Feeds

Linus, GPL 3.0 and sharks with lasers on their heads

Yeah, baby

The Power of One Infographic

Citing some James Bond analogies, Linus Torvalds has defended his objections to GPL 3.0, while holding out an olive branch to the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

Torvalds has reportedly called the first draft of the FSF's General Public License (GPL) 3.0 "unacceptable" because it limits uses for software covered by the license. Tovalds said he might shift his position on GPL 3.0, though, if the FSF makes changes to the proposed license.

In an interview with Forbes, Torvalds said what bothers him is the fact the GPL 3.0 draft moves towards "software freedom" goals. Confused?

Here's where the creator of the world's fastest growing operating system segues into James Bond territory.

"If you're a mad scientist, you can use GPLv2'd software for your evil plans to take over the world ("Sharks with lasers on their heads!!"), and the GPLv2 just says that you have to give source code back. And that's OK by me. I like sharks with lasers. I just want the mad scientists of the world to pay me back in kind."

In case you didn't know, the Linux kernel is licensed under GPL 2.0. The problem with GPL 3.0?

"You still have to give source code back, but it crimps the style of mad scientists everywhere by also putting restrictions on the use of the source code. You cannot install it on your hardware (laser-equipped shark or otherwise) without also making sure that others can install another version," according to Torvalds.

Torvalds restated his objections, aired on a Linux mailing list in January, to the FSF's concerns over digital rights management. Put simply, FSF wants to discourage use of GPL to help further DRM by vendors and end-users.

For Torvalds' though, it's a subtle difference between DRM and security systems that help protect peoples' personal information when digitzed. In other words, Torvalds is pro "software freedom of choice rather" not "software freedom." "DRM really is just technology, and like most everything else, the badness comes not from the technology, but from what you use it for," Torvalds said. [Oversimplify much? - Ed]

The DRM issue surfaced in Torvald's Janary email posting. Torvalds resisted moving the Linux kernel to GPL 3.0, saying it was 'insane" that those contributing code to the kernel would be forced to make available their private signing keys.®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
That AMAZING Windows comeback: Wow – 0.5% growth in 2015
Whoooah, my face is going all floppy with the speed
Think Google Glass is creepy? Wait until it READS YOUR MIND
Startup penetrates the mind of Glassholes
I've got 99 problems, but a Facebook boycott ain't one
If you're havin' Zuck problems, I feel bad for you son
Bezos house 'on FIRE': Amazon in-app kiddy megabuck charge storm
FTC prepares boot for firm's ass in lawsuit
Victim of Tor-hidden revenge smut site sues Tor Project developers
But EFF lawyer says deep-web team 'no more liable' than web server makers
Chrome Remote Desktop adds Linux to supported OS list
Drive Debian from the confines of a Chromebook
Google's lounge room invasion advances with Chromecast upgrade
Your tellie is about to mirror your Android
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem
Download this brochure to find five ways HP BladeSystem can optimize your business with the power of one.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.