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By | Gavin Clarke 26th January 2006 21:00

No GPL 3.0 for Linux - Torvalds

Back to the source

The Linux kernel is not moving to the next version of General Public License (GPL), following objections from Linus Torvalds to the license's stance on digital rights management (DRM).

Torvalds told a mailing list on Wednesday the Linux kernel would remain under GPL 2.0, despite work underway at the Free Software Foundation for GPL 3.0. The sticking point is DRM.

According to the first draft of GPL 3.0, published last week, the software it covers will "neither be subject to, nor subject other works to, digital restrictions from which escape is forbidden".

The license adds: "DRM is fundamentally incompatible with the purpose of the GPL, which is to protect users' freedom."

But Torvalds says it is "insane" to require people to make their private signing keys available. Such keys are typically used by individuals to generate a digital signature, or to decrypt messages and files. The creator of Linux won't make his own keys available.

"I don't think the GPL v3 conversation is going to happen for the kernel, since I personally don't want to convert any of my code," he says.

While some Linux kernel files can be licensed under GPL 3.0, Torvalds notes, the kernel in general is - and will - remain under GPL 2.0.

Joining a debate on the mailing list about the feasibility of conversion from GPL 2.0 to GPL 3.0, he says: "The default is to not allow conversion. Conversion isn't going to happen."

Torvald's stance will further dismay Linux diehards who are convinced the only good source is open source, and follows the controversy that followed last year’s revelation that Torvalds used the proprietary, closed-source Bitkeeper for Linux kernel development. ®

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