When the update to the leading open source license, the GPL (General Public License) was first aired last month, it triggered a good deal of debate, particularly over the new license’s restrictions on the use of digital rights management (DRM) with open source software.
Indeed, for the most famous of open source’s proponents, Linus Torvalds - the founder of Linux, the anti-DRM clause was a step too far and he ruled out converting the Linux kernel, currently licensed under GPL v2, to the new version 3.
Now, in a series of postings to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Torvalds has explained his reasoning and argues that the anti-DRM battle over content is not a fight for the software developers.
Torvalds argues: "I _literally_ feel that we do not - as software developers - have the moral right to enforce our rules on hardware manufacturers. We are not crusaders, trying to force people to bow to our superior God. We are trying to show others that co-operation and openness works better."
Instead, he argues, that it is up to the content creators to carry the anti-DRM crusade, through the use of the Creative Commons licenses, which prevent the use of technological means to restrict access to the content.
Torvalds states his opinion that: "If you create valuable and useful content that other people want to be able to use (catchy tunes, funny animation, good icons), I would suggest you protect that _content_ by saying that it cannot be used in any content-protection schemes."
He continues: "If enough interesting content is licensed that way, DRM eventually becomes marginalized."
However, this advice comes with a caveat: the fight could take decades, much like that faced by the GPL and open source software, which took years to build up enough momentum to offer a viable alternative to proprietary software.
You can read more of Linus Torvalds’s comments in this article at Newsforge.