Linux kernel to be released under BSD licence
By Sam Varghese
Friday, 01 April 2011 00:47
Opinion and Analysis
The Linux kernel will soon be released under the BSD licence, kernel
creator Linus Benedict Torvalds said today.
He was speaking at a dinner held to honour the top five 2011 Linux
Foundation gurus, including the ultimate Linux.com
guru, the member of
the site who accumulated the most contribution and participation
points over the last year.
The Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux.
Shortly after he made the announcement, Torvalds was honoured by
Foundation head Jim Zemlin for making the most meaningless
contribution to Linux.
In a confidential statement, which was leaked to iTWire by GNOME
desktop co-founder Miguel de Icaza, Torvalds said his move to change
the licence for the kernel from the GPLv2 had been driven by recent
events, including Google's bid to use kernel headers without
"There are a host of corporations out there, all of them desperately
trying to take advantage of the good code we have created," Torvalds
said, referring to the kernel team. "And they are all hampered by the
licence under which we have released the kernel."
He said a secret summit of kernel developers, held in the Honduran
capital Tegucigalpa, had voted unanimously to change the licence from
the GPLv2 to the BSD licence which meant that anyone could use code
from the kernel in proprietary software and lock it away from public
Asked for a reaction, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said he
would have to closely examine the statements attributed to Torvalds.
"This Linux thing was like a cancer all these years and it is
difficult to see it metamorphosing overnight into something that might
save our company," he said.
Oracle head Larry Ellison declined an offer to comment. However,
sounds of glee could be heard over the telephone before he replaced
Google chief executive Larry Page, who is new to the role, said: "Gee,
we never do any evil so it doesn't make any difference to us."
Novell chief executive Ron Hovsepian hailed the announcement as the
"dawning of a new morning."
The only note of disapproval came from Free Software Foundation chief
Richard Matthew Stallman. "This Linux Foundation and other bodies
tasked with promoting GNU/Linux are always indulging in publicity
stunts. A few years back, some organisation recruited Paris Hilton in
a bid to promote the kernel. This is just another cunning stunt,"