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The real answer is because the people involved believe the licenses they are using are even more free. IE they do not subscribe to the FSF's ideology.

It's their software, so they get to choose. It's like arguing NetBSD should use the GPL license.

As for why it generally doesn't make sense to use the GPL for this:

Even the FSF doesn't think GPLv2 is the right license for linux?

GPL'ing linux hasn't prevented any of the problems you mention, either in theory or in practice, so why do the same thing and hope for a different result?

(If you've never read it, i suggest you go read the various threads where linus, etc explain that in practice, the only approach that works is carrot, not stick)

It would be the same for Mozilla or anyone else who got popular enough with GPL software and had lots of vendors and OEMs who used their software.

GPL'ing the kernel or not does not change that some people don't follow the rules. You can have them sign it in blood if you want. They'll just work around you or ignore you, as long as there is money to be made. Also, once you are big enough, cutting them off will just attract regulators.

In practice, you will not get them to follow the rules by having a "war on gpl violators" any moreso than we have solved the US drug problem by having a "war on drugs".

If you (or others here) dream is of an ecosystem where everyone is forced, under pain of death, to follow the GPL, it's pretty unrealistic. It's not what happens now, it will never happen.

Rather than pretend that's a realistic way to get people to release source, i'd rather not pretend. i'd rather see something different tried that may have some hope of success.




> (If you've never read it, i suggest you go read the various threads where linus, etc explain that in practice, the only approach that works is carrot, not stick) [...]

> If you (or others here) dream is of an ecosystem where everyone is forced, under pain of death, to follow the GPL, it's pretty unrealistic. It's not what happens now, it will never happen.

And in response, see Bradley Kuhn's talk at LibrePlanet this year: https://media.libreplanet.org/u/libreplanet/m/understanding-... or the LWN writeup at https://lwn.net/Articles/719610/

Kuhn's argument is that the actual world has involved the stick and not (just) the carrot: GPL enforcement lawsuits have actually existed, and we can't really distinguish people who claim to believe in the carrot from people who would totally have ignored the GPL if it weren't for the realistic threat of lawsuits.

We do live in a world where people are forced under pain of copyright infringement lawsuits to follow the GPL. It is literally what happens now. As you yourself pointed out upthread, Google is quite conscientious about following the GPL, to the point of rewriting proprietary drivers. Even Debian doesn't do that (Nvidia, Broadcom, etc. drivers are available in non-free). Do you think that's because Google thinks the GPL is a great idea? No! Google knows that losing their license to use the Linux kernel is a real possibility under GPLv2 section 4, and would in fact be death for the company.


Sure.

So why not GPL (v3) it anyway, if the GPL is so ineffective?

After all, what you're telling me in your posts is that Google wants vendors to contribute back, but it can't force them.

I don't want vendors to be able to create proprietary extensions. You claim Google also doesn't want vendors to create proprietary extensions.

So:

- If the GPL is effective, why not use it?

- If the GPL is ineffective, it can't possibly hurt and at the very least it sends a positive signal. So why not use it?

Edit: I'm not sure why you edited your post rather than reply. But I don't think you have really answered my question as it is put here. Is the GPL effective or ineffective? Ineffective, you seem to say. So what's the harm? You claim you care about sources being released. Am I understanding you wrong?

Maybe some employees of Google don't like the GPL. But simultaneously they want all driver sources to be released? But simultaneously they think the GPL is ineffective and won't achieve that?

Your post doesn't really add up. Could you list the reasons why Google isn't using the GPL for Fuschia as bullet points, or something?


It sends a positive signal to a group of people who really don't matter - the very small minority of users who like open source and aren't already placated by AOSP existing - but a negative one to people who do - their vendors.

Fuschia is designed so that driver sources don't need to be available, and we can still upgrade the kernel. This is better than doing exactly the same thing as before which didn't work. It solves a practical problem (being unable to upgrade your phone's OS) through technology rather than licensing.


Let me restate that: "GPLing Fuschia sends a negative signal to vendors that don't want to release the source for their drivers."

That is fine. Any hardware that is released should come with full source code for its drivers. Vendors that are unwilling to comply, should not be releasing hardware. Since it would be infeasible and restrictive to legally enforce, we can just forbid them to use our popular open source kernels instead.

Please, consider the alternative world you want us to regress to! The present reality is practically utopian, compared to a world where the majority of drivers are proprietary! You want desktop/laptop/server computers to have the same awful, unfixable drivers as Android!? Fuschia will not magically make vendor code any less crap!

And, the "practical problem" here is created by licensing. You said it yourself:

>Fuschia is designed so that driver sources don't need to be available, and we can still upgrade the kernel.

This is a problem of licensing. If we were actually talking about purely technical solutions to purely technical problems, this problem wouldn't even exist. We would never have this bizarre problem of unreproducible binary artifacts sitting on our hardware without the ability to rebuild them.

Here is a thought: Maybe if Google started (threatening to) enforce the GPL against vendors, this would be fixed. Sure, it would also destroy their business relationships. But it would actually fix this security problem, today, immediately.


>That is fine. Any hardware that is released should come with full source code for its drivers. Vendors that are unwilling to comply, should not be releasing hardware.

Fine for you. Not fine for the vendors (or Google).

>Please, consider the alternative world you want us to regress to! The present reality is practically utopian, compared to a world where the majority of drivers are proprietary! You want desktop/laptop/server computers to have the same awful, unfixable drivers as Android!?

It worked very well for Windows and OS X, so?

I'd rather have proprietary drivers than no drivers because few vendors are willing to make them open source.

In fact, I'd rather have proprietary drivers than community made, reverse engineered ones too.

If we could have open source vendor provided drivers of course that could be ideal. But in reality we would just have less drivers.


>Here is a thought: Maybe if Google started (threatening to) enforce the GPL against vendors, this would be fixed. Sure, it would also destroy their business relationships. But it would actually fix this security problem, today, immediately.

This is naive and you know it. In reality, what would happen is 3-4 years from now, once the lawsuit has run its course, maybe vendors would need to publicize their binary sources, but given that much time they might just develop in house solutions.


So let me get this straight: your proposed alternative to Android is just... not having Android at all?


"- If the GPL is ineffective, it can't possibly hurt and at the very least it sends a positive signal. So why not use it?"

1. Of course it can hurt. that's just silly to say. 2. As for why not use it? Because it's ineffective? You answered your own question?

This seems like a pretty basic GPL zealot argument at this point ("It's completely ineffective but you should do it anyway!") , and i'm pretty uninterested in continuing such arguments.


How, exactly, would it hurt? Perhaps by... discouraging use from companies that want to keep their changes private? I am completely fine with that. Proprietary code should not be allowed anywhere near the kernel or hardware support. Would it hurt in any other way?

As a concluding remark, I'll just repost what I posted elsewhere in this thread:

>Consider what happens if you're wrong. What happens if the GPL actually is the reason why Linux has such wide open-source hardware support? Then say goodbye to hacking on Fuschia on your own hardware...

>I'm not willing to take that risk.

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken!"


Linux does not have wide open-source hardware support on mobile phones, so that argument simply doesn't work in this space - you're arguing in favour of a supposed status quo that doesn't actually exist in the first place.


>How, exactly, would it hurt? Perhaps by... discouraging use from companies that want to keep their changes private?

Yes. That would hurt, because as a user I am very much interested in the products of those companies.

And Google wants them as an OS vendor too.

>I am completely fine with that.

Well, the vendors and Google are not. And neither would I be.

Proprietary code should not be allowed anywhere near the kernel or hardware support.

So that only second tier vendors bother applying?


Your forgetting an important one. The default is a bsd-3 like license. Google prefers to release everything under that single license unless there are strongly compelling reasons to do otherwise, and "it can't hurt", even if it we're true, is not strongly compelling.


> GPL'ing linux hasn't prevented any of the problems you mention, either in theory or in practice, so why do the same thing and hope for a different result?

It hasn't eliminated the problem, but it has worked in some cases to the benfit of the vendors and customers.

For example the open source Wifi router community sprung up from one such effort :

http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/3562391

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DD-WRT


> Even the FSF doesn't think GPLv2 is the right license for linux?

Yes, they want a stronger license---GPLv3.

(Edit: I read your statement as "GPL is the right license"; I corrected my post.)

> GPL'ing the kernel or not does not change that some people don't follow the rules. You can have them sign it in blood if you want. They'll just work around you or ignore you, as long as there is money to be made. Also, once you are big enough, cutting them off will just attract regulators.

Your argument could extend to the entire free software movement---to all software written under the GPL. Your argument could be extended to _any_ license! It's dismissive of the impact of the free software movement and the successes of the GPL, and it's dismissive of the legal system as a whole.




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