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Companies are embracing open source these days, but not the GPL. We see that with gcc and clang, or in the way MacOS uses older versions of tools just to avoid GPLv3:

http://penguindreams.org/blog/the-philosophy-of-open-source-...

The OSS utopia pushed in the the 1990s, with tools like Gimp being one day comparable to Photoshop, never really happened.




Don't forget the difference between "free software" and "open source". Open source was, from day one, pushed as a tool of capitalism: big companies could make more money if they collaborated on common code with each other. The free software movement (whence the GPL) always operated on the idea that, in an ideal world, software wouldn't be copyrighted at all and everyone would just publish their source because that was the right thing to do. The open source movement (whence the MPL) merely argued that open source was the profitable thing to do.

A lot of companies embracing open source have succeeded in building an OSS utopia for themselves internally, and selling software as a service to other people. There's an unprecedented number of people employed by big companies working on things that are nominally free software, but it's free software to do things like large-scale container management, not photo editing. (The free software folks, to be fair, did see this happening and responded with the AGPL, but that strategy seems to have had about zero effect.)

And even Photoshop has realized that switching to a billing model that more closely resembles SaaS than traditional proprietary software is more profitable. But a better comparison is something like Thunderbird vs. Outlook or LibreOffice vs. MS Office: those fights have ended up with both participants losing out to Gmail/Outlook 365/etc. and Google Docs/Office 365/etc., which are free-of-charge, high-quality, and even more non-free than proprietary software that in theory at least you could disassemble.


OK, but that's irrelevant.

Kernels are an entirely different class of thing. I'm fine with permissive licenses for higher-level software such as clang or GIMP.

But I'm not looking forward to a world where I can't get the source code for a kernel that will actually run on real hardware.

It's already painful to compile and run Android from source. Fuschia will make it just impossible.


"But I'm not looking forward to a world where I can't get the source code for a kernel that will actually run on real hardware. "

You literally live in this world right now.

"It's already painful to compile and run Android from source. Fuschia will make it just impossible."

You can literally go download and compile the entire fuchsia kernel, right now.

How is that "impossible"?


> You can literally go download and compile the entire fuchsia kernel, right now.

Only the kernel Google puts out for the development image. I think the parent meant more in the sense of real devices. It is already quite painful to run custom Android builds from source in real devices, where at least the kernel has copyleft protections. It is quite likely that real hardware running Fuchsia will not come with their sources, since Fuchsia isn't copyleft.


"You can literally go and compile the entire kernel, right now."

Android discussions started that way. Things changed after enough time and revenue with a huge gap between ASOP and Android experience. Their security fixes vs Apple are also now abysmal. Might be a hint at the future of Google's next OS.


"Things changed after enough time and revenue with a huge gap between ASOP and Android experience."

No, things changed for other vendors and for other parts. You can, AFAIK, still happily compile Google's entire kernels.

You are thinking of userspace.


> still happily compile Google's entire kernels

Google's, sure. Some vendors make it painful (and in some cases, even impossible) to compile kernels for their devices.

Google is legally obligated to release kernels for their device. With Fuchsia, neither it nor any of the other hardware makers would be. Google might still continue to release their kernels — say, for developer contributions — but other vendors are quite likely to not do so.


>vendors won't release their kernels

Vendors won't modify fuchsia or its microkernel (magenta). That's the point behind the driver APIs in fuchsia. This should allow Google to update the full system, kernel included, while leaving the vendor drivers, which run in user mode and will still work due to the API being still supported, alone.

If Android is ported to fuchsia, that would solve the android update problem for good.


"You are thinking of userspace."

Is it really Android advertised to the West that people want if it doesn't have the userspace? That's like Windows open-sourcing the kernel but all the needed apps are proprietary. Might as well consider the overall thing proprietary unless your customers exclusively want the kernel plus also-ran software.


It's a microkernel, somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Not as extremly reduced as L4, but not the heavyweight that Mach is, either.

The kernel will probably be the one component vendors (chipset or OEM) won't ever feel the need to touch (except for new architectures), since they can put everything in userland processes that they want to keep hidden. Not even the GPLv3 would help there.


Yes, indeed, that makes it even more distressing that they didn't bother to license even the core of the system with the GPL. It sends a signal that they really completely don't care about the freedom for users to modify the software and run it on their own hardware.


Why license the kernel GPL if it doesn't matter any because every vendor would be totally willing to put it up in any case (or defer to the official repo because they made no changes anyway)?

Such an approach smells of virtue signalling, and IMNSHO we have way too much of that already.


the "users" of fuchsia most likely will not be developers only, if GPL is just a symbol, a golden star to show you are a good kid then it does not look so foundamental to me.

as other have said the driver API should actually make that easier (in intents).




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