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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "I'm intelligent"


From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Linus: "I'm intelligent"
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 23:42:37 +0200

Linus Torvalds wrote:
> 
> On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >
> > On Jun 14, 2007, Linus Torvalds <address@hidden> wrote:
> >
> > >  - I chose the GPLv2, fully understanding that the Tivo kind of
> > >  situation is ok.
> >
> > Wow, do you remember the date when you first thought of this business
> > model?
> 
> You know what? I'm intelligent. That's what you call people who see th
> consequences of their actions. I didn't see the *details* of what all the
> GPLv2 could result in, but yes, I claim that I knew what I was setting
> myself up for (in a license way) pretty much from the beginning.
> 
> Did it take me by surprise how people actually ended up using Linux? It
> sure did. But has the GPLv2 itself ever surprised me? Not really. I read
> it back then, and yes, I understood what it meant.
> 
> From the very beginning of Linux, even before I chose the GPLv2 as the
> license, the thing I cared about was that source code be freely available.
> That was the first license, but more importantly, it was why I started
> Linux in the first place - my frustrations with Minix, and my memories of
> how painful it was to find an OS that I wanted to use and work with.
> 
> (That, btw, was not Minix-only: I actually originally was thinking about
> literally buying a commercial Unix for my PC too. The price factor kept me
> away from the commercial unixes, and in retrospect I'm obviously very
> happy).
> 
> So my first goal was "source must be available and it must be free (as
> in beer)". Which my first copyright license reflects very directly.
> 
> What happened a few months into the thing was that some people actually
> wanted to make floppy images of Linux available to Linux users groups, but
> they didn't want to have to actually *fund* the floppies and their work
> themselves, so they wanted to sell them at cost (which the first license
> actually didn't allow!).
> 
> And I realized that the money angle really wasn't what I ever really cared
> about. I cared about availability, but people sure could get paid for
> their effort in distributing the thing, as long as the source code
> remained open. I didn't want money, I didn't want hardware, I just wanted
> the improvements back.
> 
> So given that background, which license do you _think_ I should have
> chosen?
> 
> And given that background, do you see why the GPLv2 is _still_ better than
> the GPLv3? I don't care about the hardware. I'll use it, but it's not what
> Linux is all about. Linux is about something much bigger than any
> individual device.
> 
> And yeah, maybe I'm just better at abstracting things. Maybe I prefer
> seeing the big picture, and that the individual devices don't matter. What
> matters is the improvement in the *software*, because while each physical
> device is a one-off thing, in the long term, it's the *development* that
> matters.
> 
> And the GPLv2 protects that.
> 
> It's a bit like evolution: individual organisms matter to *themselves* and
> to their immediate neighborhood, but in the end, the individuals will be
> gone and forgotten, and what remains is the development.
> 
> In those terms, I care about the DNA, and the *process* or recombination
> and the bigger picture. Any individual organism? Not so much. It's all
> part of a much bigger tapestry, and closed hardware is more like an eunuch
> (or a worker bee): it won't pass on its legacy, but it might help the
> people who do.
> 
> So instead of thinking of Tivo as something "evil", I think of Tivo as the
> working bee who will never pass on its genes, but it actually ended up
> helping the people who *do* pass on their genes: the kernel (to a small
> degree - not so much because of the patches themselves, as the *mindshare*
> in the PVR space) and projects like MythTV (again, not so much because of
> any patches, but because it helped grow peoples understanding of the
> problem space!).
> 
> Let's take another example: BitKeeper. The FSF follower people seem to
> view BitKeeper as something "evil". To me, BitKeeper was not just a great
> tool, but it also ended up being something that showed others how things
> *could* be done. And the world - including the open source world - is a
> better place for it!
> 
> See? In the big picture, individual devices and even projects won't
> matter. In a hundred years, I'll be long dead, and nobody will care. But
> in a hundred years, I hope that the "live and let live" open source
> mentality will still flourish, and maybe "Linux" itself won't live on, but
> some of the memories and impact may. And *that* is what matters.
> 
> A Tivo? It's just a toy. Who cares? It's not important. But source code
> that evolves? THAT can change the world!
> 
>                         Linus

regards,
alexander.

--
"Live cheaply," he said, offering some free advice. "Don't buy a house,
a car or have children. The problem is they're expensive and you have
to spend all your time making money to pay for them."

        -- Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman: 'Live Cheaply'


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