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I'm being paranoid here, but would allowing an Apache license let vendors put custom spyware and DRM into the kernel that they wouldn't have to release the source for?



In practice: No more or less so than they could do under linux.


How do you figure? I see you keep posting that Linux can run proprietary binary blobs. No one is arguing against this. The argument is that these binary blobs will ship by default inside fuchsia OS and that the creators of fuchsia have chosen a license that has no provisions against this.

You can't change the Linux kernel and then close the source and sell it. That's why the GPL is much better for users and other licenses are better for businesses.


First, it's already been done. Like, all the time. People already do this with Linux and ship it in user devices.

Either you believe such a thing is GPL compliant, in which case, yay, they already could do it.

Or you believe they are violators, but nobody has been able to stop them, in which case, that falls into my "in practice, ...".

Because in practice, it has not stopped them

Either way, nothing has changed :)

As for arguably-compliant ways:

Because they can already do like nvidia does, and just have the interfaces be in the kernel, GPL that, and then load binary blobs?

Also remember, even the company doing something more shady (as far as anyone knows), vmware, was not successfully sued for their kernel GPL violation.

So theoretically, they could just drop all pretense and not even do that.


It would be hard to argue the inverse hypothetical outcome, but I do think that licensing (GPLv2) had a significant role in where Linux is today. It is precisely because the license obligates the distributors to share the code that made the whole a better software and a more attractive platform to contribute to. In fact, most contributors, big and small, work with the upstream to streamline their contributions. Having to share the source has worked out well for both programmers (individuals, companies) and end users in the long run.

Stating that there are some number of cases of GPL violations that haven't been enforced or are in the gray area is not a logical base for the argument that the idea of having to share the source code should be abandoned. In fact, history shows otherwise - that Linux has had more success (as measured by uptake globally) than any other non-GPL open source kernel ecosystem.

Similarly, just because there may be people who can find loopholes in certain well-intended laws and regulations is not a good reason to abandon their intents. Instead, the questions should be - can we keep these intents and fix the loopholes or make the enforcement more straightforward? I think Google could, but maybe it's not in their immediate interests, one of which may be closer to - how do I upgrade the kernel without recompiling that other stuff.




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