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    SubjectRE: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
    David Schwartz wrote :

    > The GPL is about having the legal right to modify the software and
    > able to put other people's distributed improvements back into the
    > original code base. It does not guarantee that you will actually be
    > to modify the software and get it to work on some particular hardware.

    This is obviously wrong.

    Need I remind everyone the "origin" of the GNU movement is RMS getting
    a buggy printer driver from its manufacturer, and finding out he had
    no way to fix it? What use would RMS have had for putting other
    people's distributed improvements back into the original code base and
    not being allowed to get his printer to work? (And yes driver was
    os-side but only because devices had little computing capabilities
    then. Nowadays a lot of this very same stuff happens on the
    DRM-protected flashable firmware)

    The aim from the start was for the ultimate software recipient (not
    the software author) to be able to fix a software blob provided with a
    hardware device, and use it with the original hardware device.
    Translated on modern hardware that's exactly what people (even
    non-developper people) do when they download a rockbox image and put
    it on their MP3 player, and exactly the use case DRM forbids.

    The plain truth is the GPL v2 didn't target explicitely DRM when it
    was written because hardware manufacturers hadn't come up with DRM
    yet. Getting source code available was sufficient because no one
    "protected" hardware against binaries built from this source code, and
    embedded hardware logic was either bog-simple and foolproof because
    neither the manufacturer nor anyone else could change it, or wide open
    to everyone (the manufacturer but also the buyer of the device).

    Modern DRM targets this original GPL assumption. GPLv3 only clarifies
    the intended effects of previous GPL versions.

    It is a shameless rewriting of history to say the GPLv2 writers
    considered DRM and wrote a license that allowed it. It is a shameless
    rewriting of history to claim anyone (Linus included) who released GPL
    v2 code before DRM was used considered DRM and okayed it. It is a
    shameless rewriting of history to claim the GPLv3 "spirit" WRT
    combined software + hardware bundles is any different from the GPLv2

    The first documented reason for free/libre software was a
    software+hardware bundle. They never were isolated parts.

    Moreover many people write about GPLv3 imposing "software" rules on
    "hardware" design. DRM is wholly about using "software" rules on
    hardware design. Hardware can be broken and the law allows buyers to
    break what they bought. The attractiveness of DRM to hardware
    manufacturers and content producers is precisely it's not hardware,
    but software that has many interesting legal properties:
    - it's not sold but licensed, and you can attach strings to the
    license you can't on a pure hardware deal (Hardware is not licensed.
    An hardware design may be licensed to other manufacturers, but the
    hardware implementation buyers receive has no particular legal
    protection against modifications)
    - copyright law gives you exclusive rights (supposedly for a time), so
    you can legaly lock out users and competitors when the law is very
    clear you're not allowed to for hardware. So to take the ROM case it's
    very difficult for a user to take a ROM out and replace it with
    something else. However he can legally do it. Aside from introducing
    an assymetry between the user and the manufacturer, DRM makes
    replacement legally forbidden. GPLv3 does not target the technical
    difficulty but the new legal impossibility (by forcing the GPLv3
    distributor to relinquish any legal entitlement to block changes on
    the GPLv3 part. That it also unlocks the rest of the device is only
    cheap design that does not distinguish between the parts it blocks)

    Now kernel authors can choose whatever license they want for code they
    wrote. They can specify the conditions of acceptance of submitted
    patches (but not what the authors of the submitted patches think about
    the GPLv3). They definitively do not have to switch to the GPLv3 just
    because the FSF released it.

    However if they want to discuss the rationality of their choice of
    GPLv2 over GPLv3, it would be nice to get rational arguments and not
    the gross exagerations, name-callings and dubious analogies this
    thread is full of.

    Nicolas Mailhot

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