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

From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 11:14:22 EST

On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Bernd Petrovitsch wrote:

> On Wed, 2007-06-13 at 23:38 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > On Jun 13, 2007, Daniel Hazelton <dhazelton@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> > > On Wednesday 13 June 2007 19:49:23 Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> >
> > > Exactly. They don't. What TiVO prevents is using that modified version on
> > > their hardware. And they have that right, because the Hardware *ISN'T*
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> BTW as soon as I bought that thing, it is *my* hardware and no longer
> *theirs* (whoever "theirs" was).

You bought *their* design. It was your choice.

And yes, you own the hardware, and you can hack it any which way you like
(modulo laws and any other contracts you signed when you bought it). But
they had the right to design it certain ways, and part of that design may
be making it _harder_ for you to hack.

For example, they may have used glue to put the thing together rather than
standard phillips screws. Or poured resin over some of the chips. All of
which has been done (not necessarily with Linux, but this really is an
issue that has nothing to do with Linux per se). Making the firmware or
hardware harder to access or modify is their choice.

Your choice is whether you buy it, despite the fact that you know it's not
necessarily all that easy to hack.

> > Indeed, TiVO has this legal right. But then they must not use
> Do they? At least in .at, it is usually impossible to (legally) limit
> the rights of the *owner* a (tangible) thing (and if I bought it, I *am*
> the owner and no one else) - even if you put it in the sales contract
> since this is discussion about/within sales law.

The "when I buy it, I own it" argument is a favourite of the GPLv3 shills,
but it's irrelevant. The *design* was done long before you bought it, and
yes, Tivo had the right to design and build it, any which way they wanted

> One usual example is "you buy a car and neither the car producer nor the
> (re)seller can restrict the brands of the tires you may use or the brand
> of the fuel etc.".
> And the same holds for pretty much everything. No one can forbid you to
> open a TV set and fix it (or let it fix by whoever I choose to).

You are missing the picture. Sure, you can do whatever you want to (within
any applicable laws) _after_ you bought it. But that doesn't take away the
right from the manufacturer to design it his way.

And you're also *wrong*. Tivo doesn't limit the brands of electricity it
uses or anything idiotic like that. You can put after-market rubber bumps
on the thing to make it look sleeker, and I seriously doubt that Tivo will
do aythign at all. It's about going into the innards, and different car
manufacturers make that harder too, for various reasons.

If the car manufacturer makes things harder to hack, it's your choice. For
example, car hackers *do* actually prefer certain brands. Apparently the
Subaru's are popular, and German cars are a pain to try to change. I'm
told that even somethign as simple as upgrading the sound system is just
_harder_ in a German car, apparently because they make things fit together
so tightly, that doing after-market cabling is just much more of a

Same goes for things like electronic engine controls. Look it up. Try
chipping a car lately? For some, it's literally buying a chip online, and
some fairly simple work. For others, it's almost impossible, and you have
to take your car in to somebody who really knows what he's doing. And you
know what? Exactly like with a Tivo, the car manufacturer won't have
anything to do with the car afterwards. If you broke it by chipping it,
you voided your warranty.

See? If you are actually looking for a car to hack on, you'd buy a car
with that in mind. Do the exact same thing with your Tivo. Don't buy it if
you want to hack it: buy a Neuros OSD device instead! I'm serious: the
Neuros people do *not* limit you, and in fact they encourage hacking.
Instead of whining about Tivo, do something *positive*, and support Neuros
for their better policies!

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