Linus
  • I GNU it! (Score:4, Funny)

    by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday January 26, 2006 @11:21AM (#14567551)
    The Linux kernel has _always_ been under the GPL v2. Nothing else has ever been valid.

    Nothing to see here, please move along.
  • by velco (521660)
    The question is will Linus refuse contributions, licensed under GPLv3?

        Including a GPLv3 licensed parts will require distribution of the derived work (i.e. the kernel) to comply with both GPLv2 and GPLv3 requirements, thus effectively making the whole kernel GPLv3.

    ~velco
    • This has been said before and it doesn't just affect the Linux Kernel...

      If someone has released software under a previous version of the GNU Public license and they did NOT include the clause allowing relicencing under a later version of the GPL then you can NOT combine it with GPL version 3 code.

      The suggestions were to contact the copyright owners and see if they will agree to re-licence the original code, or for you dual license YOUR code so that it could be used under either license.

      Now, for the Linux Ke
  • Beyond the fact that you can't move the kernel due to not all contributors agreeing - is it possible that Linus simply doesn't like the new provisions in GPL3.

    I can tell you that I don't care for several of the provisions. They are VERY anti-business. This license is less free than others because of the new provisions. I predict that the new wording will drive more new projects to BSD style licensing.

    Don't get me wrong - I hate DRM just like everyone else, but I think GPL3 goes over-board. It seems more a
    • by mpcooke3 (306161) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:47PM (#14568800) Homepage
      This license is less free than others because of the new provisions. I predict that the new wording will drive more new projects to BSD style licensing.

      heh. That depends on what you mean by free:

      A) Free as in free to do what you like with. eg, GPLv2 is more "free" in this sense because businesses have more "freedom" to DRM or patent encumber software under this license.

      B) GPLv3 has more restrictions in place to guarantee that software licensed under it is not encumbered by patents or DRM restrictions. Thus it guarantees that DRM and patent restrictions don't restrict people "freedom" to use the software.

      BSD style is more free in terms of (A) and less free in terms of (B). For example I am "Free" to contribute secretly patented code to your BSD project and then take you to court for patent infringement when you distribute said software. Is that a freedom you intended to grant me or would you actually have preferred to use a more restrictive license after all?
  • Linus is wrong (Score:2, Informative)

    Older versions of Linux can be distributed under any version of the GPL ever published by the FSF, as per GPLv2 section 9 [linux.no], since they did not specify a version of the GPL.

    Of course, it's actually GPLv2 or later, because several source files have the "v2 or later" clause.

    • by DaHat (247651)
      Jesus Christ you are right!

      To quote the key section:

      If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

      That just gave me an idea on how Microsoft and others could destroy Linux and other OSS...

      Step 1: Take over FSF
      Step 2: Turn GPL into a more BSD like license
      Step 3: ???
      Step 4: Profit!

      And I think we all know what could and would happen for Step 3.
  • Building a site that only renders well in MSIE is not particularly smart, building a site that explicitely places an annoyingly huge banner at the top if you're using MSIE is just morally wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:15PM (#14568307)
    The guy that started the topic is the same !#@&% guy that offered to relicense the linux kernel for some $50,000 not some time ago.

    http://lkml.org/lkml/2006/1/20/226 [lkml.org]

    http://lkml.org/lkml/2004/10/23/186 [lkml.org]
  • Just the kernel? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mnmn (145599) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @12:26PM (#14568465) Homepage
    OK thats just the kernel being talked about. What about the rest of GNU/Linux?? Will it move to GPLv3?

    I'm primarily concerned with gcc, glibc and the likes. X has its own license that I'm OK with. The rest of the apps are not critical and easily replaceable. gcc glibc and the kernel are damn hard to replace... they exist alone. Others have competitors.

    I dont want any of GPLv3 in my system just as I dont want any of SCO code in my system. Maybe the final GPLv3 will be more palatable than it is now.
    • Re:Just the kernel? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by atomm1024 (570507)
      Any GPLed software by FSF will become GPLv3, presumably. So yes, gcc will become GPLv3. However, glibc is LGPL, so that will not be changing.
  • by ajayrockrock (110281) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:29PM (#14570289) Homepage
    Everyone knows that the odd numbers are under active development. Linus is just waiting until the next stable release, GPLv4.

    --Ajay
  • cost vs. benefits (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adrianmonk (890071) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:48PM (#14570565)

    OK, so it appears Linus has decided that Linux will not be converted over to GPL v3. Lots of people have given philosophical opinions about this, but what if we step back and look at it from a purely practical point of view? What are the costs of converting to GPL v3, and what benefits would it provide to the Linux maintainers and users?

    Possible benefits:

    • GPL v3 prohibits DRM. Does this really make a difference with Linux? Linux doesn't have DRM features anyway, so what does it matter what the license says? I suppose it might prohibit a few things that could be done on top of Linux using DRM, and that might be good, but it seems like a minor effect, so at best this has a minor positive effect in favor of a cause which isn't directly related to the central purpose of Linux.
    • Keeping up to date. Yes, I suppose there is some small benefit in being on the latest version of the GPL just to avoid being out of date, but personally I reject the idea that everybody ought to always be on the latest version of everything. You should use what works.
    • Make Richard Stallman happy. Doesn't seem like a major goal of Linux.

    That's pretty much it as far as the positives for Linux, as far as I can tell. Now, what about the negatives?

    • Redefinition of "user". As I understand it, GPL v3 says if you are using something over the network, you're still a user, and if that software is modified, it's no longer a private modification and the source to the changes has to be made available. This would appear to mean that if someone is running a public web server on a Linux system, they will now have to make any of their changes to Linux public. That's unlikely to happen, but it could affect some sites in that they wouldn't be able to upgrade and bring their changes forward. Probably a minor issue, though.
    • Copyrights. As others have said, Linus doesn't hold the copyrights; the contributors do. So it's a huge hassle to get that all converted to GPL v3.

    So what is the bottom line? Converting offers basically no major advantage. GPL v2 is just as good as GPL v3 for the purposes of Linux. And, converting is a huge hassle. So, rather than looking at why Linus isn't converting the kernel over, why don't we ask this question: why should it be converted over? There doesn't seem to be any kind of compelling advantage.

    My guess is that the same thing is going to apply to lots of other projects. Converting is a great big hassle, and it doesn't offer any big advantage, so people just won't bother.

  • by ishmalius (153450) on Thursday January 26, 2006 @02:53PM (#14570614)
    If the code has already been released as GPL v.2 and it has already been dispersed into the Internet wilderness, then what is done, is done. However, new code and/or new versions of existing code can be licensed however the author of it wants. It is merely up to the kernel integrators to decide if they want to use it or not.

    If the kernel project guys really do not want GPLv.3-released code in their product because they consider it to be virally too restrictive, then fine. That is their prerogative and they don't need to include it. However, if the author of some highly-desired code really wants v.3 and doesn't care if it lands in the official kernel source tree, then the contrapositive applies: they can't force him to change it, either.

    Remember, the GPL in its various forms is not restrictive; it is permissive. It starts with the default copyright restrictions allowing no copying of the code. It then generously gives permission to copy and use it while only asking for a few small acts of good behaviour in return.

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