Kernel developers' position on GPLv3
Posted Sep 22, 2006 22:09 UTC (Fri) by sepreece
In reply to: Kernel developers' position on GPLv3
Parent article: Kernel developers' position on GPLv3
I don't think anyone would disagree that the "must release source code" requirement is central to the success of Linux and other FOSS software. I think almost everyone agrees that it an essential element of fairness. It's also utterly essential to the success that FOSS has seen.
I believe the "viral" nature of GPL would probably get a less unanimous response. It seems like essential fairness that "if you use a modified version of my code, you must give back your changes", but the argument for copyleft is less clearly essential to fairness. I would not, personally, claim that fairness required that if you use my code in your product, you need to also release your own code that just uses my code. If the use is just around exposed APIs, I tend to think it's just use and shouldn't require release. I tend to think that copyleft has also been less critical to the success of FOSS - that there probably are some projects that started because they had to, in order to use GPLed code, but I think the successful FOSS projects exist and flourished because somebody wanted a particular kind of software "thing" and felt that FOSS development was a good way to get a group working together to grow it. That doesn't require copyleft.
The anti-Tivoization argument is even less broadly accepted (as the kernel developers show here). I believe it extends the notion of the first freedom unacceptably and without any roots in essential fairness. Nor is it essential to the future success of FOSS. In fact, I continue to believe that the anti-Tivoization/anti-DRM clauses will work against future success of FOSS by fragmenting the community and by driving some work, some developers, and a significant amount of investment, to a separate community around GPLv2 or another free license.
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