Linux creator no fan of new GPL license

Linus Torvalds continues to question the need for GPLv3

Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, remains unimpressed with a proposed update to the license that governs the open-source operating system and has no plans to adopt it for the Linux kernel.

The Free Software Foundation Inc. (FSF) issued the second draft of the GNU general public license version 3 (GPLv3) last week. After a period of public debate and feedback on the initial draft, released in January, it was substantially rewritten to tone down and clarify the relationship between free software and DRM (digital rights management) technology.

Following the January release of GPLv3 Draft 1, Torvalds stated publicly that he didn't expect the Linux kernel, a key component of the operating system, would move to GPLv3 given the limitations of the proposed DRM provisions. His position hasn't changed after reviewing the new second draft.

"I don't actually see any real fundamental changes there, and it all seems to boil down to the same meaning in the end," Torvalds wrote in an e-mail interview. "The FSF is trying to make some things no longer permissible under the GPLv3 that the GPLv2 left open, and I just happen to think that those things were better off being left open."

The second draft of GPLv3 doesn't forbid the implementation of digital rights management features outright, but instead prohibits third parties from employing technical means to limit users' abilities to use or modify software covered by the GPL.

Torvalds continues to question the need for GPLv3, which will be the first major revision to the license in 15 years.

"I think the main issue to be resolved is just who wants the GPLv3 in the first place, and I think that will be for each project to decide," he wrote.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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