[linux-elitists] PengPod engineers for a new project

David Edmondson dme at dme.org
Mon Sep 2 02:35:00 PDT 2013

Sorry for the long delay, I was on holiday.

On Thu, Aug 08 2013, Greg KH wrote:
> On Thu, Aug 08, 2013 at 11:40:17AM +0100, David Edmondson wrote:
>> On Thu, Aug 08 2013, Greg KH wrote:
>> > Linux will "win completely", and by doing so we have done something that
>> > no one else has ever done, in a way of doing it that has never been done
>> > before, and in a way that only a very few could have guessed would be
>> > possible[1].
>> Agreed. I certainly would not have anticipated the speed and extent of
>> its' success. It is the best of times.
> "speed"?  20 years isn't exactly fast :)

It seems like only yesterday that I booted the Linux kernel from a
floppy disk (no hard disk support), was dumped at a shell prompt (no
login) and fired up KA9Q to connect to a remote system using an external
modem (no kernel TCP/IP stack).

>> Linus chose a specific license, presumably with specific intent.
> And what was that intent?

I cannot know with any certainty, and am not in as good a position as
yourself to know with any confidence, but[1] I hope that it was with the
intention that the software be shared in accordance with both the terms
and spirit of the license.

>> That license includes various clauses intended to promote particular
>> behaviour and provide certain guarantees. Doesn't that license provide
>> various freedoms?
> And how has that license prevented any of those "freedoms"?

It has not.

> What has changed since the creation of the kernel that has prevented any
> of these "freedoms"?

The careful creation of software, software licenses and businesses
around the kernel that don't share the same terms or spirit.

> Remember, the FSF was the one that _approved_ Tivo's usage of signed
> bootloaders to lock down the kernel to a specific version in the
> machine as a valid interpretation of GPLv2.  So you can't complain about
> that, as you will be arguing against the creator of the license.

That's allowed, right? :-)

>> As for the worst of times, Jason described a possible scenario:
>>    As to predicting the long term, I suppose it depends on whether you
>>    think what we today call phones and tablets, and the operating
>>    systems running on them, will ultimately displace desktop machines as
>>    traditionally understood.
>> Those devices (phones and tablets) are often built in a way that is
>> restrictive - closed components, hidden software, etc.
> And what does that have to do with Linux?

The devices are described as "Linux devices", but include many
components which do not share the same license or source code

> I understand some people's annoyance at this type of thing, but Linux
> does not impose "usage restrictions" on devices.  To do so would be a
> violation of another type of "freedom", don't you agree?

Of course - (almost?) any freedom that might be granted can be phrased
as a restriction on some other freedom.

From reading your comments I realise that I used (and have generally
been using) the term "Linux" in a sloppy way - to mean something more
that the kernel. It's a mistake to do so in such discussions.

[1]  "I have no firm basis on which to make a statement, but will do so
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