[discuss] Reuters: Novell could be banned from selling Linux:
etienne.goyer at outlands.ca
Tue Feb 13 09:02:35 EST 2007
Russell McOrmond wrote:
> 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.
Another fine example of binary worldview and oversimplification.
Source code cannot be anything else than a mean to an end. That's
obvious even to the "Open-Source" camp.
>> 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.
Basically, you are predicting the imminent death of the general-purpose
computing device. I think you are very much wrong on this one, but I do
not feel like arguing these kind of wild speculations.
I do agree that we should not protect hardware manufacturers to
lock-down their computing/communication devices. But if you are basing
your support for Corresponding Source provision of the GPLv3 on the
assumption that it would make any difference in this trend, you are very
misguided. If the GPLv3 ever get enacted with that provision,
manufacturer will simply side-step it by not using software licensed
under the GPLv3, and we are back at square 1.
> 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.
Read that again : "If the *hardware* disallows the owner from making
their own software choice [...snip...], then by definition [...snip...]
that *software* is not Free software." This does not parse.
> In the case of the GPLv2 it is a legal loophole, while under the GPLv3
> it will be a violation of the license agreement.
Of the *software* license agreement, which is the crux of the problem.
> 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.
And it's naive to believe that the Corresponding Source clause of the
GPLv3 will change anything on the subject. Manufacturer of crippled
hardware will simply not ship them bundled with software licensed under
the GPLv3. Thus, the Corresponding Source clause of the GPLv3 will not
do anything toward protecting the public from crippled hardware.
Etienne Goyer 0x3106BCC2
"For Bruce Schneier, SHA-1 is merely a compression algorithm."
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