IBM's Mills Sounds Off On GPL, Free Software Foundation


IBM is a big fan of Linux. Of the GPL, not so much.

Now the controversial GPL3, still a work in progress, is coming into focus, that hasn't changed much.

Asked by CRN about his take on the third implementation of the GNU General Public License, IBM Software General Manager Steve Mills didn't mince words.

"At some point you become so shrill and beyond what's required that you lose the audience and the audience moves on to something else," he said.

Mills was referring to the Free Software Foundation's attempt to restrict the use of cross-patent licenses in the new GPL. those restructions, FSF proponents say, could lead to a fork in the Linux code.

"At some point you become so shrill and beyond what's required that you lose the audience and the audience moves on to something else," he said.

"We'll have to see what finally evolves through the [GPL] process, it's going through an update and the Free Software Foundation has a particular view of free software. Free software is a wonderful thing but there's also a business model."

"We think there are other licensing techniques, the Apache license and others are somewhat less onerous. We use them ourselves. We don't use the GPL for reasons of its restrictions," Mills said.

Mills spoke at an IBM Research show-and-tell for reporters and analysts in Cambridge, Mass. on Wednesday.