Saturday, July 14, 2007

It is okay to control people's hardware

I was going through the news online and this is what really caught my eye.
Torvalds said the Free Software Foundation's position on Tivoization is one reason he won't license his Linux kernel under GPLv3. "The GPLv3 doesn’t match what I think is morally where I want to be," Torvalds wrote. "I think it is okay to control people's hardware, I do it myself," he continued.


Till now Trovalds did not have a problem with GPL2 'cause it did not hurt his own interest. Its just about having double standards. If Linus can give away software for free (Linux) whats the problem in the same thing being applied to hardware. The company Linus works for earns its money from hardware and not the software that runs it. Thats a simple thing to understand. Till now it was in his interest to give out software for free as it did not take away the edge he had. But with the adoption of GPL3 it just might end up hurting his own interest and that is where the problem crops up.

So its perfectly right to starve people in software but its a whole different ballgame when the same happens with the people designing the hardware. I might be a little harsh but GPL 2 or 3 or for that matter any version makes no sense at all. Its just a stupid license by a little boy who never grew up. Since he did not get his software free and he could not change the source code he thought of throwing a tantrum and that so called tantrum is the GPL license. The so called GNU Hurdis nowhere to be seen. Guess most people don't even know about it. Linux came up at the right time, the OS that would save us from the evil empire. Since GNU hurd would not be completed in the next 1000+ years the Linux kernel was the chosen one to fight the battle. The battle was with the evil empire as it was a s/w only company which did not give away the source code to the little child who threw the tantrum. At that time circa (1991+) Mr. Linus did not have much to loose so he got into the bandwagon and got the publicly he wanted. He joined a company that made hardware so even if he made free software it did not hurt his own interest as the main source with which he earned his money was not the software but the hardware on which it worked.

To many people Mr. Trovalds is like a hero who is fighting against the evil empire but this month the little boy throwing tantrum (the kid who never grew up) changed the license to GPL3. The reason why this little kid made amendments to the GPL license was 'cause he could not change the software in his TiVo. Even though TiVo gives out the complete source code according to the GPL2 you still cannot do much as the software is controlled by the hardware and you cannot do much with the source code. This is when this little kid thought of a new cool word Tivoization and new clauses were added into the GPL3 to make sure no more Tivoization was possible with GPL3 licensed code.

But the big question would be why does TiVo use Linux and not allow us to change the software as it under GPL. The simple answer which the little kid would never understand is that people need to earn money to feed themselves. They use linux in TiVo as its cheap and makes sense to use it but if they allow people to use that and make there own TiVo's they would loose revenue which would not be good for them and the people who are making it might not get the money they are trying to earn. But only if the little kid had a family to support would he understand this simple concept of work and getting paid for it.

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