Torvalds Says Linux May Follow Solaris with GPL v3
Published: June 19, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
It is tough to get praise out of the supergeeks in the open source community, especially when a bunch of them don't agree on a particular technology or approach to solving a problem. And so it is with the GNU General Public License v3, which was submitted in a final draft form and is now being debated, once again, by the open source community and the commercial ventures that make money off open source software indirectly.
Linus Torvalds, who is more famous than Richard Stallman because Torvalds has an operating system named after him, has weighed in from time to time on the GPL v3 debate, and did so again last week in a posting on a newslist where Linux kernel nerds hang out. Thus far, Torvalds has been content to use the earlier v2 license on Linux, and has not been keen on moving the kernel to the v3 license. In one posting, someone said that Torvalds was impressed by the "toned down" final draft of the v3 license. To which Torvalds quipped:
"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)."
Torvalds went on to say in a follow-on posting that if Sun Microsystems was going to eventually license OpenSolaris, the open source variant of the commercialized Solaris Unix platform, under the GPL v3 license, then this may be a good enough reason to shift Linux to the v3 license. "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 all."
He also conceded that he would have never predicted that Java would be open sourced under the GPL v2 license, and Sun did that. So stranger things have happened.
Like Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's president and chief executive officer, inviting Torvalds to his house for dinner to hash out the GPL v3 issues. Schwartz has offered to cook if Torvalds brings the wine. Might I suggest a bottle of Little Penguin Shiraz, from Australia?
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