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    SubjectRe: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3


    On Wed, 20 Jun 2007, Dave Neuer wrote:
    > >
    > > And anybody who thinks others don't have the "right to choice", and then
    > > tries to talk about "freedoms" is a damn hypocritical moron.
    >
    > One might say the same thing about someone who claims not to have a
    > moral right to force certain choices on others in some circumstances
    > (e.g. when those others have used copyrighted work in a product and
    > ought to understand that for some not insignificant portion of the
    > copyright holders, the terms implicitly included preserving certain
    > "freedoms" for downstream recipients) while reserving a very similar
    > moral right with others (e.g. potential murderers, theives,
    > tresspassers, distributors of proprietary derived works).

    I don't disagree that "morals" are something very personal, and you can
    thus never really argue on morals *except*for*your*own*behaviour*.

    So I claim that for *me* the right choice is GPLv2 (or something similar).
    I think the GPLv3 is overreaching.

    There's a very fundamental, and very basic rule that is often a good
    guideline. It's "Do unto others".

    So the reason I *personally* like the GPLv2 is that it does unto others
    exactly what I wish they would do unto me.

    It allows everybody do make that choice that I consider to be really
    important: the choice of how something _you_ designed gets used.

    And it does that exactly by *limiting* the license to only that one work.
    Not trying to extend it past the work.

    See?

    The GPLv3 can never do that. Quite fundamentally, whenever you extend the
    "reach" of a license past just the derived work, you will *always* get
    into a situation where people who designed two different things get into a
    conflict when they meet. The GPLv2 simply avoids the conflict entirely,
    and has no problem at all with the "Do unto others as you would have them
    do unto you".

    In a very real sense, the GPLv3 asks people to do things that I personally
    would refuse to do. I put Linux on my kids computers, and I limit their
    ability to upgrade it. Do I have that legal right (I sure do, I'm their
    legal guardian), but the point is that this is not about "legality", this
    is about "morality". The GPLv3 doesn't match what I think is morally where
    I want to be. I think it *is* ok to control peoples hardware. I do it
    myself.

    So your arguments about "potential murderes", "thieves", "trespassers" and
    "distributors of proprietary derived works" is totally missing the point.

    It's missing the point that "morals" are about _personal_ choices. You
    cannot force others to a certain moral standpoint.

    Laws (like copyright law) and legal issues, on the other hand, are
    fundamentally *not* about "personal" things, they are about interactions
    that are *not* personal. So laws need to be fundamnetally different from
    morals. A law has to take into account that different people have
    different moral background, and a law has to be _pragmatic_.

    So trying to mix up a moral argument with a legal one is a fundamental
    mistake. They have two totally different and separate areas.

    The GPLv2 is a *legal* license. It's not a "moral license" or a "spiritual
    guide". Its raison-d'etre is that pragmatic area where different peoples
    different moral rules meet.

    In contrast, a persons *choice* to use the GPLv2 is his private choice.
    Totally different. My choice of the GPLv2 doesn't say anything about my
    choice of laws or legal issues.

    You don't have to agree with it - but exactly because it's his private
    choice, it's a place where the persons moral rules matter, in a way that
    they do *not* matter in legal issues.

    So killing, thieving, and distributing proprietary derived works are about
    *legal* choices. Are they also "immoral"? Who knows. Sometimes killing is
    moral. Sometimes thievery can me moral. Sometimes distributing derived
    works can be moral. Morality != legality. They are two totally different
    things.

    Only religious fanatics and totalitarian states equate "morality" with
    "legality". There's tons of examples of that from human history. The ruler
    is not just a king, he's a God, so disagreeing with him is immoral, but
    it's also illegal, and you can get your head cut off.

    In fact, a lot of our most well-known heroes are the ones that actually
    saw the difference between morals and laws.

    A German soldier who refused to follow orders was clearly the more "moral"
    one, wouldn't you say? Never mind law. Gandhi is famous for his peaceful
    civil disobedience - was that "immoral" or "illegal"?

    Or Robin Hood. A romantic tale, but one where the big fundamnetal part of
    the picture is the _difference_ between morality and legality.

    Think about it.

    Yes, there is obviously overlap, in that a lot of laws are there to
    protect things that people also consider "moral". But the fact that there
    is correlation should *not* cause anybody to think that they are at all
    about the same thing.

    > To call people who draw the line in a different place than you
    > hypocrites is BS.

    That was *not* what I did.

    I don't think it's hypocritical to prefer the GPLv3. That's a fine choice,
    it's just not *mine*.

    What I called hypocritical was to do so in the name of "freedom", while
    you're at the same time trying to argue that I don't have the "freedom" to
    make my own choice.

    See? THAT is hypocritical.

    Linus
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