No GPL 3 for Linux

Anti-DRM language makes new draft a nonstarter for Torvalds.
Written by ZDNet UK, Contributor

Linux won't switch to GPL version 3, the draft of which was just released by Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman, if Linus Torvalds has anything to do with it, News.com reports. Torvalds objects to the "highly agressive" stance the new license takes against digital rights management. In introductory langauge, the draft license says:

Some countries have adopted laws prohibiting software that enables users to escape from Digital Restrictions Management. DRM is fundamentally incompatible with the purpose of the GPL, which is to protect users' freedom; therefore, the GPL ensures that the software it covers will neither be subject to, nor subject other works to, digital restrictions from which escape is forbidden.

Torvalds takes an agnostic approach to what people do with Linux.

Torvalds' position is not a surprise. In a 2003 posting to the kernel mailing list, the Linux founder explicitly opened the door to DRM.

"I also don't necessarily like DRM myself," Torvalds wrote. "But...I'm an 'Oppenheimer,' and I refuse to play politics with Linux, and I think you can use Linux for whatever you want to--which very much includes things I don't necessarily personally approve of."

Torvalds founded the Linux project in 1991, the same year the current GPL version 2 was released, and is still its leader. His kernel project dovetailed with work Stallman had already began to create a free clone of Unix, called Gnu's Not Unix (GNU). Because of that combination, the Free Software Foundation prefers the entire operating system be called GNU/Linux--though it has other important components, such as the Xorg graphics system, that come from other groups.

The reality is that Linux's copyrights are spread out over more than 100 independent developers and finding them all, and getting them all agree to a switch to GPL 3 would be extremely difficult. That's a moot point without Torvalds blessing in any case.  

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