Linus Torvalds speaks out on DRM

— 4:15 AM on April 25, 2003

Linux founder Linus Torvalds has spoken out on the incorporation of DRM technology in Linux, and what he had to say might surprise you. Unlike many open source advocates, Torvalds actually believes that there should be nothing in place to prevent DRM technology from creeping into the Linux operating system.

"I also don't necessarily like DRM myself," Torvalds wrote on the "Linux-kernel" mailing list. "But...I'm an 'Oppenheimer,' and I refuse to play politics with Linux, and I think you can use Linux for whatever you want to--which very much includes things I don't necessarily personally approve of."
According to Torvalds, there are enough potentially good applications of DRM technology to make a wholesale ban on DRM inside the Linux operating system counter-productive.
"There is zero technical difference. It's only a matter of intent--and even the intent will be a matter of interpretation," Torvalds wrote. "This is why I refuse to disallow even the 'bad' kinds of uses--because not allowing them would automatically also mean that 'good' uses aren't allowed."
Torvalds admits that his opinions on DRM aren't set in stone, which is probably a good thing. I'm sure the open source community will appreciate the fact that Torvalds is ready to listen to arguments in favor of banning DRM from the Linux operating system.

While Torvalds' stance on DRM is a courageous one, I can't help but come back to his comments on not wanting to play politics with Linux. Often it seems, at least to me, that the open source community is more intent on pushing a political and social agenda than producing a better alternative to closed source, commercial software. Has the open source community lost sight of what's really important, or evolved into something much bigger and more valuable than software could ever be?

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options

This discussion is now closed.