article on GPLv3, Linux kernel, and Devices Rigged to Malfunction

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at
Mon Oct 23 14:08:40 UTC 2006

Alex Hudson <home at> writes:
> The GPLv3
> won't do anything about ensuring hardware support is there to download
> new software,

Yes.  The software can be put in a casing with no way for new software to be
put in there, or it can be put in ROM, or it can be put behind a locked

GPLv3 doesn't address those, and whether, how, and if it should and can
address those is another discussion altogether.

Each of those cases is quite different from tivoisation becuase with
tivoisation, there is still someone with simple control over the software on
the computer.

> The authorisation code the GPL refers to is a shared secret key;
> publicising that would make the entire reason of having it moot and
> pointless,

GPLv3 doesn't require publication, it requires distribution.

Your supplier can give the key to you and you alone.  You could even get
your supplier to sign a contract promising never to give the key to your box
to anyone but you.  Every recipient of a DRM'd box can have a different key,
and everyone can get a similar contract from their supplier.

Or the hardware manufacturer can set the hardware up to do DRM, and then
give you the ability to make keys, and let you alone have control over the
DRM on the computer (which you could use for your own security purposes).

Or, substitute "network" for "computer" in that last example.  Putting
software on various computers in your private (home or office) network is
not distribution, so you (assuming you are the sys admin) can lock down your
company computers, and keep control over the sofware to yourself.

> in favour of more time being spent to get it right.

For as long as there's a productive discussion ongoing, I don't think
Richard will close the process.

I think the important thing for us is to raise the quality of the discussion
by constantly explaining the goals of GPLv3, and showing people what the
current discussion draft says to achieve these goals, and ask them to point
out cases where the text could cause harm, or where it could be better.

CiarĂ¡n O'Riordan __________________ \ _________ \  GPLv3 and other work supported by \   Fellowship:

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