The draft of an updated General Public License -- the most widely used free and open-source software license -- was released two weeks ago for what's expected to be a year-long review process. On Wednesday, the software industry got wind of what Linux kernel lead programmer Linus Torvalds had to think.
Bottom line: he's not thrilled with it, notably provisions meant to prevent the use of digital rights management (DRM) technology in GPL software. The proposed anti-DRM measures are so problematic that Linus said that he does not intend to move from GPL version 2 to version 3.
Torvalds' comments catalyzed more discussion the GPL draft and some deep thinking on what role DRM should play in software, if at all.
Blog community response:
"Because (my TiVo) employs DRM in various forms, however, it is presumably incompatible with GPLv3 - and therefore would be unable to employ the Linux kernel it does today. That outcome, to me, is but one example of how the draft license - IMO, only - is overly aggressive in its aims. I doubt this provision will be removed, but it's nonetheless interesting to contemplate how seriously the FSF will take the objections of Linus.
"Linus seems to think you have to turn over your private key, such as one might use to sign off on code. That's not my understanding of the clause about DRM at all. I see no wording saying that. Of course, I'm still getting up to speed myself on the GPLv3. My current understanding of the DRM clause is just that if you can't run a program without a private key, you have to be given the key. And no invasions of user privacy are allowed."
"Linus apparently doesn't feel like converting any of his code. Hey. the man's got a day job now."