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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "I'm damn fed up with the FSF"

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "I'm damn fed up with the FSF"
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 12:09:22 +0200

Over there on LKML... <chuckles>

Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Wed, 13 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >
> > Look, there was room for misunderstandings in earlier drafts of the
> > license.  Based on the public comments, the wording was improved.  I'd
> > like to think the issues that arose from misunderstandings of the
> > earlier drafts are no longer an issue.  Is it not so?
> No. The anti-DRM language is still there, and no, it was never a
> misunderstanding. Now it's been limited to "consumer devices" (after I
> pointed out some of the _obvious_ problems with the original language),
> and the only people who called anything a "misunderstanding" were the ones
> that tried to point to *other* points in the license altogether (ie there
> was also a "drm section", which didn't really seem to say anything much at
> all).
> Rms calls it "tivoization", but that's a word he has made up, and a term I
> find offensive, so I don't choose to use it. It's offensive because Tivo
> never did anything wrong, and the FSF even acknowledged that. The fact
> that they do their hardware and have some DRM issues with the content
> producers and thus want to protect the integrity of that hardware.
> The kernel license covers the *kernel*. It does not cover boot loaders and
> hardware, and as far as I'm concerned, people who make their own hardware
> can design them any which way they want. Whether that means "booting only
> a specific kernel" or "sharks with lasers", I don't care.
> > Keeping on making false claims about the license drafts can be one of
> > two things: misunderstandings, out of ambiguity in the text or
> > preconceptions, or ill intentions.  I'd rather believe it's the
> > former.
> No, it was not the former. And I think the whole "the kernel developers
> misunderstand the license" crap that the FSF was saying (several times)
> was very trying to confuse the issue: the FSF knew damn well which part of
> the license was obnoxious, they just tried to confuse the issue by
> pointing to *another* part of the license.
> And you're just parrotting their idiotic line.
> > Now, of course you can look at the licenses and decide that you never
> > agreed with the spirit of the GPL in the first place, and that GPLv2
> > models better your intentions than GPLv3.
> And this is again the same *disease*. You claim that I "misunderstood" the
> "spirit of the GPL".
> Dammit, the GPL is a license. I understand it quite well. Probably better
> than most. The fact that the FSF then noticed that there were *other*
> things that they wanted to do, and that were *not* covered by the GPLv2,
> does *not* mean that they can claim that others "misunderstood" the
> license.
> I understood it perfectly fine, and it fit my needs. So tell me: who is
> the more confused one: the one who chose the license fifteen years ago,
> and realized what it means legally, and still stands behind it? I don't
> think so.
> > Your assessment about sharing of code between Linux and OpenSolaris
> > very much makes it seem like that the spirit of sharing, of letting
> > others run, study, modify and share the code as long as they respect
> > others' freedoms, has never been what moved you.  Rather, you seem to
> > perceive the GPL as demanding some form of payback, of contribution,
> > rather than the respect for others' freedoms that it requires.  In
> > fact, you said something along these lines yourself many months ago.
> I have said *exactly* that many many times.
> The beauty of the GPLv2 is exactly that it's a "tit-for-tat" license, and
> you can use it without having to drink the kool-aid.
> I've said that over and over again. It's the "spirit of the GPLv2". It's
> what has made it such a great license, that lots of people (and companies)
> can use, is very fundamentally that it's fair.
> The fact that the FSF sees *another* spirit to it is absolutely not a
> reason to say that I'm "confused". Quite frankly, apparently I'm _less_
> confused than they are, since I saw the GPLv2 for what it was, and they
> did not - and as a result they felt they needed to extend upon it, because
> the license didn't actually match what they thought it would do.
> > In fact, the spirit has always been described in its preamble, and it
> > didn't change at all: it's all about respecting others' freedoms.
> That's a lot of bullshit. You are apparently the grand poobah, and can
> decide _which_ freedoms and for _what_ others' that matter.
> I respect peoples freedoms too. I just disagree with the FSF on what that
> slippery word means.
> The fact that you are unable to even apparently fathom this fundamental
> issue, and that the FSF thinks that they own the definition of "freedom"
> is _your_ problem.
> You're acting like some Alice-in-Wonderland character, saying that your
> definition of words is the only one that matter. And that others are
> "confused". Read up on your humpty-dumpty some day.
> I'm damn fed up with the FSF being the "protector of freedoms", and also
> feeling that they can define what those freedoms mean.
> The GPLv2 is a *legal*license*. And no, the FSF doesn't get to define what
> the words mean to suit their agenda.
>                 Linus

Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Wed, 13 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >
> >   [...] Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have
> >   the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
> >   this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get
> >   it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of
> >   it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
> >
> >   To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid
> >   anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the
> >   rights.  These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities
> >   for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify
> >   it.
> >
> >   [...] if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or
> >   for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have
> >
> >
> > Can anyone show me how any of the provisions of GPLv3 fails to meet
> > this spirit?
> What kind of logic is that? It sounds like "Can you prove that God doesn't
> exist?"
> The fact is, Tivo didn't take those rights away from you, yet the FSF says
> that what Tivo did was "against the spirit". That's *bullshit*.
> So the whole "to protect these rights, we take away other rigths" argument
> hinges on the false premise that the new language in GPLv3 is somehow
> needed. It's not. You still had the right to distribute the software (and
> modify it), even if the *hardware* is limited to only one version.
> In other words, GPLv3 restricts rights that do not need to be restricted,
> and yes, I think that violates the spirit of the GPLv2 preamble!
> Think of it this way: what if the GPLv3 had an addition saying "You can
> not use this software to make a weapon". Do you see the problem? It
> restricts peoples rights, would you agree? Would you _also_ agree that it
> doesn't actually follow that "To protect your rights" logic AT ALL?
> And this is exactly where the GPLv3 *diverges* from the above logic. If I
> build hardware, and sell it with software installed, you can still copy
> and modify the software. You may not do so within the confines of the
> hardware I built, but the hardware was never under the license in the
> first place.
> In other words, GPLv3 *restricts* peoples freedoms more than it protects
> them. It does *not* cause any additional stated freedoms - quite the
> reverse. It tries to free up stuff that was never mentioned in the first
> place.
> And then the FSF has the gall to call themselves the "protector of
> freedoms", and claim that everybody else is evil. What a crock.
> In other words, if you want to argue for the changes in GPLv3, you need to
> CHANGE THE PREAMBLE TOO! You should change:
>         When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
>         price.  Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you
>         have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for
>         this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it
>         if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it
>         in new free programs, that you can do so in place on your devices,
>         even if those devices weren't licensed under the GPL;  and that
>         you know you can do these things.
> where I added the "that you can do so in place on your devices, even if
> those devices weren't licensed under the GPL".
> That wasn't there in the original. Yet it's what the GPLv3 tries to shove
> down our throats in the name of "freedom".
> I don't know if you've followed US politics very much over the last six
> years, but there's been a lot of "protecting our freedoms" going on. And
> it's been ugly. Maybe you could realize that sometimes "protecting your
> freedom" is *anything*but*!
>                 Linus

Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Wed, 13 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >
> > So, TiVo includes a copy of Linux in its DVR.
> Stop right there.
> You seem to make the mistake to think that software is something physical.
> > TiVo retains the right to modify that copy of Linux as it sees fit.
> No. If you were logical (which you are not), you would admit that
>  (a) physical property is very different from intellectual property (the
>      FSF seems to admit that when it suits their needs, not otherwise)
>  (b) They never modified "a copy" of Linux - they simply replaced it with
>      "another copy" of Linux. The only thing that actually got *modified*
>      was their hardware!
> The first copy didn't "morph" into a second copy. There was no "physical"
> software that was molded.  They do need to follow the GPLv2, since clearly
> they _do_ distribute Linux, but you have all the same rights as they do
> with regard to the *software*.
> The fact that they maintained some control of the *hardware* (and some
> software they wrote too) they designed is _their_ choice.
> What Tivo did and do, is to distribute hardware that can *contain* a copy
> of Linux (or just about anything else, for that matter - again, there's
> a difference between physical and intellectual property).
> And their hardware (and firmware) will run some integrity checks on
> *whatever* copies of software they have.  This is all totally outside
> Linux itself.
> Btw, according to your _insane_ notion of "a copy" of software, you can
> never distribute GPL'd software on a CD-ROM, since you've taken away the
> right of people to modify that CD-ROM by burning and fixating it. So
> according to your (obvously incorrect) reading of the GPLv2, every time
> Red Hat sends anybody a CD-ROM, they have restricted peoples right to
> modify the software on that CD-ROM bymaking it write-only.
> See? Your reading of the license doesn't _work_. Mine does. What I say is
> that when you distribute software, you don't distribute "a copy" of
> software, you distribute the _information_ about the software, so that
> others can take it and modify it. And notice? My reading of the license
> must be the correct one, since my reading actually makes sense, unlike
> yours.
> And yes, when Tivo distributes Linux, they give everybody else all the
> same rights they have - with respect to Linux! No, not with respect to
> their hardware, but that's a totally different thing, and if you cannot
> wrap your mind around the difference between "the software that is on a
> CD" and the "piece of plastic that is the CD", and see that when you
> replace "CD" with any other medium, the equation doesn't change, I don't
> know what to say.
> > It doesn't give the recipients the same right.
> >
> > Oops.
> >
> > Sounds like a violation of the spirit to me.
> Only if you extend the license to the *hardware*. Oops. Which it never did
> before.
> In other words, you basically try to change the rules. The GPLv2 clearly
> states that it's about software, not hardware. All the language you quoted
> talks about software.
> In other words, the only way to argue that I'm wrong is to try to twist
> the meanings of the words, and say that words only mean one specific thing
> that _you_ claim are their meaning.
> And I'm saying you act like Humpty Dumpty when you do. You can argue that
> way all you like, but your argument is nonsensical. It's akin to the
> argument that "God is perfect. Perfect implies existence. Therefore God
> exists".
> That kind of argument only works if you *define* the words to suit your
> argument. But it's a logical fallacy.
> And I'm saying that the GPLv2 can mroe straightforwardly be read the way I
> read it - to talk about software, and to realize that software is not "a
> copy", it's a more abstract thing. You get Linux when you buy a Tivo (or
> preferably - don't buy it, since you don't like it), and that means that
> they have to give you access to and control over the SOFTWARE. But nowhere
> in the GPL (in the preamble or anywhere else) does it talk about giving
> you control over the HARDWARE, and the only way you can twist the GPLv2 to
> say that is by trying to re-define what the words mean.
> And then you call *me* confused? After you yourself admitted that the FSF
> actually agrees with me, and that what Tivo did was not a license
> violation?
> Trust me, I'm not the confused person here.
> I'm perfectly fine with other people wanting to extend the license to
> cover the hardware, but I am *not* perfectly fine with people then trying
> to claim I'm confused just because I don't agree with them.
> Face it: the GPLv3 is a _new_ license. Making funamentally _different_ and
> _new_ restrictions that do not exist in the GPLv2, and do not exist in the
> preamble. Any language attempts to make it appear otherwise are just
> sophistry.
> And btw, just to make it clear: as far as I'm concerned, you can read the
> preamble and the word "freedom" and "rigths" _your_ way. I'm not objecting
> to that at all. If you read it so that you think it's wrong to distribute
> GPL'd software on a CD-ROM, that's really not my problem. You do whatever
> you want to, and think the license means whatever you want to.
> What I'm objecting to is how you claim that anybody that doesn't follow
> your interpretation is "confused". When clearly even the FSF lawyers agree
> that my interpretation was _correct_, and I don't think your
> interpretation even makes sense!
>                         Linus

Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Adrian Bunk wrote:
> >
> > "For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code
> > for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition
> > files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of
> > the executable."
> >
> > The question is whether this includes private keys.
> No. That's the question as the FSF would like to frame it.
> But the real fact is that it *not* the right question.
> You can install Linux on a Tivo all you like. Take out the harddisk,
> install your own version of Linux on it, and put it back in. That's pretty
> much how Tivo installs Linux on the things too, afaik, although they don't
> need to take the disk out (since they just assemble it).
> No magic needed. In fact, no keys needed.
> Now, maybe the hardware/firmware knows to expect a certain SHA1 on that
> disk, that's a different issue. Tivo could even tell you exactly what the
> SHA1 they are checking is. Maybe they have a list of SHA1's, and maybe
> they have a way to upgrade THEIR OWN FIRMWARE with new SHA1's, and they
> could still tell you all of them, and be very open.
> And you could actually replace their copy of Linux with another one. It
> would have to have the same SHA1 to actually start _running_, but that's
> the hardware's choice.
> See? No private keys needed. No magic install scripts. It really _is_ that
> easy.
> Of course, using private keys, and signing the image with them is possibly
> a technically more flexible/easier/more obvious way to do it, but in the
> end, do you really want to argue technical details?
> But I think the whole thing is totally misguided, because the fact is, the
> GPLv2 doesn't talk about "in place" or "on the same hardware".
> So take another example: I obviously distribute code that is copyrighted
> by others under the GPLv2. Do I follow the GPLv2? I sure as hell do! But
> do I give you the same rights as I have to modify the copy on
> as I have? I sure as hell DO NOT!
> So by the idiotic logic of "modifying in place", I'm violating the GPLv2
> every time I'm makign a release - because I make Linux available, but I
> don't actually give people the "same rights" to that particular copy that
> I have! Oh horrors of horrors! You need to make a _copy_ of the thing I
> distribute, and then you have the same rights I have to that _copy_, but
> you never had the same rights to the thing I actually distributed!
> And here's a big clue for people: anybody who thinks that I'm violating
> the GPLv2 by not giving out my private SSH key to is a
> f*cking moron! You have the right to modify *copies* of the kernel I
> distribute, but you cannot actually modify the _actual_ entity that I made
> available!
> See any parallels here? Any parallel to a CD-ROM distribution, or a Tivo
> distribution? The rights that the GPLv2 gives to "the software", is to
> something much bigger than "the particular copy of the software".
> Can people really not see the difference between "the software" and "a
> particular encoded copy of the software"?
> I'm sorry, but people who cannot see that difference are just stupid.
>                         Linus


"Live cheaply," he said, offering some free advice. "Don't buy a house,
a car or have children. The problem is they're expensive and you have
to spend all your time making money to pay for them."

        -- Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman: 'Live Cheaply'

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