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SubjectRe: The GPL: No shelter for the Linux kernel?
Adrian Bunk wrote:
> On Fri, Sep 22, 2006 at 11:15:50AM -0500, James Bottomley wrote:
>> Although this white paper was discussed amongst the full group of kernel
>> developers who participated in the informal poll, as you can expect from
>> Linux Kernel Developers, there was a wide crossection of opinion. This
>> document is really only for discussion, and represents only the views of
>> the people listed as authors (not the full voting pool).
>> James
>> ----------
>> The Dangers and Problems with GPLv3
>> James E.J. Bottomley Mauro Carvalho Chehab
>> Thomas Gleixner Christoph Hellwig Dave Jones
>> Greg Kroah-Hartman Tony Luck Andrew Morton
>> Trond Myklebust David Woodhouse
>> ...
>> 6 Conclusions
>> ... Therefore, as far as we are
>> concerned (and insofar as we control subsystems of the kernel) we cannot
>> foresee any drafts of GPLv3 coming out of the current drafting process that
>> would prove acceptable to us as a licence to move the current Linux Kernel
>> to.
>> ...
> Some people might wonder why kernel developers have any business
> discussing the GPLv3 in their positions as kernel developers and why
> 10 core kernel developers put their names on a document containing this
> statement.
> Isn't all this complete nonsense considering that the COPYING file in
> the kernel contains the following?
> <-- snip -->
> Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
> is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
> v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.
> <-- snip -->
> Considering that the number of people that contributed to the Linux
> kernel during the last 15 years might be in the range 5.000-20.000, so
> asking all contributors to agree with a licence change from GPLv2 to
> GPLv3 (or any other license) and handling all the cases where
> contributors do not answer, are not reachable or disagree, and doing
> this in a way not creating legal issues in any jurisdiction is not a
> realistic option.

More than that the people who are classified as the top ten are just
a MAINTAINER collects patches from various people.

So eventually a MAINTAINER is the top most contributor ? this might be
valid in certain cases, but not be applicable in all cases.

> So aren't all discussions about "acceptable to us as a licence to move
> the current Linux Kernel to" silly since this is anyway not an option?
> In the internal discussions there was one point that changes this
> pictures, and I would consider it highly immoral to keep it secret since
> it affects every single contributor to Linux.

ACK. cent per cent

Talking about openness and still closed ?

> Thinking about probably changing the license of the kernel makes sense
> if you believe the following "nuclear option" is a real option:
> 1. It is a legally tenable and arguable position that the Linux
> kernel is a work of joint authorship whose legal citus is that
> of the USA.
> 2. On this basis, a single co-author can cause the kernel to be
> relicensed.
> 3. To be legally sound, such a co-author would have to be either a
> current major subsystem maintainer or a demonstrated contributor
> of a significant proportion of code of the kernel.
> cu
> Adrian

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