"HP has released AdvFS, a file system that was developed by Digital Equipment Corp and continues to be part of HP's Tru64 operating system," announced Xose Vazquez Perez, offering a link to the re-licensed source code. 2.4 maintainer Willy Tarreau replied favorably, "wow! That's awesome. I discovered it in 1999 and 9 years later, it probably remains the most advanced FS I encountered." HP's Linda Knippers explained:
"In case its not clear, this is a GPLv2 technology release, not an actual port to Linux. We're hoping that the code and documentation will be helpful in the development of new file systems for Linux that will provide similar capabilities, and perhaps used to make tweaks to existing file systems."
Interesting features found in AdvFS include, "simplified file system and storage management; flexible multi-device storage pools shared by multiple file systems, with or without a volume manager; exceptional file system availability (no need to take file systems off-line to expand, shrink or reconfigure; snapshots for consistent backups while applications are on-line; ability to recover deleted files); wide range of performance management tools (fine grain control over file system and file placement within the storage pool; on-line rebalancing of files and free space across the storage pool; on-demand or background file and file system defragmentation); and transaction log management, allowing choices for logging metadata and data asynchronously or synchronously."
"I've decided to change the copyright to have the same set of rules as the GNU copyleft - I got some mail asking about it, and I agree."
"There are no 'persons responsible for defending the kernel GPL', there are just a few hundreds or thousands copyright holders of the kernel, and each of them has the right to sue you if he thinks you distribute something that violates his copyright," Adrian Bunk responded in a recent discussion about the legality of linking to GPL'd code in embedded applications. He added, "jurisdiction and applicable copyright law depends on things like where the copyright holder lives and where you distribute it." When it was asked how the constraints of a given piece of hardware might affect the interpretation of the GPL, Theodore T'so explained:
"At the end of the day it all boils down to what is a derived work. If an object file which is designed to link into a kernel is a derived work, then the GPL claims that it will infect across to that derived work. Whether or not it this is a case is a matter of much debate, and as far as I know, no court has ever ruled on point regarding the question of object files, dynamical linking, and whether or not that would be a derived work or not. It seems likely that the answer may vary from one legal jurisdiction to another. Hence, the only answer that we can give which is useful is, 'Take this off of LKML, and go ask a lawyer.'"
Mark Mitchell announced the availability of GCC 4.2.1 saying, "GCC 4.2.1 is a bug-fix release, containing fixes for regressions in GCC 4.2.0 relative to previous GCC releases." He went on to note that future versions of GCC will be released under a new license, "GCC 4.2.1 will be the last release of GCC covered by version 2 of the GNU General Public License. All future releases will be released under GPL version 3."
"OpenBSD is free as in air," Theo de Raadt [interview] stated in a recent thread on the OpenBSD -misc mailing list. The discussion began with a note that the Open Sound System [story] had recently been "open sourced" under the GPLv2 and CDDL leading Theo to comment, "noone cares about being Open and Free anymore. They just care about being called Open and Free, and how convenient -- a bunch of laywers generated an organization that will label them Open and Free when they are not in fact so."
Later in the discussion it was asked why the OpenBSD project used the BSD license rather than simply releasing the code into the Public Domain. Theo explained, "we wish to retain the legal right to be known as the author, and not have our names taken off the files. With public domain, that stuff at the top of the file is taken away first, before anything else is done," noting that this is explained in the license at the top of each file, "just that bit; nothing else."
"I was impressed in the sense that it was a hell of a lot better than the disaster that were the earlier drafts," Linus Torvalds explained in reply to a comment suggesting that he was impressed with the final draft of the GPLv3. He went on to add, "I still think GPLv2 is simply the better license." The discussion began with a suggestion that the Linux kernel be dual-licensed GPLv2 and GPLv3. Linus noted, "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 followup email, Linus added:
"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 all."
Linux creator Linus Torvalds posted an email titled, "An Ode to GPLv2" examining why he feels the GPLv2 is such a great license as an alternative way to look at the GPLv3 debate [story]. "This post is kind of another way to look at the whole GPLv3 issues," Linus explains, "not caring so much about why the GPLv3 is worse, but a much more positive 'Why the GPLv2 is _better_'." Following a lengthy preamble to explain his stance, Linus includes a comment originally posted to a Groklaw article titled GPL Upheld in Germany Against D-Link.
His Groklaw comment is in reply to a number of concerns including that the GPLv2 doesn't get specific, doesn't provide patent protection, and ignores DRM. "That's why the GPLv2 is so great," Linus replies, "exactly because it doesn't bother or talk about anything else than the very generic issue of 'tit-for-tat'." Linus explains that when he replaced his original license with the GPLv2 [story], he did it because he was looking for something that was fair. "And that's what the GPLv2 is. It's 'fair'. It asks everybody - regardless of circumstance - for the same thing. It asks for the effort that was put into improving the software to be given back to the common good. You can use the end result any way you want (and if you want to use it for 'bad' things, be my guest), but we ask the same exact thing of everybody - give your modifications back."
James Bottomley posted an article to the lkml titled, "The Dangers and Problems with GPLv3" authored by ten of the most active Linux kernel developers. The paper begins by examining the GPLv2's role in the success of the Linux kernel, then goes on to point out some potential flaws in the upcoming GPLv3. Specific issues are raised with the DRM clauses in the license, "while we find the use of DRM by media companies in their attempts to reach into user owned devices to control content deeply disturbing, our belief in the essential freedoms of section 3 forbids us from ever accepting any licence which contains end use restrictions", the additional restrictions clause, "the additional restrictions section in the current draft makes GPLv3 a pick and choose soup of possible restrictions which is going to be a nightmare for our distributions to sort out legally and get right", and the patents provisions, "as drafted, this currently looks like it would potentially jeopardise the entire patent portfolio of a company simply by the act of placing a GPLv3 licensed programme on their website." The document concludes, "the three key objections noted in section 5 are individually and collectively sufficient reason for us to reject the current licence proposal. However, we also note that the current draft with each of the unacceptable provisions stripped out completely represents at best marginal value over the tested and proven GPLv2."
The resulting discussion included a number of clarifications from Linux creator Linus Torvalds. When it was suggested that he should have specifically retained the right to modify the licensing of the entire kernel he pointed out that things work better as they are with nobody firmly in charge, "remember: the perfect is the enemy of the good. Asking for things that are perfect 'in theory' usually just results in things that are horrible 'in practice'. So not having anybody in charge could _in_theory_ cause problems. But _in_practice_ it's a hell of a lot better than somebody that people need to worry about." He also stressed that the Linux kernel is not a Free Software Foundation project, "I personally have always been very clear about this: Linux is 'Open Source'. It was never a FSF project, and it was always about giving source code back and keeping it open, not about anything else." He further clarified, "the whole 'Open Source' renaming was done largely _exactly_ because people wanted to distance themselves from the FSF. The fact that the FSF and it's followers refused to accept the name 'Open Source', and continued to call Linux 'Free Software' is not _our_ fault."
Richard Stallman founded the GNU Project in 1984, and the Free Software Foundation in 1985. He also originally authored a number of well known and highly used development tools, including the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), the GNU symbolic debugger (GDB) and GNU Emacs.
To better understand Richard Stallman and the GNU project, I recommend you begin by reviewing their philosophy page. On it you will find a wealth of information.
We began this interview via email, but later had to finish by telephone after Richard Stallman fell and broke his arm. He was kind enough to speak with me at length, discussing his first contact with computers, his time in the AI lab, the current state of the GNU Hurd, his current role in the Free Software Foundation, the problems with non-free software, and much more. The following words offer much insight into how we got here, and what challenges we still face.