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

From: Michael Poole
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 10:33:18 EST

Ingo Molnar writes:

> this is largely irrelevant to my argument: the FSF is clearly trying to
> extend the scope of the GPL to restrict the distribution of certain
> hardware+software combinations. The FSF is not really arguing that the
> boundary between software and hardware is diffuse. (which btw. it
> clearly is) The FSF simply wants to be able to say via the GPLv3: "to be
> able to distribute GPL-ed software, the hardware is required to do this
> and this".

Most people arguing for the expansive interpretation do not really
care what hardware is combined with what software. They care about
the ability for the user (in the GPLv2's terms, someone who receives
GPL'ed software) to have comparable ability to modify and
(re-)distribute the software as the software distributor does. The
issue of GPLed software on DRMed hardware applies equally to digital
video recorders, where the hardware and software distributor are
usually the same, and video game consoles, where they are not.

There is no good reason to treat a "GPL-incompatible" hardware
platform (for example, incompatible due to restrictions on the keys to
generate digital signatures) differently than a "GPL-incompatible"
patent area. If a software distributor cannot simultaneously comply
with the GPL and his other obligations, he should either not
distribute the software or be prepared to face the liability from
breaching his obligations.

Michael Poole
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