Linus Torvalds wakes up on the wrong side of the bed

Linus Torvalds is in a bit of a rage as to the politics of GPLv3, and writes accordingly.

Linus is in a dither about apparent Free Software Foundation politics that remain in GPLv3:

You claim that I "misunderstood" the"spirit of the GPL".

Dammit, the GPL is a license....

The beauty of the GPLv2 is exactly that it's a "tit-for-tat" license, and you can use it without having to drink the kool-aid.

I've said that over and over again. It's the "spirit of the GPLv2". It's what has made it such a great license, that lots of people (and companies) can use, is very fundamentally that it's fair....

I'm damn fed up with the FSF being the "protector of freedoms", and also feeling that they can define what those freedoms mean.

I agree with Linus that the GPL has been effective precisely because it doesn't require licensees to buy into the politics and religion allegedly behind open source. They simply have to abide by the terms of the license.

Now, importantly, to truly buy into those terms it's often necessary to at least have some of the same leanings (political or otherwise) as the FSF, but the license doesn't require this. It only requires compliance-in-action, not compliance-in-philosophy. This is why I continue to believe that Microsoft should be the GPL's biggest adherent - it actually fits well with how the company would prefer to do business.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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