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

From: Bernd Paysan
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 07:28:27 EST

On Thursday 14 June 2007 12:38, Ingo Molnar wrote:
> that's fine, but the fundamental question is: where is the moral
> boundary of the power that the copyright license gives? The FSF seems to
> believe "nowhere, anything that copyright law allows us to achieve our
> goals is a fair game" - and the GPLv3 shows that belief. I dont
> subscribe to that view. I think the proper limit is the boundary where
> the limit of the software is - because that's the only sane and globally
> workable way to stop the power-hungry. I.e. the information we produce
> is covered by the rules of the GPL. It might be used in ways
> inconvenient to us, it might be put on hardware we dont like (be that a
> Tivo, a landmine or an abortion instrument) but that does not change the
> fundamental fact: it's outside the _moral scope_ of our power.

Where is the boundary between hard- and software? I'm employed as hardware
designer, and for this purpose, I write programs in a hardware description
language, which can be converted into hardware through a synthesis
software. I write firmware, which is assembled into binary and gets placed
on on-chip memory (ROM or NVM). I've even studied computer science, and
electric engineering was just a side-course. I know how transistors work,
and how gates are implemented in terms of transistors, but in essense, it's
not that relevant unless you want to do analog circuits. Usually, during
the development phase, we put the Verilog into an FPGA, where the
configuration file still is obviously "software" in any sense it can be.
I've even released descriptions of some parts of the work I do under GPL
for people to put it into their own FPGAs.

There is no boundary between hard- and software in the sense of that
hardware is something fundamentally different. Hardware is just another way
to implement programs, and it uses other languages (but SystemC even looks
quite close to C). If there is a boundary, it's way below the distinction
between a Tivo and a PC, because these two basically consist of a
processor, some RAM, some flash, a harddisk, and a video driver.

What's true: We don't have the moral power to define *where* the software
goes, but we have the moral power to define *how* users can change the
software when they own the hardware (the physical representation).

Bernd Paysan
"If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself"

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