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Subject: [matt-at-modestolan.com: Re: [Balug-talk] [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Its a sorry day for The?Linux?Journal]
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----- Forwarded message from Matt Thrailkill -----
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From: Matt Thrailkill
To: Rick Moen
Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 12:10:34 -0700
X-Mailer: Evolution 2.6.1
Cc: balug-talk-at-lists.balug.org, rms-at-gnu.org
Subject: Re: [Balug-talk] [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Its a sorry day for
The Linux Journal
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On Mon, 2006-05-22 at 11:45 -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> One: Torvald's context for the term "acceptable" in that thread was (as
> should be very apparent) not whether binary proprietery modules are
> morally or pragmatically acceptable to Tovards personally, but rather
> whether they are inherently in violation of copyright law. Torvalds's
> position on that matter is, quite sensibly, that they're in violation of
> copyright law if they're a derivative work of the kernel. ("Derivative
> work" is a legal term of art.) Creation and distribution of binary-only
> kernel modules _not_ constructed as a derivative work would not, per
> Torvalds, violate the copyrights of kernel coders.
I don't dispute your context argument. It was the quickest thing I
could google up while I was eating some toast.
I don't think Richard Stallman or Theo De Raadt would tolerate binary
modules even when they are legal. Those people come from moral and
ethical points on the issue, not legal/technical points like Linus is in
RMS isn't included on this thread anymore... I think he would have more
eloquent things to say on this subject than I would.
> You are invited to read Torvalds's various pronouncements on that
> subject here: "Proprietary Kernel Modules" on
> http://linuxmafia.com/kb/Kernel/ . If you wish, you can read more about
> the legal term of art "derivative work" here: "Derivative Works" on
I'm not really interested in the legal discussion. Its irrelevant.
Thats a pragmatic discussion... there isn't much room for it in a moral
discussion. A person who uses free software for moral or ethical
reasons wouldn't tolerate binary modules even if they are legal.
> Two: Can you give me any reason at all to suppose that Torvalds should
> be considered a spokesman for, specifically, the open source movement?
> As opposed to, say, an OSI Board member -- or someone who's at least had
> _any connection whatsoever_ with OSI?
I can't think of a response to this. If Linus can't be taken to be a
figurehead of the open source movement, then I don't know who is. A
hell of alot more people resonate with and care about what Linus says
than what OSI board members say, in my experience.
> Three: If you dispute my statement of context (above) -- which frankly
> wouln't be really bright on your part -- then please tell me which
> specific binary-only kernel modules Mr. Torvalds runs, and where you
> know this from.
I am only positting that by not rejecting binary modules altogether
(although he makes them difficult to use by not having a stable kABI,
but even that is for pragmatic and not moral reasons) Linus is choosing
his position on the issue more for pragmatic issues than ethical ones.
> > A purist wouldn't accept binary anything, in my opinion.
> And how _are_ your ROMs doing, these days, Matt?
Is this an ad hominem attack? I'll freely tell you that I'm not purist.
I use Nvidia's proprietary device drivers and I have proprietary
software like VMWare on my machine.
(Although I think you can find something that RMS, or someone like that,
has written which justifies using opaque system roms and firmware while
still making an argument that all the end-user software on the machine
If you're going to get upset though, I'll stop discussing it. It looks
like its just the two of us talking about it anyways... I guess this
list isn't very active :(
> balug-talk mailing list
balug-talk mailing list
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