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Torvalds attacks new open source licence proposals

Linus Torvalds, originator of the open source operating system Linux, has criticised the Free Software Foundation following the launch of a new draft of the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3).

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Linus Torvalds, originator of the open source operating system Linux, has criticised the Free Software Foundation following the launch of a new draft of the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3).

The second discussion draft of the GPLv3 was published last week by the Free Software Foundation and the Software Freedom Law Center. The licence is expected to be adopted by open source software developers.

But in comments on the Groklaw.net website, Torvalds suggested that the Free Software Foundation was posturing as a guardian of “freedom” rather than producing a “fair” licence that would allow developers and companies to offer source code on a “quid pro quo” basis.

“The reason for the GPL, as far as the FSF is concerned, was never ‘fairness’. It was all about a higher calling, and about something that the FSF thinks is much bigger – ‘freedom’,” he wrote.

“I disagree. I think that ‘freedom’ is fine, but we're not exactly talking about slavery here. Trying to make it look like we're the Abraham Lincoln of our generation just makes us look stupid and stuck up.”

Torvalds added that the GPLv3 would no longer work as a “fair” system. “It's purely a firebrand, and only good for the extremist policies of the FSF. It's no longer a nice balance that a lot of people can accept, and that a lot of companies can stand behind once you explain it to them,” he said.

In January, Torvalds attacked an earlier GPLv3 draft over provisions covering Digital Rights Management (DRUM) technology.

 

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