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    SubjectRe: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
    On Jun 17, 2007, Linus Torvalds <> wrote:

    > On Sat, 16 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
    >> I've already explained what the spirit of the GPL is.

    > No. You've explained one thing only: that you cannot see that people don't
    > *agree* on the "spirit".

    They don't have to.

    Just like nobody but you can tell why you chose the GPLv2, nobody but
    RMS can tell why he wrote the GPL. And the intent behind writing the
    GPL is what defines its spirit.

    > Yes, people have brought out the argument that the GPLv3 actually
    > even changes the spirit,

    And that's the point that I'm fighting here. It does not change the
    spirit. It's still ensuring that Free Software remains Free:
    respecting and defending the four freedoms defined in the Free
    Software definition.

    >> I've already explained that the anti-Tivoization provision is in line
    >> with it.

    > .. and we have already explained to you that it's irrelevant.

    It is relevant. It was the point that my participation was intended
    to address.

    I guess it is just too hard to accept that an FSFer could not be
    trying to force GPLv3 down your throat or some other such nonsense.

    > - The GPLv2 was ok with Tivo.

    There's disagreement about this, even among developers of the kernel
    Linux, and you know it.

    I know you're always right and I pretend to respect that ;-), but why
    do you think your opinion should prevail over theirs? Don't you
    realize that they're as entitled as you are to enforce the license,
    and in the way *they* (not you) perceive and meant to license their

    And then again, this is not something I'm overly concerned about. I
    probably don't have enough contributions to Linux for my take on it to
    make any difference whatsoever.

    This is not the real issue at all. The real issue, that brought me
    here and got you to name calling me and the FSFs, is that there were
    false claims about the GPLv3 that I wanted to dispell, particularly
    the point about its changing the spirit. The anti-tivoization
    provisions are in the spirit of the GPL, and so much so that a number
    of people perceive them as already covered by GPLv2.

    > - The GPLv3 tries to stop Tivo.

    A minor nit, but no, it doesn't. It tries to stop the practice of
    tivoization on programs licensed under the GPLv3.

    TiVo has a number of choices, and so do other tivoizers, even if they
    adopt software under the GPLv3.

    > What I care about is that the GPLv3 is a _worse_license_ than GPLv2,

    Even though anti-tivoization furthers the quid-pro-quo spirit that you
    love about v2, and anti-tivoization is your only objection to v3?
    That's what I don't understand. This is so obviously contradictory to
    me that it's almost funny, and you've so far dodged my questions about
    this and refrainied from commenting on this contradiction so much that
    it looks like it's a blind spot in your mind.

    > I'd be stupid to select the worse of two licenses, wouldn't I?

    Yes. That's precisely why I don't understand your stance. Because I
    expect you to be intelligent, but starting from your stated motivation
    for choosing GPLv2, and from the consequences of the anti-tivoization
    provisions, you'd satisfy your motivations better with v3.

    Tivoization reduces the motivation for customers of tivoized devices
    to improve the software. You end up with contributions from the
    manufacturers alone, instead of from all the user community.

    With explicit anti-tivoization provisions, you may very well lose
    contributions from some tivoizers, but for those who change their
    stance, you gain far more contributors. You don't need a lot of
    tivoizers to take the path of freedom for you to win big time in the
    bottom line that you posed as the only relevant one.

    You see why I don't understand your position?

    > They are also "anti-anything-else-that-might-want-to-lock-down-a-
    > specific-version-for-security-or-regulatory-reasons".

    It's not, this is false. "Lock down" is permitted. It just won't
    work if the business model depends on modifying stuff behind the
    user's back. But other cases of "lock down" are permitted:

    this requirement does not apply if neither you nor any third party
    retains the ability to install modified object code on the User
    Product (for example, the work has been installed in ROM).

    > - Not everybody thinks like you or agrees with you.

    > - In particular, the original copyright author in the kernel does *not*
    > think like you, and *realized* that he doesn't really like the FSF
    > religious agenda years and years ago, and made sure that the FSF cannot
    > control the licensing of the Linux kernel.

    I hereby acknowledge, one more time, that I accept these facts.

    Since we're in such a good mood now, would you mind acknoledging some
    other simple facts, such that we can end this discussion?

    - the spirit of the GNU GPL, written by RMS in the FSF, is to keep
    Free Software Free, respecting and defending the freedoms of users of
    software licensed under the GPL

    It can serve other goals, and some people, yourself included, chose
    it for other reasons, but the intent, the spirit of the license is
    what its author intended it to be, just like the intent behind each
    contribution to Linux is whatever the author of the contribution
    meant it to be.

    - GPLv3 does not change this spirit

    On the contrary, it advances this spirit. Given that defending
    these freedoms is the mission of the FSF, it's no surprise that it
    does revise the GPL to do it. It's not like it has a choice.

    - Tivoization reduces the incentive for contributions

    Customers of tivoized devices can't enjoy or even test the benefits
    of their modifications to the software on the device where the
    modifications would be most useful for them.

    - anti-tivoization provisions encourage tivoizers who can respect
    users' freedoms to do so

    If the choice is that or not being able to change the software for
    the user or adopting another platform, they may very well choose
    this option, and then you get not only more users and mind-share,
    but also far more contributors, and the community of developers that
    forms around the product benefits the former-tivoizer as well.

    Are these so hard to accept?

    Alexandre Oliva
    FSF Latin America Board Member
    Red Hat Compiler Engineer aoliva@{,}
    Free Software Evangelist oliva@{,}
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