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> I think it's clear now that the GPL 3 was a mistake

It isn't clear to me; perhaps you'd like to give your reasoning




Well, I shouldn't say "clear" necessarily - I know this is a point of contention, and there are good arguments on both the Stallman side and the Torvalds side. I don't really know where I stand myself, honestly; I'm still deciding.

But regardless of what position you take, it seems as though RMS' decision to go ahead and push through the GPL 3.0, even though the community was clearly divided on it, wasn't necessarily the best thing to do. It's been bad for Gnu in general, I think; and the fact that RMS has popularized the sort of insulting term "Tivoization" hasn't helped.

Of course, I can see how people might disagree. After all, the whole point of Gnu is to stand against the tide of nonfree stuff in society - and standing against that tide means often doing unpopular things. From that point of view, all this stuff about getting community support and getting everybody to agree before moving forward is actually a distraction; the Free Software Foundation is supposed to encourage people to do what's right, regardless of whether it's popular or not.

On the other hand, I have to say that, at the end of the day, I think Free Software has to stand for a larger kind of freedom, even beyond just the software and hardware spheres. And that's why, while I actually tend to agree with RMS that what Tivo did was sort of shitty and anti-communitarian, I tend to feel as though it really can't be against the law for companies to do what they did. Torvalds and the strong contingent of kernel developers who are anti-GPL3 are correct, I think, when they say that you can't simply disallow distributors (be they individuals, organizations, or companies) from designing their software and hardware to work in a particular way together. If what Tivo did is forbidden by the community, then all kinds of really worthwhile and useful things - upstream version control, security updates, hardware optimization, etc - get forbidden too; at least if we follow the GPL3 license. This means less freedom for the people who help create software, regardless of whether they're malicious or not; I don't know how I feel about that.

But of course maybe that's a fair tradeoff for what that extra user-freedom it gives us. I could go back and forth on it all day, and often I do. Like I said, I don't think the GPL3 was introduced quite right, but it's more of a leaning I have than an actual conviction. It's a tough issue.

What I do know, however - and moreover what the whole community agrees on - is the Free Software is essential, technically, economically, and morally, for building a better world for computing.

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