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

From: Linus Torvalds
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 22:20:43 EST

On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> It's disappointing that I took so much of everyone's time without
> achieving any of my goals.

What do you expect, when you tried to entertain a legal picture of the
GPLv2 that even the FSF counsel doesn't believe in?

I will state one more time: I think that what Tivo did was and is:

(a) perfectly legal wrt the GPLv2 (and I have shown multiple times why
your arguments don't hold logical water - if you actually followed
them yourself, you wouldn't be using a email address!)

(b) not just legally right, but perfectly morally right too (it wasn't
some underhanded "trick" thing - it was following the spirit _and_
the letter of the law)

(c) the only reasonable thing many companies *can* do in the face of laws
and regulations and entities like the RIAA/MPAA.

and you should admit that the fact that the FSF counsel says that it
couldn't sue Tivo in the US, it means that while my standpoint may not be
the _only_ possible one, I'm certainly not "confused" about (a) above.

The (b) and (c) points are not "legal" points, they are about the fact
that quite often, morality and practicality are independent of legality,
and you should never see law as being the *only* thing that matters. So
the reason I bring them up is that it wasn't just "legally ok", they also
had good *reasons* for doing it, and there was no hanky-panky about it!

In fact, I consider Tivo one of the good guys, because they were one of
the few people that had things like the GPLv2 actually printed out and
clearly stated IN THE MAIN PAPER MANUAL. In the very first version of
their box. Without anybody twisting any arms at all.

IOW, Tivo really did everything right. I personally think that they were
even classy about it.

And that's my opinion. THINK about that for a moment. THINK about the fact
that I am the original copyright holder in the main software project they
used, and that I state that as neither having ever gotten paid _or_ owning
any stock what-so-ever in Tivo.

Dammit, if I cannot say that I think what they did was fine, who can?

So pause there for a moment, and really *think* about the above. Stop
seeing Tivo as "the devil".

[ Wait a few seconds here, thinking! ]

Now, we both agree that GPLv3 would change the situation wrt Tivo, don't

[ Wait a few more seconds here, thinking about what that means, taking the
above into consideration ] given that I think that what Tivo did is *fine*, the GPLv3 "solution"
is not a solution at all, is it?

Quite the reverse. It's a unnecessary restriction that doesn't actually
solve anything at all, it just adds problems of its own.

And yet you claim that you cannot understand why I (and others) would
consider the GPLv3 to be a "worse" license. It is *obviously* worse to
anybody who thought that "Tivoization" wasn't a problem in the first

.. but I guess you'll ignore that argument, the way you ignored all the
other ones too, and continue to blame your lack of understanding on me
being "confused" about the issue.

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe linux-kernel" in
the body of a message to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
More majordomo info at
Please read the FAQ at