Mon Jan 30 16:53:53 CET 2006

The Linux kernel and the GPLv3

Linus Torvalds, founder of the Linux kernel, wrote Wed, 25 Jan 2006 on the LKML:

"The Linux kernel has _always_ been under the GPL v2. Nothing else has ever been valid."

The full story is, that Linus doesn't accept GPLv3 for his kernel. That's why the GPLv3 draft says explicitly:

"Regardless of any other provision of this License, no permission is given to distribute covered works that illegally invade users' privacy, nor for modes of distribution that deny users that run covered works the full exercise of the legal rights granted by this License.".

Even you had to open private keys (for the DRM) so that every user can run your program propperly. That's something Linus doesn't want.

Linus wrote on the LKML furthermore: "The Linux kernel has never stated that [GPLv2 or any later version] in general. Some authors have chosen to use the suggested FSF boilerplate (including the 'any later version' language), but the kernel in general never has."

So seems like Linux never goes GPLv3 or to say it in other words, the FSF goes with the GPLv3 an other way then Linus wantes to go...

Some links about this topic:

At the end: I don't believe in things Linus said in his posting. The GPLv2 says (and Linus copied it into his COPYING file): "If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation."(9.)

I think parts of Linux may be redistributed and modified under the GPLv3 as well... but this may happen to the whole kernel, too.

Posted by Sebastian Wieseler | Categories: GNU/FSF |