Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3

From: Daniel Hazelton
Date: Wed Jun 13 2007 - 23:04:49 EST

On Wednesday 13 June 2007 22:04:04 Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jun 13, 2007, Daniel Hazelton <dhazelton@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > Still doesn't explain why you have argued that the GPLv3 doesn't
> > attempt to cover hardware and then provide proof that it does.
> It doesn't cover hardware, in the same way that it doesn't cover
> patents, and it doesn't cover pro-DRM laws. It merely arranges, as
> best as we've managed a copyright license to do, that they can't be
> used as excuses (or tools) to disrespect the freedoms that the GPL
> demands all licensees to respect for other users.

Consider this scenario:
Small company A is manufacturing a new WiFi router.
They decide to have it run HURD as the OS.
In complying with the GPLv3 they supply the signing keys and everything else
needed to install a new kernel on the hardware.
User B buys the router and modifies the kernel so it drives the WiFi to an
output power twice that which it is licensed to carry.
FCC finds out and prosecutes User B for violating the regulations.
FCC then pulls the small companies license until they change their hardware so
the driver can't push it to transmit at a higher power level and levies a
Small company A loses the money paid on the fine, has to recall all the
devices that can be modified (through software) to break the law at a massive
cost *AND* has to redesign their hardware. The total cost drives the company
into bankruptcy.

Small companies C,D and E, in order to avoid the fate of small company A,
purchases a license for proprietary OS "F" to drive their new hardware.

Net loss: A lot of the users and publicity that "Free Software" used to get,
because GPLv3 contains language that opens the companies to lawsuits that
they wouldn't otherwise face.

Which is better: Growing the base of installed GPL covered software,
or "ethics and morals" that demand the language that has been added to the
GPLv3 ? Personally I'd like to see proprietary software driven into a very
small "niche" market or entirely out of existence. However much I want this
to happen, I cannot be anything *BUT* scared of the GPLv3 simply because I
see it creating massive problems - and all because of a *small* portion of
the new language it contains. It has taken almost 15 years for "Free
Software" to make a dent in the market, and, IMHO, a lot of that is both
Linux and the "holes" in GPLv2.


Dialup is like pissing through a pipette. Slow and excruciatingly painful.
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