Possible routes to kernel on GPLv3
Posted Jan 26, 2007 17:47 UTC (Fri) by coriordan
In reply to: Possible routes to kernel on GPLv3
Parent article: GPL 3: An Open-Source Earthquake? (CRN)
There are definitely grey areas, but people seem to see these and then think that therefor no line should be drawn, but that leads to the situation where there's no reason for a manufacturer not to tivoise all the software on the device. They get full control, and the customers get no freedom to help themselves or cooperate with each other as a community. Many companies see that as a win, but for computer users, in terms of having those freedoms, it's a complete loss.
So where to draw the line? GPLv3 draws the line at network installs. Whatever parts of the software can be upgraded by the manufacturer over the network have to also be modifiable by the owner.
If a regulation requires that a certain software-controlled feature be restricted, it can go in ROM. That will usually be a tiny amount of code, maybe it will just be two numbers.
If the manufacturer wants to restrict more than is necessary, then that's just a violation of the spirit of the GPL and it's the GPL's job to stop that.
So GPLv3 encourages manufacturers to put as little as possible in non-user-modifiable memory by mandating that that part of the software also be non-manufacturer-modifiable.
In all the noise that this has generated, I don't think anyone's made a list of how many companies this will affect? A friend in one of the World's largest medical device manufacturing companies confirmed to me that they don't use tivoisation in any of there devices - and yet the example of medical devices has often been used to say that GPLv3 goes too far.
The other ways to tackle the current DRM frenzy are to either (a) use our market pressure, but that's just choosing to fail since we have a track record of never using our market pressure effectively, or (b) shake off the power that the content industry has over us by moving to free content - this means discarding all culture made in your county and my country in the last century, and It won't happen.
Our licences can't do everything, and not everything will be happily black and white, but we've got to do what we can, and if you've a better way to draw the line through this grey area, gplv3.fsf.org is asking for your input.
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