GPLv3: What the Hackers Said (Update)

When I wrote about the wrangling over the GNU GPLv3 licence a month back, it provoked a lively conversation in the comments. Given this evident passion among readers, I thought it would be interesting to ask the top hackers - the ones actually involved in the discussions - for their thoughts on the matter. So I contacted Richard Stallman for the FSF angle, and a bunch of the top kernel hackers - Linus, Alan Cox, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Andrew Morton and Dave Miller - for their view.

Since these people are all pretty busy, I didn't expect much of a response - the odd line here or there if I was lucky. But I was wrong: they all responded generously, with fascinating comments and insights into the GPLv3 and related issues. In fact, their replies were so detailed that they are too long to print here in full. Instead, I've pulled out what seemed to me some of the key points each was making (for the kernel coders, I've followed the order adopted in the GPLv3 poll). If you want the full story, I've put Richard Stallman's detailed thoughts, and the collected wisdom of the Linux hackers, online elsewhere, with individual links in each section below.

Richard Stallman

The purpose of the GNU GPL is to defend for all users the freedoms that define free software. It doesn't make sense in terms of open source. It's the result of implementing the philosophy of free software in the most strong way that we can. So all the version of the GPL have prevented middlemen from restricting subsequent users by changing the licence. Some free software licences permit that, for example the X11 licence permits that. The various BSD licences permit that. But the GPL was specifically designed not to permit that - you cannot add restrictions making the program non free.

Now, what we didn't have 15 years ago was the threat of making the program effectively non free by technical restrictions placed around it. That's what Tivoisation is. Tivoisation means taking a free program and distributing a binary of it, and also providing the source, because the GPL requires that. But when the user changes the source code and compiles it and then tries to install the changed program he discovers that that's impossible because the machine is designed not to let him.

The result of this is that freedom number 1, the freedom to study the source code and change it so the program does what you want, has become a sham. Tivoisation is essentially a way to formally comply with the requirement, but not in substance.

So we've come to the conclusion that this is more than just a minor issue. That this will be common, probably the usual case, if we don't do something to stop it. And therefore we've decided to do what is necessary so that our software will not be Tivoised. Our purpose is to deliver freedom to the user. (more)

Linus Torvalds

I don't think there will necessarily be a lot of _practical_ fallout from it, so in that sense it probably doesn't matter all that much. It's not like we haven't had license "discussions" before (the whole BSD vs GPL flame-war seemed to go on for years back in the early nineties). And in many ways, it's not like the actual split between the "Open Source" and the "Free Software" mentality is in any way new, or even brought about by the GPLv3 license.

So while I think there is still a (admittedly pretty remote) chance of some kind of agreement, I don't think that it's a disaster if we end up with a GPLv2 and a new and incompatible GPLv3. It's not like we haven't had licenses before either, and most of them haven't been compatible.

In some ways, I can even hope that it clears the air for all the stupid tensions to just admit that there are differences of opinion, and that the FSF might even just stop using the name "GNU/Linux", finally admitting that Linux never was a GNU project in the first place.

The real downside, I suspect, is just the confusion by yet another incompatible license - and one that shares the same name (licenses such as OSL and GPL were both open source licenses and they were incompatible with each other, but at least they had clear differentiation in their names). (more)

Alan Cox

There is no such thing as GNU/Linux. For an article like this it's really important to understand and clarify that (and from the US view also as a trademark matter).

I mean there is no abstract entity even that is properly called "GNU/Linux". It's a bit of spin-doctoring by the FSF to try and link themselves to Linux. Normally its just one of those things they do and people sigh about, but when you look at the licensing debate the distinction is vital. (its also increasingly true that FSF owned code is a minority part of Linux)

Linux is not and never has been an FSF project. I would say the majority of the kernel developers don't buy the FSF political agenda. Linus likewise chose the license for the pragmatic reason it was a good license for the OS, not because he supported the GNU manifesto.

Thus this isn't about the Linux people splitting from the FSF, its a separate project that happens to have been consulted as to whether it would like to use a new, allegedly better, variant of the license it chose.

Linux does use FSF tools but that doesn't make it a GNU project any more than this article will be an IBM project because it was typed on a PC, or a BT project because it used an ADSL line.

The Linux kernel being GPLv2 isn't a problem we can see for the future. It is a distinct work to the applications that run on it, just as Windows kernel is to Windows applications. The more awkward corner cases will be LGPL and similar licenses where you want the benefits and flexibility. The FSF have indicated they understand that and will ensure it works out. The licenses are about having barriers to abuse, not barriers to use. (more)

Greg Kroah-Hartman

The process is not over, and we still hope to influence things. We would not have written that letter otherwise. The main reason it was not done earlier is that we just did not think it was going to be a problem, as the kernel was not going to change licenses. But the more that we realized this was going to have a problem outside of just the kernel, and affect the whole community, we felt that we should at least voice our opinions.

Also, please note that the DRM issues have changed over time from being very broad (which was at least admirable), to being explicitly targeted at only the Linux kernel. Now the license is worded to try to stop the "tivoization" issue.

This is the where a bootloader or bios determines if the crypto signature of the kernel is acceptable or not before it decides to run it or not. This means that only "approved" kernels that come from the company will run properly on the hardware.

Now this kind of restriction pretty much _only_ affects the kernel, not any other type of program. This is because only if you can control the kernel can you ensure that the system is "secure".

So it seems that the FSF is only targeting the Tivo issue, which us kernel developers have explicitly stated in public that it is acceptable to use _our_ code in this manner. So they are now trying to tell another group (us) what we should do to our code.

As the FSF has no contribution in the Linux kernel, and has nothing to do with it in general, we kernel developers are now a bit upset that someone else is trying to tell us that something we explicitly stated was acceptable use of our code, is suddenly bad and wrong. (more)

Andrew Morton

Well gee. We're programmers and we spend our time programming, not swanning around at meetings talking about legal matters and playing politics. We find things like licensing to be rather a distraction, and dull. So most people largely ignored it all.

It was only later in the process when the thing started to take shape, when we saw where it was headed and when we began to hear the concerns of various affected parties that there was sufficient motivation to get involved.

In fact this points at a broad problem with the existing process: I'm sure that a large majority of the people who actually write this code haven't made their opinions felt to the FSF. Yet the FSF presumes to speak for them, and proposes to use their work as ammunition in the FSF's campaigns.

And why haven't these programmers made their opinions known? Some are busy. Many work for overlawyered companies and are afraid that they might be seen to be speaking for their companies. Some don't speak English very well. Almost all of them find it to be rather dull and a distraction. (more)

Dave Miller

For the kernel I'm pretty sure things will go on as they have before.

The problems are most likely for the projects under the GNU Project umbrella. All the copyrights to those projects, such as GCC, Binutils, etc. are all assigned to the GNU Project. So the FSF could, and almost certainly will, make all of those projects use the GPL v3.

As an aside, I will note that originally the FSF used to say that they wanted copyright assigned to them "to make it easier to enforce the GPL in court for software projects under the GNU Project umbrella." But as is clear today, it's also a power thing, in that having all the copyrights assigned to them allows the FSF to choose the licensing of the code as they see fit since they are the copyright holder of the complete work.

At the point of a relicense to GPL v3 for these GNU Project source trees one of two things could happen. Either the developers are OK with this, even if to simply "grin and bear it" and things go on under GPL v3. Or, the developers are unhappy with this, and fork off a GPL v2 copy of the tree and do development there.

In the end, even though they've assigned their copyrights to the FSF, the developers do control the ultimate licensing of these GNU projects. If they don't like GPL v3 and work on the GPL v2 fork instead, the FSF is at a loss because while they can mandate whatever they like such mandates are useless if the developers don't want to contribute to the GPL v3 variant.

So being the ones who do the development work is actually a kind of power which permeates through all of the politics. If the political folks do something stupid, the developers can just take their talent and efforts elsewhere.

I'm more than familiar with this process, since I was part of the group that forked the GCC compiler project many years ago because the majority of the GCC developers found the head maintainer (Richard Kenner) impossible to work with. Although he was quite upset about it, there wasn't much that Richard Stallman and the FSF could do about it. In the end the fork became the "real GCC" under GNU Project umbrella once more.

So the opinion of the developers matters a lot, especially when it comes to licensing. It could get messy is a lot of these projects fork, but the GPL v3 isn't a done deal yet so the FSF still has time to fix things up and make it more palatable to people. (more)

Glyn Moody writes about free software and open source at opendotdotdot.

Update

Further to the interview I conducted with him, Richard Stallman has offered the following comment.

While I addressed the topic you proposed--version 3 of the GNU General Public License--Alan Cox chose instead to present a misleading picture of the history of GNU and Linux.

The GNU/Linux system comes out of the effort that I began in 1983 to develop a complete free Unix-like system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system that was developed specifically to respect computer users' freedom. Since our goal was to achieve freedom as soon as possible, we utilized the scattered existing free software packages that would fit. That still left most of the components for us to write. In those years, we of the GNU Project systematically developed the essential components of this system, plus many other desirable components, ranging from libraries to text editors to games.

In 1991, Linus Torvalds developed a kernel called Linux--initially not free software, but he freed it in 1992. At that time, the GNU system was complete except for a kernel. The combination of Linux and the GNU system was the first complete free operating system. That combination is GNU/Linux.

Cox says that Linux is not part of the GNU Project. That is true--of the kernel, Linux, that he and Torvalds have worked on. But the combined system that Cox calls "Linux" is more our work than his.

When Cox says that "FSF-copyrighted code is a minority in [GNU/Linux]", that too is misleading; he knows that just a fraction of the GNU packages' code is copyright FSF. What part do GNU packages compose in the whole system? Many are just as essential as Linux is.

In 1995, GNU packages were 28% of the system, while Linux was 3%. 28% is less than half, so that was a minority; but it is a lot more than 3%. Nowadays, after thousands of other groups have added to the system, both the GNU and Linux percentages are smaller than before; but no other project has contributed as much as the GNU Project.

Calling the combined system GNU/Linux is right because it gives the GNU Project credit for its work, but there are things more important than credit -- your freedom, for example. It is no accident that the GNU GPL existed before Linux was begun. We wrote the GPL to protect the freedom of the users of GNU, and we are revising it today so that it will protect against newer technical methods of denying that freedom. When you think about GPL issues, this is the background for them.

If the developers of Linux disagree with that goal, they are entitled to their views. They are entitled to cite their important work--Linux, the kernel--to be listened to more, but they should respect our right to cite the GNU system in the same way.

See http://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.html for more explanation.

______________________

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its really a nice post and

lara.smith's picture

its really a nice post and very informative...
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All for free software

Yeast Infection's picture

I use free software all the time but what on earth FSF doing?

Stallman and GNU/Linux

Connelly Barnes's picture

The word "Linux" is defined by "Computer Desktop Encyclopedia" and "Tech Encyclopedia" as an operating system. Stallman appears to wish to twist the popular definition of Linux around to only refer to the kernel. However, his argument isn't really plausible because "Linux" almost always refers to the entire operating system, and the suffix "kernel" is necessary to distinguish the kernel part of Linux from the aggregate operating system.

Using the public's definitions, Stallman would be most correct to say, "GNU/Linux kernel/packages." He would also be correct to say, "Linux." He would not be correct to say, "GNU/Linux." But wait, these terms don't send the right ideological message to the public. And the public doesn't want to use Stallman's definitions because the public already has a useful definition. What can be done? Perhaps Stallman can try to manipulate the situation.

I've heard that Stallman refuses to talk with people if they do not use the phrase "GNU/Linux." This seems like an extremely manipulative position to take, especially since the conjunction of these two words is actively wrong given popular definitions. That is, Stallman actively forces his ideology on any one who wishes to talk with him by manifestly using words incorrectly. I'd much prefer that he invent a new phrase rather than confusing people by producing endless arguments and manipulative attitudes towards definitions. This is certainly not worthy of any one who is promoting free software, and decreases my respect for him.

Richard Stallman is correct

coolblue's picture

Richard Stallman is correct - what is now called "Linux", the OS, needs to be protected by a newer GPL, just as future developments do.

Free software is free, in all ways: freedom to change the cource code; freedom to install it on any system; freedom to use it, for free. Without RS, GNU, and the GPL we probably wouldn't have "Linux" the OS that we now have.

Just look at the way the restrictive M$ Windoze is going, and other non-free software, with them having to be "activated" and with the possibility your system will be closed-down if this fails.

It's seems such a shame that some of the developers don't see the real important issues involved - the issues of keeping our software really free, in all ways. If they did, they'd be none of this argument over GPL3.

Do they - and we - want free software, or not? For in the end it really is about the philosophy of free software, and surely it's about time we understood this.

GPL V3

pdof3's picture

You know, I am all for free software. However, I think the FSF is crossing the line with GPL V3.

I do not believe a software developer has the right to tell others that use the software exactly how they can use it.

I believe those rights end with the request that they always keep the source code available and any work based on his or her work open source as well.

I believe that if a company wants to use open source software in its physical product said company's obligation to the author of the code ends with the making the source code available to its users. I do not believe that the original author of the program has or should have the right to tell the company how they have to create its hardware simply to be able to use said program. The program's author only has the right to control his or her program not other people's work.

This post ignores the end

Anonymous's picture

This post ignores the end user/buyer completely. The reason RMS started the FSF, is because he, the buyer, couldn't fix the bugy code in the printer(s) that he onwed. So, while the GPL does protect the author of the code too, the FSF has always been concerned about the buyer/user of the software. As the product buyer, I haven't really bought much freedom by buying a product with free source code, if I still have no way to use the source code.

This article really pinned down the problem in my mind. The kernel developers (or at leats the controling few) don't care if their code is restricted that way. Now the discussion can morf into why did Linus go with the GPLv2 versus a BSD style license. Just what does he care about when it comes to the kernel source code?

As I have already had one

pdof3's picture

As I have already had one lengthy conversation about this further down in this thread I think I will respond with simply this.

At the core we most likely believe almost the same thing. However, on the outside we are looking at two different pictures. What is most important to you is the morality of the issue. For myself, the most important thing is how far and widespread Linux can become. Maybe even large enough to unseat Windows one day. A dream I know but it will surely never happen if it uses restrictions such as those in the GPL V3. Perhaps if we lived in a perfect world in which everyone actually did unto others as they would have done unto themselves. But, we don't, and I don't see that perfect world coming about anytime in the near future.

As it is money is the ruling party of the world we live in. People, especially those in business don't care about what may be right and fair to their customers. They care about how much money they can make. You may argue that you make more money by getting loyal customers with the truth and treating them fairly and just. Well not in this world. Take Microsoft for example. I don't believe they have ever treated their customers, or anyone for that matter, fairly, justly or right. Yet somehow they have managed to become one of the largest and richest companies in the world.

You see, most customers don't know if they are being treated fairly, or are even being told the truth for that matter. People are like sheep. They go where ever they are lead. You may think this a harsh view of life. It isn't. Just take a look at history.

Almost agree

Nicholas Petreley's picture

People, especially those in business don't care about what may be right and fair to their customers. They care about how much money they can make. You may argue that you make more money by getting loyal customers with the truth and treating them fairly and just. Well not in this world.

I agree that there are many businesses like this, but I don't take such a dim view of business in general. I think there are businesses that do make their customers a high priority, and are even willing to lose some money in the process. Maybe they don't want to lose enough so they can't sustain their business, but I don't think it's always profits first, customers last (or anywhere inbetween).

Richard Stallman's printer problem could just as easily have been solved if the company cared enough to provide a good, working driver for the printer. It's not as black-and-white as "if it's not open source, then the company doesn't care and is immoral."

TiVo makes a fantastic product, in my opinion. I don't believe TiVo locked its code in order to hurt users. In fact, I'm willing to bet well over 99% of its customers couldn't possibly care less that they can't run a modified version of the source code on the same box. It's a pity that they've been singled out as the poster child for why GPLv3 must exist.

If any TiVo customers are unhappy about anything, it's probably because of how TiVo was basically forced by DCMA to implement DRM which affects fair use. IMO, the answer to that is to fight DCMA, not to invent a new license that, if adopted, would simply force companies like TiVo to use some other operating system.

Exactly! Or at least modify

Anonymous's picture

I agree. And why can't the GPL be modified to allow a clause for companies like Tivo who are required by law to apply these limitations. If they law requires them to do it, then they either have to break the law or rewrite everything and use a different operating system.

Why should there be any particular guarantee that code will run on a particular set of hardware anyway?

What everyone should know about Richard Stallman

da truth's picture

http://rixstep.com/1/20061016,00.shtml

lots of other great info there as well.

I have a house to sell....

Anonymous's picture

Ah! I have a house to sell - but I will not give the buyer the keys. Additionally, I have installed smart cameras that detect when the new "owner" attempts to "smuggle" in some paint to change the color of any part of the house, he/she will be locked out and denied access to the house.

Does any one want to buy this house? I suspect most of the kernel developers would love this house. So I'm going to build a whole colony of them and sell it to them!

I'm sure, after reading your post, you'd like one too!

Re: I have a house to sell...

Anonymous's picture

Yes, you get the picture although I would not go so far as to say what color your house can be (there are neighborhoods that will not allow you to paint your house any color) but you cannot add to your house without the proper approvals (probably something to do with structural integrity) and you cannot add high voltage wiring in your house as you see fit. Oh, and no, you cannot add natural gas pipes anywhere you want to. Don't forget you cannot raise chickens unless you are properly zoned (or other farm animals for that matter) and there are restrictions as to how many pets you can have in your home. Lets even go to the extreme and say that the state has the right to condem your property and force you to sell it. You see, there are restrictions to even that piece of property you call your castle.

The kernel developers licensed their code as they did. The companies that use their code do so by fulfilling the agreement to the license. I have no problems paying people for the hard work they do even if that means buying a 'locked' system. I also have no problems volunteering my time to put forth hard work at no cost.

Your house.

pdof3's picture

Ok, I would assume then the house is TiVo and the keys are the information required to upload the modified code into the machine.

I am all for free software, but the thing is I don't believe the author of the code has the right to tell TiVo how to use said code as long as TiVo makes the source and any changes freely available. TiVo in no way hindered the use of the program within its hardware. Anyone who buys a TiVo has every right to change the source and make his or her own hardware box to upload it to. They could then if they so wished mass market this new box they made and sell it to the masses.

Taking TiVo for example again; if you don't like what TiVo has done make your own TiVo box, upload your modified code and don't restrict users from modifying the code and uploading back up into your box.

However, before you do consider this. Customer buys your box, calls in wanting their money back. They are irate and angry. They threaten to write letters to major newspapers about how horrible your product is, and end up doing so. After a while you give them a refund to put a stop to it if they return the box. When you get the box back you find out they had problems because they altered the code.

Or maybe you refuse to give them a refund because they messed with the code and then they write the major papers because you can't help them fix the problem he or she created. After all it would cost you to much money to help every moron that messed the code up and uploaded it.

Basically TiVo has the right to protect itself from such situations. And as I said they in no way hinder you from getting the source of the program and using it in your own box.

DCMA

Nicholas Petreley's picture

Taking TiVo for example again; if you don't like what TiVo has done make your own TiVo box, upload your modified code and don't restrict users from modifying the code and uploading back up into your box. [and sell it]

I have a feeling that if you did that, you'd end up in court over selling a box that allowed people to violate DCMA restrictions. I think this point keeps getting lost in the TiVo debate.

Oh I have no doubt that the

pdof3's picture

Oh I have no doubt that the movie/tv/music industries would take you to court over making it easy to copy and distribute their garbage. But hey this is the US right, we can sue anyone for anything. Anyone want to start a class action suit with me suing the movie/tv/music industries for undo stress on our lives by making us feel like we are thieves from the start and must prove our innocence to them.. lol

No... It's not.

Anonymous's picture

Actually this is the Internet, not the US. There are other countries in the world.

Of course, Linux was not

Amelia's picture

Of course, Linux was not even born in US.

Ah! I've found a buyer!

Anonymous's picture

"However, before you do consider this. Customer buys your box, calls in wanting their money back. They are irate and angry. They threaten to write letters to major newspapers about how horrible your product is, and end up doing so. After a while you give them a refund to put a stop to it if they return the box. When you get the box back you find out they had problems because they altered the code."

Which world do you live in? Have you come across the term "warranty"?

"Anyone who buys a TiVo has every right to change the source and make his or her own hardware box to upload it to."

I beg your pardon? TiVo OWNS the box it SOLD me?
Ah! So you do want to buy my house! You will of course not receive any keys. This is of course for your own safety and security and to ensure the fact that I continue to service the house for ever. Of course, if you attempt to change anything in "your" new house without express permission from me, you WILL be locked out forever!

While a warranty would come

Anonymous's picture

While a warranty would come into play my scenario still stands true. For the company to prove the warranty has been voided by the customer uploading a new OS to the box they will have to spend money paying someone to check the software on the box. Do you honestly believe they will be able to get the money they spent on shipping and labor to inspect the box and its software back from the customer?

As far as TiVo owning the box. No, you own it, but that doesn't take away their right to secure said box for their own protection from above mentioned scenario, or even sue happy people in the US that might decide to sue them after messing up their own box. And in this crazy nation the customer would probably win: Take the idiot women who spilled her cup of McDonald's coffee in her lap as an example. Everyone knows coffee is hot, especially people of her age who have been drinking coffee for years. But, none the less, she won millions from the case just because the cup didn't say hot on it.

Like I said, you as the software developer didn't make the hardware and have no right to tell the people who did how they can make or distribute said hardware.

HERE IS THE IMPORTANT THING:
When we talk about free software we are talking about just that SOFTWARE. Not software bundled with hardware. Just software. When I write a piece of code I want to know that it will be free for everyone to use - forever. That is important to me. TiVo in no way hindered that. Had I wrote any of the code that went into the TiVo box I would have no problem with what they did, as the code is still freely available and can still be used at the end user's sole discretion (in a new and separate box of course).

Don't get me wrong. I understand where you and others are coming from in this argument. You feel that you bought and own the hardware and software of the TiVo machine, and that as such you have every right to change said code and alter your TiVo to work as you see fit. In a perfect world I would agree with you. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world. If I had my way I believe TiVo should have allowed the code to be altered and re-uploaded myself. But, that isn't the world we live in, and we do not have the right to take TiVo's rights to control their own hardware design away from them.

That simply is not in the realm of power belonging to the people who write the code. It is, however, in the realm of power belonging to the government. I don't know where you are from, but if you are from the US and dislike what TiVo did write your congress person. I am sure it will go ignored but that is your right and his/her responsibility to deal with.

Like your house example. While the people who make the components used to build a house do not have the right to tell the contractor what kind of house to build, or under what terms that house may be sold, I am very sure it is against the law to sell a house and refuse to give every copy of the keys you have to said house to the buyer. It isn't in the brick makers responsibility to prevent the contractor from selling the house with such odd terms; it is the governments responsibility to prevent such awkward sales.

Given such, the FSF is overstepping its boundaries in this matter and it will cause much division in the Linux and GNU communities as we are already seeing. In order to get away from such bad laws and practices the FSF is creating rules that are just as equally out of line in the other direction. In trying to make things free to use without boundaries they creating restrictions they have no right to create and taking just as much freedom of use away as Microsoft's proprietary garbage. I will give the FSF this; they have kept the old saying true, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Question

Farmer's picture

I feel it is very important to have the freedom to use whatever you have bought. I do not feel that the best way to achieve it is through forcing somebody not to restrict you in the way the FSF is trying to do it. Why doesnt the FSF run information campaigns about products that try to restrict our freedom (TiVo, IPod and company) rather than try to limit those companies from using linux? At the end of the day they have published the source code and in that way promoted the fundamental cause of "open source" which is to improve the science of computing rather than conduct politics. By the same token if the US citizens dont like their DMCA why dont they fight it and make us all a favour (I dont live in the US but i still cannot download my favourite distro with dvd video support) or even better have a revolution that will hopefully rid their society of some wrong values it is funded on?

GPLv3 will drive companies away from using Linux

Anonymous's picture

The place to fight DRM is not in the license agreement. If the FSF does adopt the GPLv3, do they really think companies will just benevolently open everything up? In many cases, it would be illegal to do so, and in others, perhaps, impractical.

What companies that use Linux currently will do is simply stop using Linux at all. Is this really what we want?

The house that you "thought" you owned.....

Anonymous's picture

"Like your house example. While the people who make the components used to build a house do not have the right to tell the contractor what kind of house to build, or under what terms that house may be sold, I am very sure it is against the law to sell a house and refuse to give every copy of the keys you have to said house to the buyer. It isn't in the brick makers responsibility to prevent the contractor from selling the house with such odd terms; it is the governments responsibility to prevent such awkward sales."

You obviously haven't heard about the DMCA. Please do yourself a favor and look it up on Wikipedia. I'm sure it will open your eyes.

"As far as TiVo owning the box. No, you own it, but that doesn't take away their right to secure said box for their own protection from above mentioned scenario"

This is exactly what warranties are for - again, have you come across a TV delivered locked in a cabinet with the only set of keys with its manufacturer? You ARE suggesting TiVo CAN do that, you know? And do you know what happens when TiVo does that? YOU LOSE EXCLUSIVE OWNERSHIP TO WHAT YOU BOUGHT.

Exactly like that house of mine that I'm going to sell. Why would it be illegal to NOT give you keys when you've bought it in the full knowledge that the only key WILL be with me - the builder? There are "smart" cameras installed to let you in and out when you want to. It is for your own safety and security after all. Just like your TiVo example my friend.

And, just to remind you my friend, if you attempt to change anything in "your" new house without my permission, you will be locked out. And because you've violated terms of purchase, you will not get any refunds of course.

The issue is OWNERSHIP. If I own a TV, I can rip it apart and play with it all I like. I loose warranty. But - provided I know what I'm doing - I CAN change any electronic component in my TV without worrying about a law that makes it illegal for ME to even devise a way to open MY TV.

Its not the FSF thats overstepping its boundaries. It is the government's short-sightedness and caving in to industry lobbying that necessitates changes in the licensing language. It is the ONLY way the FSF can legally protect and retaliate to threats (backed now by laws like the DMCA) against their values and prevent the abuse of their property (the property of all those contributors who beleive in the SPIRIT of the GPL and trust the FSF to protect their contribution).

But why am I explaining that to you? I don't want you to back out of buying my house, do I?

Believe me when I say I know

pdof3's picture

Believe me when I say I know what the DMCA is and I disagree with it as much as you. However, that is the governments right to make such a bad law though that doesn't make the law right. And while in multiplication two negatives may make a positive in reality two wrongs do not make a right. There are better ways of fighting the DMCA than trying to shove your beliefs down someone else's throat.

As others have said, if you don't like the way TiVo does business the simple solution is to not buy a TiVo. However, as I have mentioned before, the GPL V3 will do much more harm than good. So the real question is: would you prefer to do a little good or no good? What good is it to right software that is free for others to use if there are no others to use it? What happens when businesses stop using linux and gnu software because of the restrictions in the GPL V3 and the major linux distributions go out of business because there isn't enough business buying their software?

At that point, sure you can sit in your corner and congratulate yourself on the good job you have done keeping people from using your code in a way that you disagree with. But then again, at that time, who will be using your code? Personally I would rather give in a little knowing that my code is being used productively on millions of peoples computers or TiVos around the world rather than congratulating myself on a victory of keeping my code out of big business and knowing that my code is only being used by people with nothing better to do than to sit around tinkering with it.

Instead of trying to overstep what rights you have as a software developer and pushing people away why not spend that time educating people on the facts of the matter. The DMCA was passed because average Joe Schmo doesn't understand it and politicians have pockets they like filled with money. So now here we have the GPL V3. Guess what, the average Joe doesn't understand it and the FSF has no money to line anyone's pockets with. But big companies do. One unfortunate aspect of life is that money rules the world. It isn't fair but it is life. As I keep trying to explain this is politics at this point. When things become politics right and wrong get thrown out of the window and you have to find that comfortable grey area. For me that area is, if TiVo wants to sell a piece of hardware with my code in it and not allow altered code back into the box, that is fine, just as long as they freely give the code out.

One thing you have to keep in mind is that your average user of, TiVo for example, doesn't care about the code. My parents, for example, do not care one little bit if the code is available. They don't even know what to do it. All they care about is if it works. Those people are what makes up ninety some odd percent of the user base in the world. Here is what RIAA, Microsoft and others understand that the FSF just doesn't seem to get. They are the ones you have to make happy. They don't care if the TiVo box is locked up tighter than Fort Knox; all they care about is, does it work and is it easy to use. And this is the real part the FSF doesn't get, the fight isn't as much with Microsoft, the RIAA, the government or anyone else as much as it is with the average consumer. People who code for Linux or the various GNU projects or any other open source program are coding for those people; because the big businesses that want to make money off of distributing Linux wants to appease them. They are the ones you have to convince, and you can't convince anyone of your argument by cutting off your feet as the GPL V3 will do; especially people who don't even know you exist.

In the case of open source an enemy, namely big business, are also allies. Without them open source can never create any kind of change in the world and proprietary software will always rain supreme while us elitists will sit around tinkering with our Linux boxes, the average user hasn't even heard of, and log into Windows only when we need to.

Personally I would rather

Anonymous's picture

Personally I would rather give in a little knowing that my code is being used productively on millions of peoples computers or TiVos around the world rather than congratulating myself on a victory of keeping my code out of big business and knowing that my code is only being used by people with nothing better to do than to sit around tinkering with it.

I can't quite wrap my head around this statement. As an open source developer, I would write my code specifically for others to modify and use as they see fit. If some company wants to circumvent those license provisions, wouldn't it be better for them to use some other software, perhaps a BSD variant?

I must seriously expand to North Korea....

Anonymous's picture

"However, that is the governments right to make such a bad law though that doesn't make the law right."

What an absolutely fantastic point of view! I must say I'm just very mildly surprised though. Didn't you say RMS has no right to - what was that term? dictate? - to the world what he THOUGHT was right?

Mildly surprised because you seem to live in North Korea - a dictatorship par excellence. Did I guess wrong?

My sympathies my friend - from the deepest depths of my little heart.

I must hasten now and strike a deal with the North Korean government - my advanced digital-age houses will be a big hit there!

Where do you live? Have you

pdof3's picture

Where do you live? Have you lost the fact of what governments do. They get in the way of peoples lives right. You know, by dictating what we can and can't do. I think they call those laws. I am pretty sure laws are what most people call those things that get in the way of everyday life by dictating to us what we are and are not allowed to do, not to mention what rights we do and do not have as a people.

I mean, doesn't the government dictate to me that I can't just take my car on the highway and go as fast as I want. Last time I checked if I go over 55 on the main road around here I will get pulled over and forced to pay a fine. Oh, and here is a good one; I think you will really like how the government dictates to me here. I can't kill someone when I get angry with them. Isn't that a hoot. Oh, and they will not allow me to steal something from my local store. They just dictate all kinds of stuff to me don't they. Oh, and isn't there some kind of stupid law about slandering people in the private sector. I am pretty sure you can get sued for that. And then of course they passed the DMCA, like many other laws I don't agree with it (but they passed it), so I suppose the US just became North Korea according to you.

Seriously where are you from; because if you live in a country where your government doesn't dictate to you what is right or wrong I sure do want to live there. I am getting tired of paying taxes.

Democracy v/s Dictatorship

Anonymous's picture

""However, that is the governments right to make such a bad law though that doesn't make the law right.""

Have a look at your statement again. Reflect on it. And realise why that statement is indicative of a dictatorship and not a democracy.

As for where I live? Its not the perfect country. But it IS a democracy. Laws ARE a result of democratic discussion. Laws are NOT a result of industrial lobbying. And yes, people do not sit by and watch laws being enacted that have the potential to encroach on any basic freedom.

Where do you live in such a

pdof3's picture

Where do you live in such a case as it is obviously not the US where our republic has turned into the dictatorship of the large corporations?

Anyway, as I said, I don't agree with the law. I believe the law to be unjust. However, the government has the right to pass the law as proven by the fact that they did, and the fact that they got away with it. But the question is: how and why did they get away with it. That goes back to what I had said about customers not knowing or understanding the truth or what their rights are.

Apparently I'm in business

Anonymous's picture

While you wax galore about your opinion of the average end-user (and what you think he/she will or won't do with what he/she bought), you have again manificently side-stepped the issue of OWNERSHIP.

Well what can I say? I'm just going to go right ahead and build many more of my advanced digital-age houses. I see great demand as obviously a large percentage of even the educated world (what a surprise!) believe I am absolutely right in not giving the buyers keys.

Of course all this is for their own good, you know. They don't know ANYTHING about house security and maintenance. So they'll be thrilled out of their pants with houses such as mine.

Wonderful!

As I have said I don't not

pdof3's picture

As I have said I don't not disagree with you on the morality of the issue. And, no, I haven't side stepped ownership; I simply see a bigger picture than you do. Your point seems to be what must be done to fully protect end users rights regardless of if they know they have those rights or not. Mine is what must be done to ensure the open source prevails in some fashion and hopefully is some dream world is large and popular enough to unseat windows from its mighty throne.

As far as the average end user and what you consider to be my opinion. Do you honestly think that Microsoft got to be as large as it is if consumers knew, thought about, or cared about the end results? Do you honestly believe that customers actually spend time thinking about the fact that if they buy MS Word they will be stuck with it indefinitely due to user lock in? For that matter do you actually believe the average consumer even understands what user lock in is?

Go around asking the average Joe at the mall what they think about buying protected music on the internet and how that impacts their life. Most of them will not even be aware that DRM has locked most of them into windows. Once you convince them it has they generally do not care. Many of them do not even know there is another option.

The big picture

Anonymous's picture

"And, no, I haven't side stepped ownership; I simply see a bigger picture than you do."

Do you really? Did you know that the BSD licence is far less restrictive than the GPL v2 licence? Has that made the BSD kernel more popular than the Linux kernel?

Nice try. The BSDs have

pdof3's picture

Nice try. The BSDs have their own problems, and for the lack of a better phrase, are not restrictive enough. I question how much BSD software is actually a part of Windows? However, having said that, if the BSDs had a larger following perhaps more people would be using some variation of the BSDs now instead of linux. Open Source + larger following = more end users = more software developed for that system. Politics | linux OR BSD = linux won = linux has the larger following = linux has more software. Yes I understand that BSD has a wonderful emulation layer built right into the kernel to run any linux program you want, but it is still an emulation layer and you are still, for the average user, limited to the versions of programs available from your version of BSD. So you are comparing apples to oranges here and trying to change the substance of the conversation.

As, I believe I have already mentioned (maybe not), the GPL V2 is more restrictive and pushes the limits of the boundaries of the software developer by actually taking some freedoms away from the end user. Such as the freedom to alter the code and sell it as closed source proprietary software. But, these are good restrictions which do not overstep the boundaries of the the software developer, and while it may hinder some larger businesses from using open source software - such as Microsoft - it does not hinder more respectable companies, or face other such problems that would hinder the wide spread adoption of an operating system built on top of it - for the most part. However, you must understand what your boundaries are.

For example, what is the next step of the FSF? Perhaps for the GPL V4 we can say that no company owning a software patent will be allowed to use our open source software as we all agree that software patents are evil. I certainly hope that you would agree that the FSF would be overstepping its boundaries in such a case.

"Basically TiVo has the

Anonymous's picture

"Basically TiVo has the right to protect itself from such situations. And as I said they in no way hinder you from getting the source of the program and using it in your own box."

Just like the warranty on your TV does not cover it if you take it apart and can't put it back together again. As far as I can see I've not seen any TV coming in a locked cabinet with a glass window and a remote and the manufacturer keeping the keys.

Wonder how they survive.....

I answered your question in

pdof3's picture

I answered your question in a different post.

Well that is a great

Jacob's picture

Well that is a great example. You are free to make such a house, and to create such a contract for the purchase of that house. And if you are able to actually sell such a house, then more power to you. However each person looking at the house has the freedom NOT to buy. The DRM battle is one that should be waged in the minds of the consumer, NOT in the minds of lawers and judges.

And from what I have read the kernel developers would have no interest in your house, just like they have no interest in a TiVO, but they also dont want to take away your freedom to sell said real estate.

Ah! So the kernel developers

Anonymous's picture

Ah! So the kernel developers will not buy my locked-down house! But they will happily provide me with the bricks and the labor to build this locked-down house to which I - as the builder - reserve the rights to retain the keys!

Of course it doesn't matter to them who buys the house as long as its not them!

Ah! The light dawns on me!

Your story doesn't fit.

pdof3's picture

Your story doesn't fit. Taking TiVo for example again.

Two things make up a TiVo system.
1) The software - That is what we are discussing.
2) The hardware - That is the cause of this debate.

You as the programmer of a piece of software have the right to give users of that software some restrictions on use, such as if they use your software or modify your code they have to make the source code for your code and the modifications available.

However, you as the programmer of the software do not have the right to place restrictions on their hardware which you did not make.

You are wanting to try and use your software to try and force restrictions and a way of life on people that is, and should be, out of your control. You as one person do not have the right to tell another person how to live and what choices they are or are not allowed to make. As I said above, TiVo for example, in no way does anything to prevent people from downloading the code and using it in a box of hardware of that individual's own design.

Basically the people that make the bricks do not have the right to tell the people that use the bricks what kind of house they are allowed to build. They do not have the right to say that they will not provide the bricks because they don't like that kind of house. And thats a good thing, because freedom to take something and use it however you want to is required in the world.

I am sorry but I will not be a part of the Dictatorship of RMS. I prefer to be free to do things as I wish. While I am against proprietary software in many cases RMS goes to far in the other direction making things just as difficult as Microsoft has.

For that matter, as much as I hate windows, I started using it again months ago, as if RMS succeeds in his battle for GPL V3 the linux community will be torn apart and things will get worse rather than better for a while. If he he succeeds in getting people to follow him and the kernel etc gets moved to GPL V3 the result would be worse and linux will become stagnant where it is never moving forward. At that point he will have ensured that there will always be device driver problems in linux among other problems which in turn means Microsoft will have won. Either that are FreeBSD will start growing at a much faster rate.

Good summary

Nicholas Petreley's picture

I agree about the distinction between the software and hardware. Good post.

Another buyer!

Anonymous's picture

Well I'm glad! Two buyers in one day!! My house is popular beyond my own expectations!

Again of course, you will not get the keys. You understand of course that this if for your own safety and security. You also understand, I'm sure, that this will ensure your house is always serviced and in the best condition. And of course, you understand that if you attempt to change anything in it without my permission, you will be locked out irrevocably.

The issue my friend is OWNERSHIP. Thats why my story actually fits quite well. You are again reiterating that TiVo OWNS the box it apparently SOLD you! It doesn't matter what the components of that box are. What matters is the OWNERSHIP of that box.

You wax eloquent about rights while side-stepping the issue and trampling on - guess what - rights.

But that certainly doesn't worry me. Because I've got another buyer in you!

AFAICT you own the TiVo once

Flibble's picture

Unless there are some insane laws where you live, afaict you own the TiVo once you've bought it. DMCA may make it illegal for you to hack your TiVo but that's not the manufacturer's responsibility once you've bought it. That will be a matter for law-enforcement.
I'd say you own the hardware and the software. If you want to alter the software in this case you also have to alter the hardware (which will void the warranty) because presumably there's no easily reprogrammed ePROM/flash memory/Disk operating system that holds the software code.
As long as you don't break any laws with the resulting new hardware/software combination I don't see how anyone can stop you. And if there are laws trying to stop this, where do you draw the line, is painting the outside of the box a different colour, or gluing a hat onto it, a hardware modification? No, those do not affect the functionality. What about if I wanted no sound with the picture and installed some kind of filter (snip the audio wires on a SCART connection) on the cable that goes to the back of my TV. What if I broke the pin/plug off the TiVo itself.
What if I opened the machine and disconnected some of the circuitry inside. I'd definitely be messing with the functionality then. What if I claimed the particular circuitry/flash memory/hard disk had burned out and I replaced it with something else that does the job. Who's to stop me?
It's not like I'm endangering someone's life or stealing something by doing that. You can't introduce an annual check-up of everyone's digital devices to see whether any of them could be used to break any laws.
The law (DMCA) is unenforceable and nonsensical, and will be changed in time. You could use a pen (or gun) to kill someone, that doesn't mean that no-one is allowed to have any pens (or guns). If you had a pen-gun (pengun... linux ... geddit?) on the other hand it would probably be illegal but noone would know because it looks like a pen.
If you don't want to mess with the hardware in order to install your modified software then modify the IO system to suit whatever other hardware is available. What's to stop you running a modified version of the TiVo code on a PC of some sort with a TV card in it. Or to write a TiVo emulator for MS Windows if you wanted and were able. The software is free, the source is available. I don't see a need for a new version of the GPL, not on this particular issue anyway, there may be other flaws with the GPL that need fixing, but requiring that hardware vendors make it easy to change the installed software is impractical. How easy is easy enough? Poison for the goose is another man's gander or something to that effect.

For me the question isn't if

pdof3's picture

For me the question isn't if TiVo is right or wrong in it's decision to not allow the software to be re-uploaded into the machine. The issue is, does the original software developer have a right to tell TiVo how to run it's business. I believe the answer is no. I believe that the most the original software developer can insist upon is that the software remain free to alter and use in some fashion. With TiVo I can still get a copy of the software and mass produce my own version of TiVo with that exact same software, so the software is still free. The original developer's rights end there.

As I mentioned before software and hardware are two distinct and different things. The case of TiVo is something governments should have control over, not a software license. That is why I believe the FSF is overstepping its boundaries. Don't get me wrong, I think it would have been more honorable for TiVo to have allowed the altered code to be uploaded back into the box. However, it is their hardware design and product to sell. If you don't like it you don't have to buy it, just like you don't have to buy your mythical house.

However, as I am sure there are laws to prevent such a sale of a house as proposed in your myth given enough people against what TiVo chose to do laws could be passed to prevent TiVo and other companies from making that mistake again. The FSF, however, knowing that the majority of people don't care enough for such laws to be passed, has taken it upon themselves to come up with said restrictions in the GPL V3 and try and enforce these restrictions on the world on their own. It wont work.

You want things in the software world to move over from a proprietary world to a free world. Have patients things take time. Trying to force change as the FSF is doing will simply take us a step back in the wrong direction. Companies that have already moved over to open source or are thinking about it will simply move back to proprietary software to avoid the restrictions. Many of the companies that have moved to open source haven't done so because they believe in it but because it was either cheaper or looked juicier to them. In such a case, should the FSF win out here, open source will no longer look juicy to those same companies. In the end open source will loose and Microsoft will win.

Unfortunately it builds down to red tape and politics. Push people to hard and try to open things up to fast and what you will get is a door slammed in your face.

The house that you "thought" you owned.....

Anonymous's picture

"However, as I am sure there are laws to prevent such a sale of a house as proposed in your myth given enough people against what TiVo chose to do laws could be passed to prevent TiVo and other companies from making that mistake again."

I'm sorry to break your heart there my friend, but I simply have to point out to you that DRM (O, ok then, DMCA if you will) ENABLES TiVo to do just what it's doing. In other words, these laws TAKE AWAY OWNERSHIP from you, the LEGAL OWNER!

So please dream in Wonderland. Don't pretend you're awake my friend.

My deepest sympathies are with you.

But of course you know, don't you, that if you make any changes to that house you thought you "owned", you will be locked out for good? And of course, since you broke the terms of sale, you will not be entitled to any refund whatsoever?

Ok then, don't let me bother you... please continue dreaming....

One more thing in addition

pdof3's picture

One more thing in addition to my other reply to this post.

I don't think you understand where my disagreement with the FSF is. It isn't a question of if I agree with the morality of TiVo. It is a question of who the responsibility lies with as to controlling TiVo's actions. I don't believe software developers have the right to tell someone in what manner they must sell their hardware anymore than I have the right to tell you that you are not allowed to use any code I have ever written to write an email application. It is the same basic thing.

HOW v/s OWNERSHIP

Anonymous's picture

"I don't believe software developers have the right to tell someone in what manner they must sell their hardware anymore than I have the right to tell you that you are not allowed to use any code I have ever written to write an email application."

Who said anything about dictating terms about HOW to sell? Did you think I was arguing for restrictions on controlling HOW anything is sold?

You've missed my point entirely, my friend.

My point simply was that when you BUY something, it should be YOURS TO DO WITH AS YOU WILL - EVEN IN WAYS THAT MAKE YOU LOOSE WARRANTY AND FORFEIT RIGHTS TO FREE REPAIRS/REPLACEMENTS.

Now look what I've done - me and my BIG mouth! Nobody's going to buy my advanced digital age house now!

HOW v/s OWNERSHIP - II

Anonymous's picture

Now, of course, there are people who believe they OWN what they BUY. These people are prepared to defend their OWNERSHIP to THEIR possessions.

On the other hand, there also are people who don't care whether they OWN what they BUY or whether the SUPPLIER retains control over "their" possession. These people are prepared to let laws pass that explicitly prevent them from OWNing what they've just bought. These people obviously don't think it is THEIR problem.

These are the people who will buy my house!

I mean... could you imaging the automotive industry lobbying the government to pass a law that prevented car owners from bypassing the rev-limiter? or replacing the carburettor with a fuel injector? or changing the rear drum brakes in favor of disc brakes? or changing the size of the wheel and replacing the stock tyres?

And could you imagine the WRC drivers and the various automotive racing associations allowing these laws to be passed?

Again, I don't disagree with

pdof3's picture

Again, I don't disagree with your point of view, simply on what rights you as a software developer have in demanding how another company sells its hardware.

And since you don't seem to understand what I mean by sells its hardware let me define it for you here. Under what terms they sale said hardware to their clients. In the case of TiVo you are demanding they sell said hardware with no restrictions on uploading altered code back into the machine. My point is that you don't have that right. That hardware they manufacture is not a part of the software you wrote which means you have no jurisdiction over it. As I have already stated many times; that doesn't mean I side with TiVo and think they are just in what they are doing. I don't, I think it would be proper for them to allow the alterations to be uploaded back into the machine. But it isn't in my control to demand they do such things.

And, as I have said before it isn't that we disagree on the morality of the issue. I agree with you completely there. We disagree on what the big picture is. I would rather cave in some areas to ensure that linux continues to grow and become more widely accepted in the market place rather than stopping that growth in its tracks with undue restrictions that business just want be able to swallow.

So you can sit back in your corner with your GPL V3 license and congratulate yourself on making sure no one can use your code in a way you morally disagree with. Just remember that no one will be using your code if that is its license.

You missed it again my friend...

Anonymous's picture

"In the case of TiVo you are demanding they sell said hardware with no restrictions on uploading altered code back into the machine. My point is that you don't have that right."

Of course I do. I OWN the TiVo I bought. TiVo has no right restricting me from what I do with MY TiVo. The key SHOULD belong to ME - NOT TiVo. They can void my warranty if - and don't tell me this is NOT a trivial check - the code in the machine does not match their signature. They absolutely CAN NOT PREVENT ME FROM CHANGING TO CODE IN MY TiVo MACHINE.

Or you might as well buy my advanced, digital-age house. To which I will keep the keys.

Does your car have a fuel injector?
Possibly.
If it did and you wanted to race on a race-track, could you CHANGE ITS SOFTWARE TO ALTER MAPPINGS?
Most certainly.

What would that do to the warranty that came with the car? It would void it. If not completely then at the very least on the parts immediately affected.

Have you come across a law that would prevent you from altering the mappings of YOUR fuel-injector on YOUR car?

This is what I mean by OWNERSHIP, since you keep seeming to miss the point.

[quote]

pdof3's picture

[quote]
Of course I do. I OWN the TiVo I bought. TiVo has no right restricting me from what I do with MY TiVo. The key SHOULD belong to ME - NOT TiVo. They can void my warranty if - and don't tell me this is NOT a trivial check - the code in the machine does not match their signature. They absolutely CAN NOT PREVENT ME FROM CHANGING TO CODE IN MY TiVo MACHINE.
[/quote]

Now see there is the basis of our argument. I agree with you, TiVo should make the key available to you. But, I don't believe a software developer has the right to tell them they have to. If you don't like TiVo's way of doing business don't buy a TiVo. As someone else in this thread said, TiVo didn't really have a choice to begin with. Do you honestly believe changing the license, which I believe is overstepping its boundaries, will force TiVo to take the keys away? No it will force them to go to proprietary software causing linux to loose ground.

As I have said before. Your fight is with the end users who don't even know linux exists or that they have options and rights. Educate them and change will happen. However, changing this license will do nothing to help educate end users about the politics of the matter, it will simply force companies that would use linux and other open source software to go back to proprietary software; in which case we all loose. My point is, one of them at least, to look at the bigger picture. I believe the end result is more important than the now.

Of course....

Anonymous's picture

"However, changing this license will do nothing to help educate end users about the politics of the matter, it will simply force companies that would use linux and other open source software to go back to proprietary software; in which case we all loose."

I see that you seriously believe that TiVo is the biggest deployer of the Linux kernel and the sole means of increasing Linux mind/market share.

Linksys obviously doesn't figure as it presumably hasn't made much impact on the market.

A majority of the world's data centres and hosting site also presumably do not run on GNU/Linux. Oracle must be quite crazy to want to undermine that unheard of organization that goes by some kind of hat name.

And who would have heard of Ububtu or Fedora?

Sometimes you actually make

pdof3's picture

Sometimes you actually make me smile.

Of course TiVo is simply an example of the harms of the license, and obviously they only play a small role in the world of linux. You could pick any number of situations I will not bother to come up with here. I believe you are intelligent enough to come up with them on your own.

So, yes I understand that TiVo is a small part of the whole linux world; but we aren't just talking about TiVo. We are talking about any company selling hardware in the same situation as them. We are talking about these companies using open source software instead of pouring millions of dollars into proprietary software companies every year including Microsoft. And, of course, this isn't the only issue with the GPL V3 license that will cut the linux user base, but it is the biggest in my opinion which is why it and the TiVo example is what I concentrate on the most.

I disagree with the DMCA as much as you, but this isn't the way to fight it. This is acting more like a child with a toy. Another child comes over to his house and starts playing with his toy in a manner in which the first child doesn't like because the guest child's older brother told him to play with it that way. So the child snatches the toy away from his guest and tells him he can't play with the toy because he doesn't like how he is playing with it.

In this example of course the first child is the FSF, the older brother is the entertainment industry, and the other child is not TiVo but the innocent end users of the TiVo system (I do so love to use TiVo as an example - perhaps I should start picking on another company). Don't you think it would have been more appropriate for the child to first try to educate the guest child on how to properly play with the toy instead of just snatching it away?

Going back to what RMS has said about the situation; I will paraphrase it here, "When a company is being influenced because an industry is placing pressure on them you get more influence by placing an equal amount of pressure on them." That is his justification for the parts of the GPL V3 that will prevent TiVo from using Linux. The thing is no matter how much pressure he can create with the GPL V3 the entertainment industry still wins when court time comes up. So who looses? Linux... So, one of my points is this is the wrong way to fight it. Instead of fighting like children educate the public (end users) as to what the truth really is. If there was some open source campaign who's sole responsibility was to create TV ads and put up billboards to educate the public about the truth I would be glad to donate $100 a month to it and I am sure others would as well.

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