Building a free future in embedded devices
Posted Oct 19, 2006 21:10 UTC (Thu) by bronson
In reply to: Building a free future in embedded devices
Parent article: Free gadgets need free software
in a licensing structure that permits Tivoization, no counter-incentive exists for manufacturers wishing to make use of free software.
What?! The most effective counter-incentive is the free market. Always has been, always will be. If a device doesn't make its customers happy, customers won't buy it. Anyone who thinks that the GPLv3 is the customer's last defense against the evil DRM manufacturers is simply deluding himself.
Think about DRM-fettered devices... TiVO has become mostly irrelevant in the PVR market. It's being eaten on the high end by Myth and Sage boxes and on the low-end by Comcast's junk. Customers have voted with their feet. If TiVO had been more open with their hardware, I think they would still be selling a ton of boxes. But, no, they were greedy and are now getting what they deserve.
Let's say Apple wants to produce an iPod that only plays iTunes music. Even with all the DRM in the world, could they? Not successfully. Would the GPLv3 affect Apple's decision? Not in the slightest.
Adding controversial, divisive, and poorly-understood wording to a widely-used license to try to protect against a problem that may or may not even exist... That sounds like a clear-cut case of overengineering to me.
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