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SubjectRe: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
On Saturday 16 June 2007 13:14:29 Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jun 16, 2007, Bron Gondwana <> wrote:
> > On Sat, Jun 16, 2007 at 05:22:21AM -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >> On Jun 15, 2007, Bron Gondwana <> wrote:
> >> > because it could easily be argued that they linked the BIOS with the
> >> > Linux kernel
> >>
> >> How so?
> >
> > Er, they installed it in the same piece of equipment, and the kernel
> > couldn't function without it in that work.
> I see what you're getting at. You're thinking of a license that
> doesn't respect the idea of "mere aggregation", right?
> For starters, this wouldn't evidently not qualify as an Open Source
> license, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't qualify as a Free Software
> license either.

This situation is a general description that actually fits what TiVO has done.
The difference in the TiVO case is that you (and everyone that thinks like
you - ie: believes that the "tivoization" language in GPLv3 is good)
equate "replace entirely" with "modification" when, in fact, the two are
entirely separate acts.

> > By using GPLix as part of their boot process along with their
> > non-GPL BIOS, they're subverting the freedoms that the user should
> > have in being able to control the entire boot process.
> You're pushing the "freedom to change" too far. Sure, I'd like to be
> able to do that, and I prefer hardware that lets me do it, but it's
> not like this BIOS in the scenario you described is being used as a
> means to stop me from modifying the GPLed software.
> I have never said that including a GPLed piece of software should
> grant users the right to modify anything whatsoever in the system, or
> grant them control over the entire system. Others have, but it's not
> true, it just shows how much mis-information is floating around.
> All the GPL stands for is to defend the freedom of the users over the
> particular program it applies to. You can't impose further
> restrictions on the user's ability to modify what *that* software
> does.

"You can't impose further restrictions on the user's ability to modify what
*that* software does."

I don't see how TiVO has done this. They have placed no restrictions on
*modification* at all. What they have done is placed a restriction on
*REPLACEMENT* of the program. If you're going to argue that "replacement ==
modification" then it is an *easy* argument to make that every time someone
*replaces* linux with a proprietary system the proprietary system magically
becomes GPL'd.

And no, this isn't a logical fallacy on my part. It's on your part - all I've
done is take the logic you have provided and extend it to cover a different


> If you wanted to change something else, but this something else is not
> covered by the license, and is not being used to contradict the terms
> of the license, well, too bad, you lose.
> > b) deny themselves the ability to every offer a patch to said BIOS if
> > bugs are found
> >
> > Point (b) is also exactly on topic for the discussion of enforcing
> > legal safety obligations in hardware on a peripheral rather than the
> > software drivers.
> >
> > It's requiring that these limitations be placed in a technically
> > inferior location to hack around a legal "bug".
> I don't think this last sentence is true. If you implement hardware
> locks that prevent modification of the software even by yourself, then
> you're in compliance with the terms of the GPLv3dd4. But IANAL.

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