Open Voices €“ Linus Torvalds


Heavens knows there are enough podcasts out there, but this new series from the Linux Foundation is rather different:

Today the Linux Foundation is launching a podcast series that will feature conversations with the leaders of open source.

That's good news. Even better is this:

For our inaugural post, we are pleased to present part one of our conversation with Linus Torvalds, creator of the Linux Operating System and fellow at the Linux Foundation.

The man himself, and at great length. That could be a problem, since not everyone has time to listen to an entire podcast; happily, Linux Foundation has done the sensible thing and put up a full transcript of Linus's words, allowing you to skim through for nuggets like this:

what used to be a huge advantage for the GPL was that there was one license and that one license version was basically Version 2. And that resulted in a huge bulk of source code that was all under the same license which meant that you could basically cherry pick, pick and choose and share code as much as possible.

And one of the things Version 3 did was it basically split this source base so that now there are certain projects that are Version 2 only, there are certain projects that are Version 2 or later and there are certain projects that are Version 3 or later.

And that means that now suddenly you can’t maybe share code simply because of license issues and that’s not something new; we’ve always had that. We’ve had that with other licenses. So, there used to be code that was licensed under the Apache license and that was not compatible with Version 2. [NOTE: This is now not the case and Apache is compatible.]

So, it’s not something new, but there is a clear advantage and there are network affects when it comes to licenses so that one – and, in fact, one of the few reasons I see why Version 3 might be useful is simply there ends up being tons of external code that we feel is really important and worthwhile that is under the Version 3 license. And then, in order to avoid the licensing compatibility, we – I suspect I could see the kernel people saying, “Okay, we’ll re-license to Version 3 not because we think it’s the better license, but because it opens up code to us.”

Now read

Torvalds puts support behind GPL 2 licence