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06.11.07

Is the Linux Kernel Approaching Acceptance of GPLv3?

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Interview, Novell, Xandros at 6:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nobody likes change. Change leads to concessions. It can abruptly end existing relationships, then give way to new (yet unforeseen) relationships.

In the context of the Linux kernel, TiVo serves as a good example of companies which gain control at the expense of the consumer and/or developer. Meanwhile, emerging (and constructive) threats such as OpenSolaris play a role as well. So what will it be? According to some of the most recent correspondence on the issue, Linus Torvalds has softened a little. To quote an article which covers this:

Writing on the Linux Kernel Developers mailing list yesterday, Torvalds responded when a developer wrote that he (Torvalds) “was quite impressed with the toned down version of the final draft of GPLv3.”

Recently, Alan Cox made remarks that seem to suggest that he is more fond of the GPLv3 than Linus is. Consider, for example, the interview which was published yesterday. He realises that GPLv3 is needed in order to protect Free software. Going about a month back, Alan expressed his support more explicitly:

Open source guru Alan Cox has voiced his support for the controversial version 3.0 of the GNU General Public Licence in an exclusive podcast interview with Computer Weekly.

It was shortly before this interview that Linus looked at an older draft of GPLv3 and said that he was “pretty pleased”.

Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project and a major figure in the open-source programming movement, said Wednesday he’s “pretty pleased” with changes in a third draft of the General Public License (GPL) released Wednesday.

Perhaps it is only a matter of time. If that’s the case, then not only will access to GNU be denied. This is bad news to Microsoft and possibly to Novell and Xandros as well.

Linux seems to be getting cozier with GPLv3 . It is too early to make predications though.

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5 Comments

  1. anonymous said,

    June 11, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    Gravatar

    This is quite interesting, but I still not understand how to solve the acceptance of all people that developed Linux.

    I’m sure there are a lot of people that will can’t be possible to contact by various of reasons, some of them physical (died, for example.

    It could be great if in this blog explains a solution to this problem and switching to GPLv3. Some people said it would require a massive code audition and rewriting very big chunks of the Linux kernel.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 12, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Gravatar

    > It could be great if in this blog explains a solution to this
    > problem and switching to GPLv3. Some people said it would
    > require a massive code audition and rewriting very big
    > chunks of the Linux kernel.

    How so? Where was something like this (need for code rewrites) published? I’d be interested in seeing this as also keep track of disinformation, of which there is plenty.

  3. anonymous said,

    June 12, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Gravatar

    60% of GPL2 source code?
    http://6thsenseless.blogspot.com/2007/02/how-much-linux-kernel-code-is-gpl-2.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel#GPL_version_3

    I don’t found a proper article saying the need of massive rewriting code for switch to GPLv3 fallacy, sorry. This is mostly said as comments in all kind of forums and blogs like Slashdot, you can find tons of examples of that quite easy using some search engine.

  4. shane said,

    June 12, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Gravatar

    I’d agree, if the original author of a piece of code in Linux that doesn’t include the ‘or any future version’ clause doesn’t want to go v3 or is not contactable for any reason, it would need rewriting.

    At this point I’m unaware if anyone has even tried to establish the whereabouts of each and every author, let alone determine their disposition, so I don’t know percentage-wise how much code it could be.

    Bruce Perens had spoken of this at one point and came to the conclusion that it was ‘doable’, but not without heavy lifting and likely having to sacrifice progress in the short term since all effort would be required on rewriting.

    We’ll have to see how it all plays out.

  5. shane said,

    June 12, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Gravatar

    **dang not being logged in**

    the above would probably be more accurate if it read ‘copyright holders’ instead of authors, since they aren’t necessarily the same.

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