Linus Torvalds on the GPL Fight
A new version of a license for open source Linux has caused a storm among the community of open source developers. Known as GNU General Public License, or simply GPL, it is the most widely used license for distributing free software.
The current version of the license, GNU GPLv2, was released in 1991. The first version of the license was written by open source proponent Richard Stallman, who founded the Free Software Foundation that administers the license. The GPL license also covers the Linux kernel whose creation was led by Linus Torvalds.
Now 10 kernel developers have rallied against the Free Software Foundation’s efforts to update the license. They have signed a “position paper” against the new version known as GPLv3.
The kernel developers contend that the Free Software Foundation’s plan to promote GPLv3 has “the potential to inflict massive collateral damage upon our entire ecosystem and jeopardize the very utility and survival of open source.”
Though Mr. Torvalds supports them, his name has been absent from that position paper.
Now, in an email interview with Red Herring, he puts his thoughts on the record. Mr. Torvalds says this is not as much a “debate” between the kernel developers and the Free Software Foundation “as it is a declaration of different positions.”