Re: GPLv3 Position Statement

From: James Bottomley
Date: Sat Sep 30 2006 - 01:12:38 EST

On Fri, 2006-09-29 at 13:08 +0100, Sanjoy Mahajan wrote:
> > However, once they comply with the distribution requirements,
> > they're free to do whatever they want with the resulting OS in their
> > printer ... including checking for only HP authorised ink
> > cartridges. You can take exception to this check and not buy the
> > resulting printer, but you can't tell them not to do the check
> > without telling them how they should be using the embedded platform.
> I don't see where the GPLv3 forbids such checks. Which section are
> you thinking of? In my understanding, it says only that HP must give
> users the keys to install modified software. From section 1 (of the
> July draft):

This was an illustration of the difference between use and distribution.
I don't claim GPLv3 limits these activities; I was just using the
example I was given.

> The Corresponding Source also includes any encryption or
> authorization keys necessary to install and/or execute modified
> versions from source code in the recommended or principal context of
> use, such that they can implement all the same functionality in the
> same range of circumstances.
> So the user, having the keys, can remove the cartridge check. HP
> might not like it and may choose not to distribute GPLv3 software with
> the printer, but that's a separate story.

Under GPLv3, yes. That's one of the fulcrums of the argument. As one
of the copyright holders, I don't want to get into the business of
dictating terms for uses to which linux (or other open source software)
is put. I fundamentally don't want to require in the copyright licence
that device manufacturers using embedded linux have to give me the key.
I'd love to persuade them why modifiable hardware is a good thing
(linksys WRT54GL) and give them market reasons for allowing it. But I
don't want to compel them. The pragmatic reason is that to impose
compulsion I have to forsee all the end uses (this is why we get
drafting issues with the GPLv3). However, the moral reason is that I
believe this type of compulsion to be wrong in principle: it acts as a
damper on innovation if everyone has to keep looking over their shoulder
and considering what my wishes might be in software they use.
Fundamentally, I want people to do things I never even dreamed of with
my software.


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