Re: the beef
Posted Oct 3, 2006 15:16 UTC (Tue) by mingo
In reply to: Re: the beef
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
As has been explained repeatedly, you have the freedom to run the code on any hardware you want. What you don't have is the freedom to distribute GPLv3'ed code as part of hardware that forbids the user to run modified versions.
Firstly, the GPLv2 did not try to control works independently created of the works we created. I'm curious about the basis for your claim that it is "similar in spirit" for the GPLv3 to suddenly break this promise by trying to control hardware that includes no GPL-ed code at all (and is hence outside of the 'moral scope' of our license) - just because it's distributed together with GPL-ed code.
Secondly, does your interpretation also mean that, by recursion, in future versions of the GPL we should brace ourselves for the prohibition of the distribution of GPL-ed code on the same hardware that also contains non-GPL code? (for example closed-source code?) Because controlling that is within the exclusive rights of the copyright holder too, and by your argument it's fine to do it, as long as it makes the modification of the system more convenient?
Thirdly, the mechanism you (and the GPLv3) are proposing breaks a fundamental symmetry of the GPLv2: that if end-use and distribution together with certain independent works by one person is allowed, the same end-use and distribution with other independent works is allowed for another person too.
Let me give you an example: lets suppose i take the binary packages of the Tivo and run it on my PC. The only GPL-ed code on that system will be those binary packages. I can run it on my PC, and i can distribute that PC. But if someone else puts those very same unmodified packages on a Tivo, he would not be able to distribute that system. Nothing else on either the PC or on the Tivo is GPL-ed - only those binary packages. The code that is used is totally the same in both cases, and the hardware (and other software) is neither a modification or a derivative of any GPL-ed code. But the GPLv3 forbids the distribution of the Tivo system!
Fourthly, as the above example I gave to you, the practical effect of the prohibition of distribution of certain combinations of unmodified GPL-ed works with other, independent works simply punishes certain types of end-uses, and hence limits those end-uses. Legally it might not be an end-user limitation (because hey, in theory everyone has the ability to build a Tivo from scratch in private, right?), but the end-effect is still very much the same.
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