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

> On Saturday 16 June 2007 23:31:00 Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>> On Jun 17, 2007, Daniel Hazelton <> wrote:
>> > But each of those arguments is based on a technicality.
>> They're based on the Free Software definition, that establishes the
>> four freedoms that the GPL was designed to respect and defend.

> And what gives you or the FSF to define what "Free Software" is? What makes
> the definition you are using is the correct one?

Huh? Would you expect the *Free* *Software* Foundation to use the term
*Free* *Software* present in the license it wrote to mean what?

> But it doesn't matter. You're backpedalling, tossing up a smokescreen because
> you've been caught working under a double-standard.

Heh. That's hilarious.

> Nope. As I've stated before it doesn't matter that you believe it. What
> matters is that there is no single, definable "spirit" of the license.
> The "spirit" is what each person who places their work under the license
> believes it to be.

You're mixing two separate issues.

One thing is the intent behind the writing of the license. This is
what the spirit of the license is.

Another thing is how the copyright holder of a work perceived that
license, and the motivations for his choice of that license. I don't
think this has a name. Let's call this spirit of the licensing, for
the sake of the argument.

What I've been talking about is not the spirit of the licensing. I
respect that, even when I don't agree with it.

But when people claim the GPL is changing its spirit, they're accusing
the FSF of changing the spirit of the license. And this hasn't
happened. This is the point I'm standing for.

Does this clarify the issue?

>> I'm not trying to say why Linus and others chose the GPLv2.
>> I'm not trying to determine what their motivations were.
>> I'm not trying to force them to change to GPLv3.
>> I'm not trying to convince them that tivozation is a bad thing.

> But you have done this multiple times. You may not have been trying to, but
> you were.

You mean I've done all of the above multiple times? Show me?

Odds of success for the last one are pretty high, because the
discussion somehow sidetracked into that and I've probably been sloppy
about it, but as for the other points, I very much doubt it you'll
find me doing any of them. 100% sure you won't find anything about
forcing anyone to change to GPLv3.

I've just realized that "determine" above is ambiguous. I meant it as
"decide", rather than "understand". I was definitely trying to
understand their motivations, once the debate moved onto that front as

>> I'm only trying to show that anti-tivozation is in line with the
>> spirit of the GPL.

> With *YOUR* view of what the spirit is.

Why, sure. And given how close I am to the FSFs and how closely I
understand the reasoning behind the GPL, do you really think my view
does not match the intent of the FSF for the GPL?

>> tivoization, which means to restrict a user's ability to adapt the
>> software to their own needs and run it for any purpose, while the
>> hardware manufacturer keeps this to itself, is against the spirit of
>> the GPL.

> The TiVO company didn't do that. They kept the ability to *REPLACE*
> the version on the device that connects to their network to
> themselves. You have access to the source code TiVO uses, complete
> with their modifications... You can modify it in any way you choose
> *AND* you can distribute the code yourself. Hell, you can even *RUN*
> it for any purpose you want.

How is this enough to adapt the software to my needs and run it for
any purpose?

How can you possibly claim they're not imposing restrictions on my
abilities to adapt the software to my needs (freedom #1) and run the
software for any purpose (freedom #0), if that's the whole point
behind their technical measures?

>> Is the connection with the TiVo network not through some other
>> carrier too?

> But your server doesn't run the internet.

But it runs my home network, and you've connected to it. Now what?

I'm sure I'm still missing something in your characterization of the
situation about networks, but I'm not sure I care enough to pursue
this point. Feel free to drop it, I don't think it's relevant for the
discussion on whether GPLv3 changes the spirit of the GPL.

>> > The TiVO service runs as a network - and a non-public one at that. They
>> > own the network, they control what hardware and with what configurations
>> > is allowed to connect. Whats more is that they have the right to actively
>> > control that configuration.

>> As long as this doesn't violate any other laws or agreements they've
>> entered, that is. And this includes license agreements.

> And if the license doesn't explicitly state something as being a
> violation of its terms then it doesn't matter.

Not quite. Copyright licenses are to be interpreted restrictively.
Unless it states you can do something, you can't.

>> And TiVo does distribute the software. But it doesn't respect the
>> freedoms.

> I agree with you. If I buy the hardware I should have control over it -
> period. However, it is complying with the license.

>> It might as well stop distributing the software.

> I actually disagree with you. My feeling is that any exposure to open-source
> is a good thing.

Oh, but that's an option they have nevertheless. GPLv3 or not.

>> > What they don't do is allow a
>> > copy of the "covered work" to run on the hardware

>> It's not just that. They actively stop you from being able to do so.
>> They do this so as to prevent you from changing the behavior of the
>> program that runs on that box. They disrespect the freedoms to adapt
>> the program and to run it for any purpose.

> But that freedom isn't guaranteed in the license.

I see you've moved away from the spirit and back to the legal terms.
My answer to this is: maybe. There's no consensus about it. And
then, I've never claimed it was. I am not a lawyer to make such

What I've been trying to say is that disrespecting this freedom was
not in line with the spirit of the GPL, the spirit of respecting and
defending the 4 freedoms. So, when GPLv3 adds provisions to make this
practice clearly not permitted, it's not changing the spirit. And it
might not even be changing the legal effects in this regard.

> By the logic of that statement, I should be able to adapt the Linux
> Kernel to be a clone of "bc". (Well, I can, but that isn't the
> point)

You can. I can appreciate that this isn't the point, but I don't see
what the point is that you were trying to make.

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