Torvalds Hasnt Ruled Out GPL 3 for Linux

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2006-02-07 Print this article Print

Linus Torvalds thinks using the proposed GPL 3 license for Linux is good in theory, but very hard to do in practice. (

Linus Torvalds could see using the proposed GPL 3 license for Linux, but he thinks it would be very hard to do in practice and he still has concerns about the Complete Corresponding Source Code section.

Not long after the first draft of the GPL 3 appeared, Torvalds, Linuxs founder, objected to GPL 3 on the Linux Kernel Mailing List: "The Linux kernel has always been under the GPL v2. Nothing else has ever been valid." Torvalds concluded his note with the statement that "Conversion isnt going to happen."
That wasnt the end of the matter.
Richard M. Stallman, the GPLs primary author and founder of the FSF (Free Software Foundation), explained that he didnt understand Torvalds objection to the GPL 3, but that, in any case, "The Linux developers can decide whether to allow use of Linux under GPL version 3. This wont directly affect other parts of the system." To GPL 3 or not to GPL 3, that is the Linux question. Click here to read more. However, the Linux kernel developers arent all following Torvaldss lead on this matter, so the debate has continued on the LKML (Linux Kernel Mailing List) about whether the GPL 3 should cover the Linux kernel. Lately, the debate has appeared to turn on the GPL 3s handling of DRM (Digital Rights Management). Torvalds feels that DRM doesnt really belong in the GPL. "I personally think that the anti-DRM clause is much more sensible in the context of the Creative Commons licenses, than in software licenses. If you create valuable and useful content that other people want to be able to use (catchy tunes, funny animation, good icons), I would suggest you protect that content by saying that it cannot be used in any content-protection schemes," wrote Torvalds. Read the full story on Torvalds Hasnt Ruled Out GPL 3 for Linux
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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