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Joergen Ramskov

Why do believe that the Linux kernel will start using GPLv3? All the writings I have seen from many of the high profile kernel developers say the opposite. No doubt many programs will switch to GPLv3, but the kernel is quite unlikely to switch.

Sam Hiser

I think they will eventually switch. You cite hear-say.

Let me qualify that: someone inclined toward v3 will eventually replace the code of stubborn developers. Or, after a time there will be no benefit to individual developers for holding out on v2. It will gradually become more meaningless to stick to v2.

Linus said he can see it happening; Alan Cox, for one, is on the record endorsing v3.

If you read the Linux Kernel Mailing List ("LKML"), most developers don't seem to care and are working away. There are earnest questions and technical scenarios being discussed (vis "what happens if...?" or "it's not enough to point a link you don't control at your source code") and I would say it's a jump to conclusion to assume that a significant portion of Linux developers today, 2 weeks after final release of GPLv3, have decided what is in their own individual best interests.

Moreover, some developers can register their contributions under GPLv3 and some can stay under v2 -- they are compatible. I assert that the whole kernel will, over time, (perhaps a year or two) shift to uniform GPLv3. Yet, not all the code needs to be licensed under GPLv3 for the important patent protections to have a material effect on behaviors in the software market-place.

It may be a fait accompli within a few weeks -- or by year-end 2008. Either way we have a new, much prettier, landscape.

Much of the discussion on GPLv3 is old and has been obsoleted by the community process by which the draft has evolved. Quite a few developers didn't expect Richard Stallman to be flexible.

Ben Finney

> it is more likely that Microsoft is the infringer upon others' patents which may be contained in Linux.

I presume you mean this to continue with "... than that Linux infringes patents held by Microsoft". How do you infer this?

Software idea patents are violated every day; there are so many of them, covering such commonplace and/or vaguely-specified techniques, that it's virtually impossible for *any* non-trivial program to avoid using a technique covered by at least one, if not many.

All software developers, whether they write free software or not, are at risk from software idea patents that they likely violate with every program written. I'm curious to know why you think it's "more likely" for Microsoft developers to do so than for Linux developers.

Sam Hiser

Good comment, Ben. It's not, it's likely a wash since IBM may have as much "property" in Linux as Microsoft has on its own behalf. My poor phrasing.

The irony is that Microsoft is infringing other's "property" and knows it. Yet the way these actions are positioned ("messaged") it is stated as well as inferred that the harm is one-way.

Furthermore, the actions are theatrical of purpose. Patents are the pretext for the message: 'our "intellectual property" is so unique, so great, so valuable, so powerful that y'all should be ashamed'.

Pure PR.

Your point emphasizes the folly of Microsoft's position & actions.

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Sam Hiser




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