[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "the current GPLv3 draft looks fine

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "the current GPLv3 draft looks fine apart from ... Just google for torvalds tit-for-tat ... I don't ask for money."
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 00:15:47 +0200

Linus Torvalds wrote:
> On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >
> > Is there anything other than TiVOization to justify these statements?
> Do you need anything else?
> But if by the question you mean "would you think the GPLv3 is fine without
> the new language in section 6 about the 'consumer devices'", then the
> answer is that yes, I think that the current GPLv3 draft looks fine apart
> from that.
> > Also, can you elaborate on what you mean about 'giving back in kind'?
> > (I suspect this is related with the tit-for-tat reasoning, that you've
> > failed to elaborate on before)
> I've *not* failed to elaborate on that before. Not at all.
> Just google for
>         torvalds tit-for-tat
> and you'll see a lot of my previous postings. Trying to claim that this is
> somehow "new" is ludicrous. In fact, some of the google hits you find are
> from 2004, *loong* before the current GPLv3 discussion.
> So your "failed to elaborate" is not a failure on my side.
> Giving back "in kind" is obvious. I give you source code to do with as you
> see fit. I just expect you to give back in kind: source code for me to do
> with as I see fit, under the same license I gave you source code.
> How hard is that to accept?
> I don't ask for money. I don't ask for sexual favors. I don't ask for
> access to the hardware you design and sell. I just ask for the thing I
> gave you: source code that I can use myself.
> I really don't think my "tit-for-tat" or "give back in kind" is that hard
> to understand, is it?
> And no, it's not a new concept. Neither is the fact that I've never agreed
> with the FSF's agenda about "freedom" (as defined by _them_ - I have a
> notion of "freedom" myself, and the FSF doesn't get to define it for me).
> I don't call Linux "Free Software". I haven't called it that for close to
> ten years! Because I think the term "Open Source" is a lot better.
> > The only thing the GPL demands is respect for others' freedoms, as in,
> > "I, the author, respect your freedoms, so you, the licensee, must
> > respect others' freedoms as well".  Is this the "in kind" you're
> > talking about?  Or are you mistaken about the actual meaning of even
> > GPLv2?
> I respect your freedom to design products around Linux. You can do
> whatever you damn well please - I just ask that you give the software back
> in a usable form. That's all I ask for.
> And that's all the GPLv2 asks for.
> Which is why I selected the GPLv2 in the first place, and why I *still*
> think the GPLv2 is a wonderful license!
> So I claim that the "freedoms" that the GPLv2 embodies are *greater* than
> the "freedoms" embodied in the GPLv3.
>                 Linus 
(Leader of the Free World)


Torvalds' home is spacious - a split-level, five-bedroom spread with a 
three-car garage and a backyard Jacuzzi housed in a wooden gazebo. The 
master bedroom affords enviable views of the hills and is so large that 
it contains both an exercise bike and a treadmill (neither of which, 
Torvalds confesses, he ever uses). Another room upstairs, outfitted with 
a pool table, wet bar, and temperature-controlled mini wine cellar, 
serves as his playpen. The home teems with the Linux mascot, from 
porcelain penguins in various sizes to partying penguins on a blue hand 
towel in the guest bathroom. But his favorite toy is a sunburst-yellow 
Mercedes SLK32 sitting in the garage. Still, it's the rear end of the 
black Acura SUV next to it that draws my attention. The faithful can be 
seen up and down Highway 101 in Northern California, driving their 
7-year-old Hondas and used Volvos outfitted with bumper stickers that 
proclaim them Linux rebels. But the gleaming silver license plate frame 
affixed to Tove's car reads: coffee, chocolate, men: some things are 
better rich. 

Torvalds was hardly wealthy his first few years in the Valley. Dotcom 
kids were getting rich on inventions barely worth mentioning in the same 
breath as Linux, yet he was living modestly on his Transmeta salary, his 
growing family cramped in a duplex. People would send him emails 
pleading for a handout, assuming he was as flush as he was famous. A man 
he never met even asked him to deliver the eulogy at his father's 
funeral. Steve Jobs and Bill Joy were among the tech bigwigs who 
contacted him out of the blue. He was idolized by fans and at the same 
time burdened by the practical worries of any Valley-based programmer 
struggling to make ends meet. His mother recalls him fretting about the 
eventual cost of college tuition for his children. 

His fortunes changed in 1999. Red Hat and VA Linux, both leading 
purveyors of Linux-based software packages tailored for large 
enterprises, had granted him stock options with no strings attached, 
thank-yous from entrepreneurs who hoped to grow rich off his creation. 
When Red Hat went public that year, Torvalds was suddenly worth $1 
million. On the day VA Linux (now VA Software) went public, Torvalds was 
worth roughly $20 million, though by the time he could sell his shares, 
they were valued at only a fraction of that. 

Torvalds hesitated before buying himself his first expensive bauble, a 
two-seater BMW convertible. "I was a bit nervous about people's 
reaction," he confesses. "Are they going to think I've gone over to the 
dark side?" In the end he decided that the shape and price of the hunk 
of metal he drove to and from work each day was his own business. 
Despite counsel to the contrary, Torvalds wisely sold all of his stock 
and spent almost all of the windfall on his home and his cars, trusting 
that he'd always be able to earn a good salary as an engineer. 

For the moment, Torvalds has the security of his post at the Open Source 
Development Lab, an organization whose scope and ranks have expanded 
along with Linux. Created in 2000 by a small consortium of major 
technology companies, including Intel and Hewlett-Packard, the OSDL 
aimed to accelerate Linux's adoption by financing well-equipped labs 
where programmers could test software features built specifically for 
the corporate world. Today, the organization has more than two dozen 
employees working in labs in Beaverton, Oregon, and in Yokohama, Japan, 
and 23 sponsoring companies - some of which contribute as much as $1 
million a year. 

"We seek to be the center of gravity for Linux development," says Stuart 
Cohen, who took over as CEO of the lab in April. Working groups staffed 
by employees of member corporations meet regularly to devise wish lists 
meant to tailor Linux for use in new areas, such as global telecom 
networks and high-end servers running the most demanding software 

For Torvalds, a well-paying gig as the lab's first full-time research 
fellow seemed like a dream come true. He'd be able to do what he's 
always done, but without the Transmeta-related obligations that were 
vying for his time. Instead, he started the job just as SCO's McBride 
declared that pretty much anyone using Linux is violating copyright laws 
and ripping off SCO. "With the US legal system, it's always hard to tell 
what the hell is going to happen," Torvalds says. "So I can't just 
dismiss the lawsuit as the complete crapola I think it is." 

Near the end of our day together, Torvalds and I head out in his 
Mercedes to eat at a nearby sushi place, followed by a visit to 
Starbucks. Behind the wheel, Torvalds is manic and possessed, driving 
with such a lead foot that even a brief ride leaves me woozy. "The man 
with the flashy car," says the Starbucks barista who greets Torvalds, 
"the man with the secret wild alter ego." She brings him a tall double 
latte without waiting for him to order. 

Here we finally talk about what Torvalds describes as the 
"unpleasantness" surrounding the SCO suit. The smile that graced his 
face for hours is gone. The man who only 30 minutes ago seemed incapable 
of a bad mood sits slumped in his chair. 




"So now they're going to try the hard work of cracking 'Freedom'. Free, 
well that means stuff you don't pay for" 

    -- Eben Moglen ("Moglen: How we'll kill the Microsoft Novell deal")

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]