Does Linus Torvalds Hate Freedom?

khess 0 Tallied Votes 1K Views Share

According to an ongoing debate over the GPL version 3, he does. How can this be, since Linus Torvalds, creator and chief architect of the Linux kernel, knows about software freedom and free software? He doesn't have a problem with what Richard Stallman refers to as "tivoization," which is the practice of using software available under the terms of a copyleft license but prevents the user/owner from modifying that code through the use of protections. Stallman believes that this is a blatant violation of your freedom. Linus disagrees.

Stallman's argument:

One major danger that GPLv3 will block is tivoization. Tivoization means computers (called “appliances”) contain GPL-covered software that you can't change, because the appliance shuts down if it detects modified software. The usual motive for tivoization is that the software has features the manufacturer thinks lots of people won't like. The manufacturers of these computers take advantage of the freedom that free software provides, but they don't let you do likewise.

Some argue that competition between appliances in a free market should suffice to keep nasty features to a low level. Perhaps competition alone would avoid arbitrary, pointless misfeatures like “Must shut down between 1pm and 5pm every Tuesday”, but even so, a choice of masters isn't freedom. Freedom means you control what your software does, not merely that you can beg or threaten someone else who decides for you.

Torvald's rebuttal:

[Stallman] calls it "tivoization", but that's a word he has made up, and a term I find offensive, so I don't choose to use it. It's offensive because Tivo never did anything wrong, and the FSF even acknowledged that. The fact that they do their hardware and have some DRM issues with the content producers and thus want to protect the integrity of that hardware.
The kernel license covers the *kernel*. It does not cover boot loaders and hardware, and as far as I'm concerned, people who make their own hardware can design them any which way they want. Whether that means "booting only a specific kernel" or "sharks with lasers", I don't care.

Who's right? Well, I hate to say it but they both are. Stallman, however, is more correct.

Stallman is correct when he states that freedoms are restricted when someone uses code that is distributed under a copyleft license, such as the GPL. To me, and to him, this is wrong because you can't use code that is unrestricted and then restrict its use. That violates the license because under the GPL, you must be able to inspect and modify the code, if you choose to. Tivoized devices make this impossible.

Linus is correct when he says that manufacturers can design their devices any which way they want. Where he deviates from accuracy is when he says that the manufacturer can use Linux or any other code that's unrestricted and then restrict it. Manufacturers have choices with which to work that don't include GPL software. Minix, for example, uses a BSD license. A version of Windows or Mac OS would be two other good choices--except there are of course those nasty license fees one would have to pay.

It seems to me that manufacturers want the best of both worlds: They want to use something free but then want to turn around and violate the license by making it impossible for you to exercise that freedom. This is wrong. And I'm surprised that the FSF hasn't taken these manufacturers to task and to court over such practices.

What do you think--do you think that appliances like the TiVo violates the terms of the GPL? What do you think should be done about it?

FreeBooteR 0 Newbie Poster

TiVo got away with what they were doing because of loopholes in the GPL2. Thus the FSF created the GPL3.

Since Linus has no problems with freedoms being restricted, he keeps the Linux kernel under the GPL2.

Member Avatar for josvazg

Freedom is that you can choose to be commercial or opensource, if you choose to be open source you can choose a BSD license (or others), or a GPL one, it depends on how you want to open or restrict the uses of the software by end users and/or developers. The same way software users will choose to use commercial or opensource software depending of their needs and the available options.

Is seems to me that GPL2 has had more success than BSD-like licenses because of the Linux Kernel and its balance between freedom of use and merit safeguarding.

GPL3 seems to be much more restrictive than GPL2 in the part of distributuion, comercialization and development...

Member Avatar for josvazg

... time and competition against commercial sw, BSD-like licenses and GPL2 will tell how succesful/popular or not is the GPL3.

R. Stallman seems to belive that all on GPL3 licenses should be FORBIDEN... what does that have to do with freedom? That sounds Totalitarian to me!

Member Avatar for josvazg

R. Stallman seems to belive that all NON GPL3 licenses should be FORBIDEN... what does that have to do with freedom? That sounds Totalitarian to me!

Member Avatar for ickusslime

what is with the Glen Beck BS question? Totally not needed.

Freedom is to be able to do what you want. Torvalds has no problem with people using linux for anything... Stallman is the one limiting what can be done.

Did Ken Hess cross the line and support print censorship? see how stupid that is?

artooro 0 Newbie Poster

Stallman is the enemy of software freedom. Apparently restricting it so you can only do with the source code what he thinks you should be able to do is "freedom". BS
I'm completely with Torvalds.

youtubeline -1 Newbie Poster

Freedom is to be able to do what you want. Torvalds has no problem with people using linux for anything... Stallman is the one limiting what can be done.thanks for video

Fuck Your 0 Newbie Poster

Stalin, I mean Stallman, is an asshole. Your headline shows that you are also ignorant. Everybody seems to want a piece of Torvalds. No good deed goes unpunished. If you want to understand the FSF and the law suits they piggyback on Linux, like the Busybox blackmail, then watch the movie

linuxvirgin 0 Newbie Poster

I think some of you are misrepresenting freedom...

Yes ... Freedom is to be able to do what you want. This is what GPL2 offer and what Torvalds believe.

But I believe freedom is more than that...I believe ... Freedom is to be able to do what you want as long as it does not infringe on the Freedom of others. Which is what GPL3 offers and what Stallman is proposing. I think too often manufacturers tries to tell end users how they can use what we purchased.

We purchase music on a cd and they tell we cannot listen to it on an mp3 player or computer. We buy cell phones and they limit the features and tell us what we can use. Imagine if you bought a car and you were told you can only use a Michelin tires...They maybe good tires but if I want to use another brand why shouldn't I. Or if Microsoft tells you, you cannot use Firefox on Windows 7.

hmichj 0 Newbie Poster

GPL'd software is MEANT to give you the freedom to modify this software as you please. If someone found a way to circumvent the letter of the agreement then this doesn't make it right to limit your freedom to do whatever you want with free software running on hardware you bought and own.
To approve this "tivoizatoin" (all words are made up one time) is a lawyers mentality.

Member Avatar for josvazg

The real point is that the GPL3 is fine... but so is the the GPL2, the other Opensource licenses AND the commercial licensed software. Costumers will tell whether the agreement/contract/license is fine for them, whether they need (or not) more freedom for the software or appliance they bought.

The point is that RS should NOT try to force Linus to change the kernel from GPL2 to GPL3, moreover when Linus thinks that the current license is more flexible/free for the uses of the kernel.

Freedom is NOT to try to think for the people, but to let them freely choose whatever they find best.

surfinsimba 0 Newbie Poster

It's a simple question with a difficult answer: Who deserves the freedom more - users or producers/manufacturers?

If users have more freedom then producers and manufactures can't keep control of the products they sell/give to their customers.

Otherwise, producers/manufacturers having more freedom ensures that they _should_ earn more money to invest in to further products. I say _should_ because there are free software alternatives that no commercial entity has been able to replicate.

As a last remark, what ever happened to `The customer is always right` ?

cwrinn 0 Newbie Poster

Stallman limits the freedom of users too. Apparently distros like Debian aren't really "free" because they allow users the "option" (read as "freedom") to install "non-free" if they want to. To Stallman, a "free" OS would not give the users this "freedom". Antithetical.

Seten -1 Junior Poster

It is funny, because you agree the license when deploy process occur. So if you don't want, don't do it. Or if you don't like it, don't do it. Freedom is not like you can do anything. Freedom is about having the choice to say no or yes based on the options. The answer is based on your attitude and not requested by someone else. So if an application is under GPLv2, then you have to comply to it, if you are going to use it. If the owner insert into the GPLv2 one or more words, then it is not GPLv2, but another license partly based on GPLv2. Similar goes for GPLv3, EULA,....
Linus is right, that the owner(creator) has the choice to choose his type of license.
Why not add to the application, that this part is under GPLv2 and this part under my own license. The first part like an executable and the second part a library or something like it.

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