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

Nathaniel Smith njs@pobox.com
Tue Sep 26 01:36:03 PDT 2006

On Mon, Sep 25, 2006 at 08:51:37PM -0700, Greg KH wrote:
> Unfortunately many of the Linux kernel developers
> do not share this same view and think that using ways to keep modified
> kernels from running on some hardware is a necessary thing.  Like in
> medical equipment, laser controlled systems, cell phones, set top boxes
> and the like.

I understand that for set top boxes and cell phones, there are
commercial reasons why the distributors don't want to allow the end
user freedom to modify the device, and possibly technical ones as well
(they don't want the end user attaching homebrew equipment to their
network -- putting aside for now the question of how effective this
deterrant can be).

I don't, however, know very much about the actual requirements on
"medical equipment, laser controlled systems", or even wireless
devices with FCC restrictions -- but I'd like to.  Can anyone
enlighten me?  Is it strictly necessary that the devices be as
tamper-resistant as possible?  Could one simply say "if you replace
this software then you lose your warranty/medical board safety
certification/legal right to operate?", or does something prevent
that?  How do modifications to software differ from other kinds of
modifications, like, for instance, those which involve a screwdriver?

-- Nathaniel

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