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A new interview with Torvalds

Here are some quotes on GPL:

I try to always be pragmatic, and the fact that I think the GPLv3 is not as good a licence as the GPLv2 is not a ‘black and white’ question. It’s a balancing act. And if there are other advantages to the GPLv3, maybe those other advantages would be big enough to tilt the balance in favour of the GPLv3.

Q: 386BSD, from which NetBSD, FreeBSD and OpenBSD were derived, was there well before Linux, but Linux spread much more than 386BSD and its derivatives. How much of this do you attribute to the choice of the licence and how much to the development process you chose? Don’t you think that the GPLv3 protects the freedom that has bred Linux better than the BSDs till now, more than the GPLv2 can? — Tiziano Mosconi from Italy.

Linus: I think there’s both a licence issue, and a community and personality issue. The BSD licences always encouraged forking, but also meant that if somebody gets really successful and makes a commercial fork, you cannot necessarily join back. And so even if that doesn’t actually happen (and it did, in the BSD cases — with BSDi), people can’t really ‘trust’ each other as much.

In contrast, the GPLv2 also encourages forking, but it not only encourages the branching off part, it also encourages (and ‘requires’) the ability to merge back again. So now you have a whole new level of trust: you ‘know’ that everybody involved will be bound by the licence, and won’t try to take advantage of you.

One Comment

  1. amatoori wrote:

    Same source but some other words too:

    “In other words, I just think the GPLv3 is too petty and selfish. I think the GPLv2 has a great balance between ‘freedom’ and ‘trust’. It’s not as free as the BSD licences are, but it gives you peace of mind in return, and matches what I consider ‘tit-for-tat’: I give source code, you give me source code in return.

    The GPLv3 tries to control the ‘use’ of that source code. Now it’s, “I give you my source code, so if you use it, you’d better make your devices hackable by me.” See? Petty and small-minded, in my opinion.”

    Sunday, August 26, 2007 at 11:50 am | Permalink

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