GPLv2 or, at your option, any later version
Posted Oct 14, 2006 22:51 UTC (Sat) by malor
In reply to: GPLv2 or, at your option, any later version
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
Yes, I realize that key kernel developers don't like this. However, in watching their verbal gyrations on the issue, I have come to the belief that this is not because of any particular ideal of free software. Rather, it appears to be because the GPLv3 will slow the adoption of their pet project and, thus, the spreading of their fame and future employability.
The whole point of the GPL is that I can't use your code, distribute it to others, and keep rights to myself that I don't give to my end users. If I load it onto a device, but retain the right to modify software in the device, they must also have that right. And your assertion that I can only install modified software with their permission is incorrect. The fact that most manufacturers have been polite and done so, does not mean that they are required to. If I'm the manufacturer of a Tivo-esque device, I do not have to ask for any permission from anyone to update 'my' device.
And no, calling it stealing isn't wrong. Copyright infringement is not theft, because the producer of music/movies/whatever isn't deprived of anything, except possibly a potential sale. But in the case of software, part of the original agreement is to allow end users (including the original author of the code) full rights to any distribution of that code.
Distributing it in a locked hardware device does indeed deprive the original developer of something, the ability to use the device in the way he or she wants. 'Stealing' is perfectly appropriate; they have taken something from you and not fulfilled their primary responsiblity, which is to give end users the exact rights that they have. You have a clear and demonstrable loss.
If the FSF bends to the pressure of the loud kernel devs, they are trading away the future of their entire movement for a little near-term success for one project. They permanently relegate software developers to second-class citizenship behind hardware manufacturers.
I think they know that, and I hope they will refuse to bend on this issue.
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