[U-Boot] U-book and GPLv3? (fwd)

Detlev Zundel dzu at denx.de
Fri Jun 19 10:40:59 CEST 2009

Hi Wolfgang,

> I was asked about relicensing U-Boot as GPLv3:
> From:    Richard Stallman <rms at gnu.org>
> Subject: U-book and GPLv3?
> To:      Wolfgang Denk <wd at denx.de>
> Date:    Thu, 18 Jun 2009 09:17:28 -0400
> I really enjoy the name U-boot.
> What are the advantages of U-boot over PMON?
> Have you considered moving U-boot to "GPLv3-or-later"?
> ----------
> I know that we have had similar discussions before (see for example
> http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.boot-loaders.u-boot/24029), but I
> would like to take the chance and re-poll what the community's
> opinion about this is.

For what it's worth, I would appreciate moving to GPLv3.  Sparing
details, my reasoning is the following.  Basically I think most people
appreciate the GPL for what it means in pratical terms:

    * the freedom to use the software for any purpose,
    * the freedom to change the software to suit your needs,
    * the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors,
    * and
    * the freedom to share the changes you make.

Obviously the second item here will become void if vendor lockout of
updates becomes common.  So what will be left of the essential freedoms?
I can study the code, I can modify it, but I am not allowed to run it.

I think it is not a coincidence that devices which can be updated with
arbitrary firmware sells pretty good in the meantime.   Who buys routers
capable of running OpenWRT because of their original firmware?

Of course vendors do still have the possibility to reject any form of
warranty or liability once a firmware not provided by them is applied,
but still the choice should be made by the person who owns the device.
Just think about the "owns" in the previous sentence.  Do you really own
a device anymore if you cannot fix it?  Would you buy a car that you are
not allowed to change the tires by yourselves?

Well I get carried away, so I'd rather stop ;)


I propose that each copy of the OS should ship with an orange jumpsuit and
sensory deprivation goggles, since all Vista users have been unilaterally
declared 'enemy combatants' by the content apparatchiki" - Daniel Nevin.
DENX Software Engineering GmbH,      MD: Wolfgang Denk & Detlev Zundel
HRB 165235 Munich,  Office: Kirchenstr.5, D-82194 Groebenzell, Germany
Phone: (+49)-8142-66989-40 Fax: (+49)-8142-66989-80 Email: dzu at denx.de

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