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I’ll make you free if I have to lock you up!

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Interesting goings-on over on the Busybox list. Busybox is a single app that masquerades as a large set of common unix tools like ls, a shell and so on. The maintainer is planning to, well, sort of migrate the project to being GPL v2-only. It’s a bit complex because there are a variety of copyright notices floating around in there at the moment. He discussed it on the list for some time and although there are some people that want to have GPL2+ (meaning, GPL v2 or any later version at the user’s discretion) the proposal seemed to be gaining traction.

The issue is significant, because in the current GPL3 drafts there is language that would require any signing keys to be given up with the sources. If you plan to design a device which, for the security of the customer, would reject code, eg, updates, that were not signed by the manufacturer, then the GPL3 would appear to disallow using GPL2+ or GPL3-only licensed code with such a scheme.

Linus has already come out against this idea as one of the reasons he will be sticking with GPL v2 for Linux.

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