Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A change of heart?

Well, well. I didn't think it was possible, but Linus has (gasp!) actually admitted the possibility of the Linux kernel moving to GPL V3 - thanks to OpenSolaris. While he still remains a bigger fan of GPL V2, this self-confessed pragmatist offers reasons grounded in precisely that philosophy for his change of heart:
If Sun really is going to release OpenSolaris under GPL 3, that may be a good reason" to move Linux to the new licence, Torvalds said in a posting to the Linux kernel mailing list on Sunday. "I don't think the GPL 3 is as good a licence as (GPL) 2, but on the other hand, I'm pragmatic, and if we can avoid having two kernels with two different licenses and the friction that causes, I at least see the reason for GPLv3.
Of course, technical issues could still interfere in the proposed intermingling of Solaris and Linux code (whose advantages include "adding Solaris' ZFS (Zettabyte File System) storage software or DTrace probing utility to Linux or adding Linux's broader hardware support to Solaris"). One last splash of cold water from Linus:
They'll not be releasing ZFS and the other things that people are drooling about in a way that lets Linux use them on an equal footing...To Sun, a GPLv3-only release would actually let them look good, and still keep Linux from taking their interesting parts, and would allow them to take at least parts of Linux without giving anything back...And don't get me wrong: I think a truly open-source GPL 3 Solaris would be a really, really good thing, even if it does end up being a one-way street as far as code is concerned!
While not everyone in Open Solaris wants to move to GPL, the fact that Sun has done it before with Java means it isn't impossible either.


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