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Re: [vox-tech] Urgent news: Linux may be relicensed
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Re: [vox-tech] Urgent news: Linux may be relicensed

On Fri, Apr 01, 2005 at 10:48:53AM -0800, Bob Scofield wrote:
> On Friday 01 April 2005 07:32, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> > Urgent breaking news:
> >
> > I can hardly believe it!   CNN is reporting that Linus Torvalds is
> > considering re-licensing Linux under a closed-source license.  There's a
> > huge argument on the Linux Kernel Mailing List right now over the move and
> > many developers have been jumping ship.
> >
> > Linus claims the move to make Linux proprietary stems from differences in
> > open source philosophy between the majority of Linux kernel hackers and
> > GNU's upcoming version 3 of the General Public License.
> >
> > This is AWFUL news!!!
> >
> > I guess we might all have to start installing *BSD pretty soon!   :-(
> >
> I can't find anything about this on the CNN website.  And judging from the two 
> replies to this message I don't know if this is serious.  But as the least 
> informed person on this list about software, I have some questions.

Not to worry; Pete's not serious.

> 1)  Free BSD is not going to be a satisfactory solution, right?  Isn't FreeBSD 
> a rather hierarchally based system?  You wouldn't have the community based 
> involvement with Free BSD that you have in Linux, would you?  And isn't Open 
> BSD run by a near madman?

Well, let's not start a flame-war... Many would say that Mr. Stallman is
a near madman, as well Although Linus is certainly fairly universally
admired for his pragmatism, the GNU General Public License is Stallman's

> 2)  What about this "forking" that people talk about?  If Linus makes Linux 
> closed source, why can't the community continue to develop the existing 
> kernels? 

Short answer: yes; That's why such a rumor as Pete has announced is so
completely laughable. The only thing that could change is that Mr.
Torvalds would not be leading the main development branch; all existing
code is under GPL, and even the Linus-endorsed fork would have to stay
under GPL, as contributors would individually have to re-license their
code otherwise, a *monumental* undertaking. Probably right out

> 3)  At this point in time, what right does Linus Torvalds have to close source 
> Linux?  Does he own the kernel?

He owns the trademark on Linux (r), and the copyright on chunks (although
certainly not all) of the source. 

> 4)  What is HURD?  Is it a potential alternative?

HURD is the GNU attempt to write a kernel to go with the rest of the GNU
toolset. Until recently, it was somewhat limited, although I understand
that it does compile on at least one architecture and provide a kernel
for a full OS there. It is structured completely differently from the Linux
kernel, however. 

> 5)  What is the *argument* on the Linux Kernel Mailing list about, really?  
> None of these people can be supporting this move, can they?

There is no argument. That's the joke. Happy April Fool's Day!

> Bob
Marc Elliot Hall		
P.O. Box 435
Shingle Springs, CA 95682
SS tel: 530-672-8504
Mobile: 530-409-0372
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