June 11, 2007

Torvalds on GPLv3 final draft

Author: Joe Barr

The GPLv3 debates are drawing to a close. By the end of the year, it may have become reality. Whether or not the Linux kernel team will adopt the new license, however is still up for debate. Linus Torvalds is not as fervently anti-GPLv3 as he was in earlier renditions of the license, but he still isn't ready to support a wholesale move to it, either.Writing on the Linux Kernel Developers mailing list yesterday, Torvalds responded when a developer wrote that he (Torvalds) "was quite impressed with the toned down version of the final draft of GPLv3."

I was impressed in the sense that it was a hell of a lot better than the
disaster that were the earlier drafts.

I still think GPLv2 is simply the better license.

I consider dual-licensing unlikely (and technically quite hard), but at
least _possible_ in theory. I have yet to see any actual *reasons* for
licensing under the GPLv3, though. All I've heard are shrill voices about
"tivoization" (which I expressly think is ok) and panicked worries about
Novell-MS (which seems way overblown, and quite frankly, the argument
seems to not so much be about the Novell deal, as about an excuse to push
the GPLv3).

In a follow-on message, Torvalds commented on the possibility of Sun licensing OpenSolaris under GPLv3:

Btw, if Sun really _is_ going to release OpenSolaris under GPLv3, that
_may_ be a good reason. I don't think the GPLv3 is as good a license as
v2, but on the other hand, I'm pragmatic, and if we can avoid having two
kernels with two different licenses and the friction that causes, I at
least see the _reason_ for GPLv3. As it is, I don't really see a reason at

I personally doubt it will happen, but hey, I didn't really expect them to
open-source Java either(*), so it's not like I'm infallible in my


(*) And I've been pushing for that since before they even released it - I
walked out on Bill Joy at a private event where they discussed their
horrible previous Java license.


  • Legal
Click Here!