New GPLv3 Draft

Looks like I will have fun reading the new drafts of GPLv3. Of note is a illustration of the changes from the previous draft.

Most folks are probably not into the intricacies of software licenses, but suffice to say that interesting controversies can come about because of their wording. Core to the issue is how TiVo hardware, which is shipped with a Linux kernel, requires an encrypted key embedded in its kernel, preventing users from modifying the kernel and running their own version.

One argument goes that once you have bought the hardware and software you should be able to fiddle with it (accepting that you have voided your warranty). Another goes that TiVo negotiated agreements with service providers so they could offer their hardware and modification endangers those agreements. It's been an interesting debate so far.

There are plenty of other debates (for example, issues with playing DVDs and other encrypted source material) and I've only barely scratched the surface.

Josh Poulson

Posted Saturday, Aug 5 2006 09:32 AM

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