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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "Ceterum censeo, GPLv3 esse delend

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "Ceterum censeo, GPLv3 esse delendam"
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 14:15:22 +0200

In comments to
(FSF Responds to Misunderstandings about GPLv3)

Weasel-wording, part deux

Authored by: Linus on Tuesday, September 26 2006 @ 02:00 AM EDT

    Is not the TIVO distributing under the GPL 2 restricting my 'use'?

Yes, Tivo is restricting your use, but the license is not.

The discussion was a discussion of differences between the GPLv2 and the
GPLv3. Not about differences between Tivo and the GPL. It's undeniable
that Tivo is different from the GPL (either v2 or v3 ;^).

Also, note that Tivo restricts not Linux itself, but just the hardware
they designed and built. You can very much take Linux out of the
hardware, and use it any way you want to - it's just that the hardware
only likes images that have been "blessed" by Tivo.

So to recap, you (and the FSF - you're in good company) are just
confusing the issues:
# The way the license restricts how you can use a program
# vs, for example, the way the hardware restricts how you can use it.

All hardware by definition "restricts" how you can use your software in
some ways. If it's a cellphone that only runs at 100MHz? That
"restricts" its performance, and since it only has 16MB of flash, it
restricts what you can put on it. But also, since the FCC has various
legal regulations, it probably also restricts how much power you can use
to send your messages.

See? There's an absolutely huge difference between "restrictions of the
hardware (or environment)" (which can be both inherent in the hardware
itself, or self-imposed by the hardware manufacturers) and "restrictions
on usage of the software imposed by a license".

The two are totally different issues. One is a very "ephemeral" thing,
and is not really connected to the software itself - it's connected to
practical concerns of the day. Those practical concerns are sometimes
purely technical ("2GHz CPU frequency"), but quite often they are also
just design decisions ("broken BIOS from stupid vendor" or "limited
power output due to FCC regulations" or "big Disney wants us to design
our hardware this way").

The other (the long-term development of the software) is limited purely
by your imagination. Unless you have a license that limits you.

The GPLv2 doesn't really restrict any usage. That does not mean that a
GPLv2 program always does everything you wish it would do. Sometimes
programmers aren't good enough, and sometimes the hardware is limited,
and yet other times you might be limited by issues like the box admin
just not allowing you to do certain things. Or maybe the things you want
to do are simply illegal. So you may be limited in a lot of different
ways - but it's never the GPLv2 itself that limits what you can do.

Maybe this explains why I find the GPLv3 a lot more odious than I have
ever found Tivo. What Tivo does in no way actually fundamentally
restricts anything I can ever do with Linux. In contrast, if Linux was
under the GPLv3, that very fact would restrict me much more than Tivo
ever could!

Ergo: GPLv3 is actively (and fundamentally) much worse than the thing it
tries to protect against, and I refuse to touch it with a ten-foot pole!

Ceterum censeo, GPLv3 esse delendam.



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