UK Linux guru backs GPL 3

Linus Torvalds may have his doubts, but Alan Cox is supporting the next version of the GPL

Alan Cox, a leading UK Linux developer, has expressed his support for the next version of the GPL.

The first public draft of GPL 3 was released a couple of weeks ago, with a final version due by spring 2007.

Cox told ZDNet UK that he thinks many of the changes in GPL 3 are sound: "The majority of it looks very sensible, such as letting copyright information be displayed in an About box, rather than relying on command line instructions [as is the case in GPL 2]. Some of the more contentious stuff has sensibly been made optional," he said, in an interview with ZDNet UK.

"One of the other nice things is the work to make the GPL compatible with other licences. That's really important — it will allow people to share more code," Cox added.

His viewpoint is in direct contradiction to Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux, who said last week that he won't convert Linux to GPL 3 as he objects to its proposed digital rights management (DRM) provisions.

Cox said that the DRM provisions "don't really matter" to the Linux kernel as DRM is generally used by applications.

The full interview with Cox, where he also discussed the Sony rootkit fiasco, software patents, the kernel development process and Linux on the desktop, can be read here.