Linux founder opens door to DRM

Linus Torvalds, the founder of the Linux operating system, threw a curve ball into the open-source programming community Thursday.

In a posting sent to a key Linux-focused e-mail list, he outlined a controversial proposal: Nothing in the basic rules for the Linux operating system should block developers from using digital rights management (DRM) technology. DRM tools are technological locks or identification measures that range from ensuring a software program is genuine to protecting a movie against unauthorized copying.

In some open-source and "free software" circles, such technological locks and authentication measures are seen as infringements on their freedom. In his posting, Torvalds took a more pragmatic approach--Linux is an operating system, not a political movement, and people should ultimately be able to do what they want with it, he said.

"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."

The posting and subsequent discussion brought to light what remains a serious tension in some open-source programming circles.

News source: Cnet|news.com

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