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From: Al Viro <>
Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 05:08:57 UTC
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, Jun 15, 2007 at 01:14:49AM -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> I'm not trying to impose anything.  I'm not pushing anything.  I'm
> defending the GPLv3 from accusations that it's departing from the GPL
> spirit, and I'm trying to find out in what way Tivoization promotes
> the goals you perceive as good for Linux, that make GPLv2
> advantageous.  So far, you haven't given any single reason about this.
> You talked about tit-for-tat, you said anti-Tivoization in GPLv3 was
> bad, but you don't connect the dots.  Forgive if I get the impression
> that you're just fooling yourself, and misguiding a *lot* of people
> out there in the process.

Give.  Me.  A.  Break.

Section 6 is inherently broken.  It tries to gerrymander the "bad"
cases and ends up with a huge mess.  Definition of user device is
arbitrary and reeks with discrimination against the field of use.
Trying to be more explicit about installation instructions walks
straight into a minefield:
	* is it enough to give some installation methods?  If so,
should they be as cheap as the rest?  As efficient as the rest in
some sense?  Representative in some sense?  The same as what
manufacturer ever uses?
	* if all installation methods should be given, where does
one stop?  Should one describe unsupported ones?  All of them?
Is that a violation of license to omit some?  How does one prove
that omission hadn't been malicious violation in face of complaint?

Trying to be explicit enough to get a rope on the TiVo neck ends
up with not just clumsy rules; it opens a can of worms worse than
what we have in matching part of v2.

It looks like trying to be tight enough to be sure to catch the cases FSF
doesn't like and trying to avoid getting the stuff that really shouldn't
be caught.  And looks like these requirements conflict.

So in the end you get an ugliness that satisfies neither those who think
that TiVo case is not a problem nor those who agree that it is a problem
and consider v2 sufficient in that area.

And BTW, you've been told just that about an hour before you've sent that
mail.  I don't mind repeating that on l-k, but please don't pretend to be
unaware of the problems in that area.  I've no idea which problems Linus
has with that turd, but there's certainly enough in there.

From: Linus Torvalds <>
Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 15:14:30 UTC
Message-ID: <fa.UEgNV2FXcBulp5V/>

On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Bernd Petrovitsch wrote:

> On Wed, 2007-06-13 at 23:38 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > On Jun 13, 2007, Daniel Hazelton <> wrote:
> > > On Wednesday 13 June 2007 19:49:23 Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >
> > > Exactly. They don't. What TiVO prevents is using that modified version on
> > > their hardware. And they have that right, because the Hardware *ISN'T*
>        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> BTW as soon as I bought that thing, it is *my* hardware and no longer
> *theirs* (whoever "theirs" was).

You bought *their* design. It was your choice.

And yes, you own the hardware, and you can hack it any which way you like
(modulo laws and any other contracts you signed when you bought it). But
they had the right to design it certain ways, and part of that design may
be making it _harder_ for you to hack.

For example, they may have used glue to put the thing together rather than
standard phillips screws. Or poured resin over some of the chips. All of
which has been done (not necessarily with Linux, but this really is an
issue that has nothing to do with Linux per se). Making the firmware or
hardware harder to access or modify is their choice.

Your choice is whether you buy it, despite the fact that you know it's not
necessarily all that easy to hack.

> > Indeed, TiVO has this legal right.  But then they must not use
> Do they? At least in .at, it is usually impossible to (legally) limit
> the rights of the *owner* a (tangible) thing (and if I bought it, I *am*
> the owner and no one else) - even if you put it in the sales contract
> since this is discussion about/within sales law.

The "when I buy it, I own it" argument is a favourite of the GPLv3 shills,
but it's irrelevant. The *design* was done long before you bought it, and
yes, Tivo had the right to design and build it, any which way they wanted

> One usual example is "you buy a car and neither the car producer nor the
> (re)seller can restrict the brands of the tires you may use or the brand
> of the fuel etc.".
> And the same holds for pretty much everything. No one can forbid you to
> open a TV set and fix it (or let it fix by whoever I choose to).

You are missing the picture. Sure, you can do whatever you want to (within
any applicable laws) _after_ you bought it. But that doesn't take away the
right from the manufacturer to design it his way.

And you're also *wrong*. Tivo doesn't limit the brands of electricity it
uses or anything idiotic like that. You can put after-market rubber bumps
on the thing to make it look sleeker, and I seriously doubt that Tivo will
do aything at all. It's about going into the innards, and different car
manufacturers make that harder too, for various reasons.

If the car manufacturer makes things harder to hack, it's your choice. For
example, car hackers *do* actually prefer certain brands. Apparently the
Subaru's are popular, and German cars are a pain to try to change. I'm
told that even something as simple as upgrading the sound system is just
_harder_ in a German car, apparently because they make things fit together
so tightly, that doing after-market cabling is just much more of a

Same goes for things like electronic engine controls. Look it up. Try
chipping a car lately? For some, it's literally buying a chip online, and
some fairly simple work. For others, it's almost impossible, and you have
to take your car in to somebody who really knows what he's doing. And you
know what? Exactly like with a Tivo, the car manufacturer won't have
anything to do with the car afterwards. If you broke it by chipping it,
you voided your warranty.

See? If you are actually looking for a car to hack on, you'd buy a car
with that in mind. Do the exact same thing with your Tivo. Don't buy it if
you want to hack it: buy a Neuros OSD device instead!  I'm serious: the
Neuros people do *not* limit you, and in fact they encourage hacking.
Instead of whining about Tivo, do something *positive*, and support Neuros
for their better policies!


From: Al Viro <>
Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 20:33:04 UTC
Message-ID: <fa.V6n4ExceSR4ob/>

On Thu, Jun 14, 2007 at 09:55:17PM +0200, Ingo Molnar wrote:
> This "right to modify" and "have the same rights as the hardware maker"
> arguments are _totally_ bogus, they were made up after the fact, just
> because quite apparently RMS had a fit over Tivo and started this verbal
> (and legal) vendetta. The FSF is now attempting to rewrite history and
> pretends that this "always was in the GPLv2" and applies this newly
> thought up concept to the GPLv3 in a way that substantially departs from
> the spirit of the GPLv2. Which spirit the GPLv2 explicitly promised to
> uphold in Section 9. Which could make any contrary section of the GPLv3
> unenforceable, when applied to "GPLv2 or later" licensed software.

That, BTW, is perhaps the worst problem with v2 (inherited by v3).
WTF _is_ "the spirit of the license" and who gets to decide if two
licenses are in the same spirit?  As soon as we get to "well, original
authors of the license are the final authority on that", we are
in the "I've always said ..." country.

Look, humans _suck_ at revision control, especially that of our
intentions and opinions.  It doesn't even require malice, all
ancedotes about spouses/mothers-in-law/etc. nonwithstanding.

We all easily fall into belief that we had always meant what we mean
now; that even if we said something different, it was just a poor
wording; that if we had known what we know now, we would certainly
had come to the same conclusions we have come to now.

"In the same spirit" is just about the weakest requirement in that
area.  I.e. the most prone to drift, especially when one is an ideologist
and thus has severely decayed integrity to start with.  Call it a
professional disease of crystal ball users - or a prerequisite for
playing a visionary, if you will ;-/

From: Al Viro <>
Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 22:03:48 UTC
Message-ID: <fa.+Pe1FXRF6Tj/>

On Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 12:52:41AM +0530, debian developer wrote:

> I don't think that upgrading to GPLv3 just for the sake of tools
> present in some other software should be the reason. We are capable
> enough of developing our own tools, and many experienced people are
> working on equivalent(etx4 etc.,) and much sophisticated tools for the
> linux kernel.

I don't think that switch to GPLv3 can be described as upgrade.  I certainly
have no intention to do that to my code; some of it I might release under BSD
license, and that can be used in any project.  The rest of the kernel stuff
I've done (and that's the majority of my contributions) is under GPLv2 *only*.

From: Al Viro <>
Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
Subject: Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2007 22:15:52 UTC
Message-ID: <>

On Sun, Jun 17, 2007 at 02:56:24AM -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> Can you please acknowledge that it doesn't, such that I can feel I've
> fulfilled my goal of dispelling the myth that the GPLv3 changes the
> spirit of the GPL?

No.  I don't do metaphysics.  This thread alone has shown that the
notion is not well-defined *at* *all*, to the point of being useless
and seriously misleading.  I.e. the phrase about similar spirit
should be replaced with something far more explicit and very, very
hard to miss.  I don't think you need more proof that people *do*
interpret it in very different ways, with quite unpleasant results.

> > GPLv3, with your involvement in its development or not, sucks rocks,
> > thanks to what you call anti-tivoization section.
> Is it correct to say that you share Linus' opinion, that the only
> problem with the GPLv3 is the anti-tivoization provision?

No.  If you want a basic splitup by sections compared to GPLv2,
	1	-	at least not better; attempts at being precise
			end up creating a no-common-sense-land *and*
			turn out to leave serious unanswered questions
			in that area.
	2	-	no opinion on actual changes
	3	-	more or less an improvement
	4,5	-	about on par with v2, modulo wording in (5)
	6	-	much worse
	7	-	if I want to give additional permissions, I don't
			want them stripped, for fsck sake!  There is a
			bog-standard mechanism for _that_ (dual-licensing),
			thank you very much.  I.e. that section looks like				a pile of dishonest PR games, pardon the redundance.
	8	-	on par
	9	-	on par, modulo piss-poor attempt to define "modify"
			backfiring here (e.g. prelinking constitutes
			modification according to it, so does running rdev(8),
			etc., etc.)
	10	-	no opinion on actual changes
	11	-	improvement
	12	-	on par (aside of basic bad writing, but there are
			much worse problems *not* with wording, so that's
			not interesting)
	13	-	special-case kludges are fun, aren't they (specifically
			"linking"?), but in any case, that's secondary.
			FWIW, I'm not fond of ideas behind Affero, so if
			anything, that's a point against v3.
	14	-	... and thank you very much for keeping such a lovely
			source of periodic clusterfucks in v3 as well.
			I think it's painfully obvious for everyone in this
			thread that reference to "spirit" is a recipe for
			massive disagreements down the road.  If you want the
			words you are using to be interpreted your way, use
			ones that have commonly agreed upon meaning.  The
			measure is "do other people read it differently?",
			not "how sure I am in deriving the meaning I want from
			the words I've used?".  Related problem is that
			version choice rules _must_ be stated in maximally
			unambiguous and hard to miss way.  Look through
			Bernd-produced parts of this thread and you'll see
			the reason why it is needed.
			Moving that into terms and conditions is a good step,
			but it's still not enough.  E.g. you really want
			to be explicit on the form (in)sufficient to specify
			the version of license.
	the rest	on par.

Overall: definitely worse than v2.  v2 + (3) + (11) would be an improvement,
provided that v2 section 9 is cleaned up.

> To make this more concrete, if there was a hypothetical GPLv2.9,
> consisting of GPLv3dd4 minus the "installation information"
> requirements for user products, (i) Would you consider it a better
> license than GPLv2?
	Negative, see above
 (ii) Better for Linux?
	Negative, for kernel as well as for userland
(iii) Enough to go through the trouble of switching?
	See above.

In other words, I don't see any chance for v3 to be a good choice
for anything I write, kernel or userland.  If I end up sending patches
to v3 projects, I'll put the patches under BSDL and let them convert
on merge.

Note that this is *not* about the problems with wording; those also exist,
of course (_that_ is a final draft?), but that's a separate story and it
interests me only inasmuch as it is caused by inherent problems with meaning
of section in question.

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