[discuss] Reuters: Novell could be banned from selling Linux:
russell at flora.ca
Mon Feb 12 22:28:00 EST 2007
Etienne Goyer wrote:
> Source code is source code, it's not tied to a specific machine.
Worrying about source code, rather than freedom, is one of the key
distinctions between the Open Source and Free Software movements. The
Free Software movement considers source code to be a tool towards a
goal, not a goal unto itself.
> There is nothing "mythical" about the ability to run code on any
> machine you choose. What exactly stop me to port the GPL'ed software
> TiVO distribute to my own machine ?
There is something "mythical" about the presumption that you will
always be able to either build of buy a machine that is not locked down
to disallow you from making your own software choices. Laws are
changing worldwide to legally protect this lock-down, effectively
revoking most of the historical property rights in communications
technology that included the right of the owner to make software choices.
Fundamental to having any software freedom is to be able to purchase
hardware where the owner is able to choose what software is installed on
it. If the hardware disallows the owner from making their own software
choices (including to run modified versions of FLOSS, etc), then by
http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html that software is not
Free Software. If the original software was under a Copyleft license,
and yet the way it is distributed doesn't qualify as Free Software, then
eithor the distributor is violating the license or there is a legal
loophole in the license.
In the case of the GPLv2 it is a legal loophole, while under the GPLv3
it will be a violation of the license agreement.
The only leverage the Free Software movement has to ensure that we can
always buy hardware that will protect software freedom is the value of
our software. In my mind it is impractical (and a bit naive) to not
try to leverage that software to protect software freedom from hardware
manufacturers trying to revoke that freedom. That understanding of the
problem is fortunately shared by the FSF, and they are upgrading the
license to deal with this major problem.
If not a GPLv3 then there will have been some non-GPL license that
will have been authored to deal with this problem, and many people who
agree that this is a problem would be using the license. I think people
are distracted by the fact that it is the GPL that is this license, but
also distracted by the conversations from the Linux kernel team that
can't use this license anyway (no matter what it is called) as they have
locked themselves into the GPLv2.
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property
rights as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition!
"The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or
portable media player from my cold dead hands!"
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