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    SubjectFlame Linus to a crisp!

    Ok,
    there's no way to do this gracefully, so I won't even try. I'm going to
    just hunker down for some really impressive extended flaming, and my
    asbestos underwear is firmly in place, and extremely uncomfortable.

    I want to make it clear that DRM is perfectly ok with Linux!

    There, I've said it. I'm out of the closet. So bring it on...

    I've had some private discussions with various people about this already,
    and I do realize that a lot of people want to use the kernel in some way
    to just make DRM go away, at least as far as Linux is concerned. Either by
    some policy decision or by extending the GPL to just not allow it.

    In some ways the discussion was very similar to some of the software
    patent related GPL-NG discussions from a year or so ago: "we don't like
    it, and we should change the license to make it not work somehow".

    And like the software patent issue, I also don't necessarily like DRM
    myself, but I still ended up feeling the same: I'm an "Oppenheimer", and I
    refuse to play politics with Linux, and I think you can use Linux for
    whatever you want to - which very much includes things I don't necessarily
    personally approve of.

    The GPL requires you to give out sources to the kernel, but it doesn't
    limit what you can _do_ with the kernel. On the whole, this is just
    another example of why rms calls me "just an engineer" and thinks I have
    no ideals.

    [ Personally, I see it as a virtue - trying to make the world a slightly
    better place _without_ trying to impose your moral values on other
    people. You do whatever the h*ll rings your bell, I'm just an engineer
    who wants to make the best OS possible. ]

    In short, it's perfectly ok to sign a kernel image - I do it myself
    indirectly every day through the kernel.org, as kernel.org will sign the
    tar-balls I upload to make sure people can at least verify that they came
    that way. Doing the same thing on the binary is no different: signing a
    binary is a perfectly fine way to show the world that you're the one
    behind it, and that _you_ trust it.

    And since I can imaging signing binaries myself, I don't feel that I can
    disallow anybody else doing so.

    Another part of the DRM discussion is the fact that signing is only the
    first step: _acting_ on the fact whether a binary is signed or not (by
    refusing to load it, for example, or by refusing to give it a secret key)
    is required too.

    But since the signature is pointless unless you _use_ it for something,
    and since the decision how to use the signature is clearly outside of the
    scope of the kernel itself (and thus not a "derived work" or anything like
    that), I have to convince myself that not only is it clearly ok to act on
    the knowledge of whather the kernel is signed or not, it's also outside of
    the scope of what the GPL talks about, and thus irrelevant to the license.

    That's the short and sweet of it. I wanted to bring this out in the open,
    because I know there are people who think that signed binaries are an act
    of "subversion" (or "perversion") of the GPL, and I wanted to make sure
    that people don't live under mis-apprehension that it can't be done.

    I think there are many quite valid reasons to sign (and verify) your
    kernel images, and while some of the uses of signing are odious, I don't
    see any sane way to distinguish between "good" signers and "bad" signers.

    Comments? I'd love to get some real discussion about this, but in the end
    I'm personally convinced that we have to allow it.

    Btw, one thing that is clearly _not_ allowed by the GPL is hiding private
    keys in the binary. You can sign the binary that is a result of the build
    process, but you can _not_ make a binary that is aware of certain keys
    without making those keys public - because those keys will obviously have
    been part of the kernel build itself.

    So don't get these two things confused - one is an external key that is
    applied _to_ the kernel (ok, and outside the license), and the other one
    is embedding a key _into_ the kernel (still ok, but the GPL requires that
    such a key has to be made available as "source" to the kernel).

    Linus

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