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SubjectRe: GPLv3 Position Statement

On Mon, 25 Sep 2006, Michiel de Boer wrote:
> I support the current draft of the GPL version 3 and am very dissapointed
> it will not be adopted as is. IMHO, Linux has the power and influence
> to move mountains in the software industry, and shouldn't shy away from
> the opportunity to take moral responsibility when it arises.

Well, you do have to realize that Linux has never been an FSF project, and
in fact has never even been a "Free Software" project.

The whole "Open Source" renaming was done largely _exactly_ because people
wanted to distance themselves from the FSF. The fact that the FSF and it's
followers refused to accept the name "Open Source", and continued to call
Linux "Free Software" is not _our_ fault.

Similarly, the fact that rms and the FSF has tried to paint Linux as a GNU
project (going as far as trying to rename it "GNU/Linux" at every
opportunity they get) is their confusion, not ours.

I personally have always been very clear about this: Linux is "Open
Source". It was never a FSF project, and it was always about giving source
code back and keeping it open, not about anything else. The very first
license used for the kernel was _not_ the GPL at all, but read the release
notes for Linux 0.01, and you will see:

2. Copyrights etc

This kernel is (C) 1991 Linus Torvalds, but all or part of it may be
redistributed provided you do the following:

- Full source must be available (and free), if not with the
distribution then at least on asking for it.

- Copyright notices must be intact. (In fact, if you distribute
only parts of it you may have to add copyrights, as there aren't
(C)'s in all files.) Small partial excerpts may be copied
without bothering with copyrights.

- You may not distibute this for a fee, not even "handling"

notice? Linux from the very beginning was not about the FSF ideals, but
about "Full source must be available". It also talked about "Free", but
that very much was "Free as in beer, not as in freedom", and I decided to
drop that later on.

How much clearer can I be? I've actively tried to promote "Open Source" as
an alternative to "Free Software", so the FSF only has itself to blame
over the confusion.

Thinking that Linux has followed FSF goals is incorrect. IT NEVER DID!

I think the GPLv2 is an absolutely great license. I obviously relicensed
everything just a few months after releasing the first version of Linux.
But people who claim that that means that I (or anybody else) should care
what the FSF thinks on other issues are just being totally silly.

> What is the stance of the developer team / kernel maintainers on DRM,
> Trusted Computing and software patents?

I'm very much on record as not liking them. That changes nothing. I'm also
very much on record as saying that DRM, TPC etc have nothing at all to do
with the kernel license.

If you want to fight DRM, do so by joining the Creative Commons movement.
The problem with Disney is not that they use DRM, it's that they control
the content in the first place - and they do that because content tends to
be too monopolized.

The whole "content" discussion has _nothing_ to do with an operating
system. Trying to add that tie-in is a bad idea. It tries to link things
that aren't relevant.

So go fight the problem at the _source_ of the problem, not in my project
that has got nothing to do it.

And please, when you join that fight, use your _own_ copyrights. Not
somebody elses. I absolutely hate how the FSF has tried to use my code as
a weapon, just because I decided that their license was good.

> How about a public poll?

Here's a poll for you:
- go write your own kernel
- poll which one is more popular

It really is that simple. The kernel was released with a few rules. The
same way you can't just make your own version of it and then not release
sources, you _also_ cannot just make it GPLv3.

It's not a democracy. Copyright is a _right_. Authors matter.

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