Kernel developers' position on GPLv3
Posted Sep 26, 2006 0:28 UTC (Tue) by bojan
In reply to: Kernel developers' position on GPLv3
Parent article: Kernel developers' position on GPLv3
> FOSS people will not be safe with DRM.
Actually, it would appear that kernel developers that presented this position paper believe that they can be safe with DRM. I'm guessing that they are probably counting on "they need us now" factor by the hardware companies, with Linux being widespread as it is these days. So, they are probably feeling that it is unlikely that the hardware will go DRM-or-nothing in the foreseeable future (e.g. Linus pointed out a few times that you can always get a regular PC if you want to tinker with Tivo's version of Linux).
If the hardware doesn't go DRM-or-nothing, then there will always be enough folks tinkering with Linux to keep the interest in it on the "enthusiast" side. As for corporate side, I think there is no doubt that with GPLv2 the likes of Red Hat, Novell etc. can continue what they're doing with losing just the enthusiasts that in the DRM-or-nothing world would not be able to tinker at all. Whether the development community formed purely out of corporate programmers would be sufficient to keep pushing FOSS ahead long term is something that doesn't have an easy answer. However, in the DRM-or-nothing world, Linux kernel development and distribution would most likely look more like "shared source" than "open source" - look, but don't touch.
I personally have no idea what long term plans are of hardware making companies. They are the ones that will have to pick sides eventually.
> The GPLv3 is responding to an existing threat and not making a division in itself.
Well, it's a fork in the road, no doubt about that in my mind. FSF will relicense their tools to GPLv3 the moment it is final. Then all the corporate programmers that are contributing (e.g. Red Hat folks building glibc, gcc etc.) may be at a point of picking sides. It is quite clear that the kernel will stay on GPLv2 no matter what, but there is sufficient amount of important GNU software out there that a fork could be warranted if GPLv3 is perceived an insurmountable obstacle by big distros (similar scenarios happened before: think XFree86 - X.org). I'm thinking here primarily in terms of the patent clauses that could grind to a halt all big computer vendors' Linux related activities.
All this IMHO, of course and without passing any judgement to the validity of pro-3 or pro-2 arguments (i.e. I'm still very much undecided - there are good arguments on both sides).
One thing is for sure - Bill and Steve a getting a really good laugh out of all this. DMCA may have been on their mind in their effort to prevent further Linux penetration, but they probably never thought an internal struggle in the FOSS world could help them like this...
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