[linux-elitists] The GPLV3 Position... (and a suggestion to Jon Corbet)

Dave Crossland dave@lab6.com
Tue Sep 26 00:41:31 PDT 2006

On 26/09/06, Greg KH <greg@kroah.com> wrote:
> using ways to keep modified kernels from running on some hardware
> is a necessary thing.

If a hardware vendor wants to ship unmodifiable software, they can not
use Free Software in the first place.

If a hardware vendor wants to ship unmodifiable Free Software, they
can do so in ROM.

> Like in medical equipment,

I can easily imagine medical equipment that is sold by an English
speaking country to a non-English speaking country that demands
pre-paid cards to use it, and running a modified kernel would be of
great interest to that country.

http://bink.nu/Article8314.bink - Microsoft annouced  pre-paid cards
to check software piracy in India

The FSF went to India and Brasil recently, indicating a lack of
euro-american-centrism typical of the IT culture and are looking at
the bigger picture: India, China, and Brasil will all come to outshine
the European and American economies.

Microsoft and co intend to have a large chunk of the market, by coming
to India with a business proposition. FOSS is essentially proposing
charity, like patronising "wind up computer for 100 dollars" that we
wouldn't use ourselves. Business presupposes a relationship more equal
than that between donor and grateful beggar, and if we can get past
that stumbling block, there is an opportunity to effect real change.

> laser controlled systems,

My response to this is similar to the above. 'ERROR: This rocket will
not fire at the people invading you that you bought it from'.

>  cell phones,

The ability to modify my phone software is a pressing need for me. As
soon as the OpenEZX project ships a 100% free software stack for
Motorola phones, I'll dump this Nokia N80.

The Legal Notices section of the N80 says it contains LGPL code, but
that doesn't help me fix dumb bugs like not being able to activate the
speakerphone until a call starts ringing.

And even though Motorola is using the Linux Kernel, well...

"the A1200 uses SELinux to lock out the users (owners!) from their own
phone ;) So we both did some further analysis, and it turned out that
Motorola had actually released the source code to their own policy
engine (MotoAC) with the A1200 kernel sources on
opensource.motorola.com, whcih is good. ... Still we didn't understand
why you would use an unmaintained, at least three years old version of
SELinux to base a forked policy engine on it - but obviously this is
the world of Free Software and everybody is allowed to make his own
 - http://planet.openezx.org/

> set top boxes and the like.

Set top boxes is why this clause is there in the first place - I
already chipped my set top box.

>  The FSF is restricting the use of GPLv3 software on these
> systems that have good reasons for not allowing modified code to be run
> on them (health, regulatory, closed networks, etc.)  So to say they are
> not restricting use is not true.

The GPL restricts use in specific ways to protect general freedom of
use. Therefore the overall effect, in a big way, is to not restrict
use. v2 is the same as v3 in this regard.

> Then the currently worded v3 draft needs to be changed to state this.
> As it is, the lawyers I have talked to state that there are big problems
> with the current wording.
> Oh well, looks like nothing is going to change here, how sad...

If those lawyers haven't taken the 30 minutes to select the exact
wording they think is problematic, and state their perceived problems
on the gplv3 site, then no, nothing is going to change :-(


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