Bonum Certa Men Certa

The GPLv3 Debate Returns: Torvalds Still Defends Tivoization, But Not Everyone Agrees

There have been various misconceptions (some deliberate) which keep surrounding the GPLv3. Some of them led to the conclusion that GPLv3 is all about Novell. At the time, Novell's deal was the only one to bear in mind. However, as Eben Moglen recently stressed, GPLv3 achieves much beyond this. It is not a Microsoft vendetta and it is not a 'religious' statement either. One of the controversial parts of the license is a Tivoization clause that forbids it. In a very recent thread on the kernel mailing lists, Linus Torvalds explicitly says that he supports Tivoization.

[Linus:] I think Tivoization is *good*...


This is not new, but the strong language shows how stubborn he is. This leads to a serious dilemma. There are other sides to this argument. Consider, for example, this rebuttal from Bruce Perens. He addresses misconceptions that are -- among other things -- associated with Tivoization.

I pulled the article on GPL3, Tivo, and DFSG. Unfortunately, there was too much mis-information. Sorry I wasn't around to see it earlier. Here's my rebuttal to the article.


A medical software expert speaks in favour of the GPL. It is also clear that he is not really in favour of Tivoisation, which has negative effects when people's lives are involved. This relates to Gutmann's discussions about DRM in Windows Vista. In his paper he described the dangers associated with obfuscation of important information.

The best license for you to use for your Medical Software is the GPL, which makes your software license compatible with the most software packages available.


Let us hope that kernel hackers take more factors into consideration and make the right decision. They should manage to ignore noise and disinformation, of which there is plenty.

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