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GPLv3 Second Discussion Draft Released 242

Posted by Zonk
from the revisions-are-fun dept.
thppft! writes "The second discussion draft of the GNU General Public License version 3 was released, along with the first discussion draft of the GNU Lesser General Public License. Along with the text for the licenses , the GPLv3 website also includes an introduction by Eben Moglen along with markup changes to the rationale and the GPL itself."
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GPLv3 Second Discussion Draft Released

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  • Dear Slashdot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:44PM (#15794923)
    In the future, please warn when linking to audio files.
  • by LaNMaN2000 (173615) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @05:55PM (#15794998) Homepage
    One of the things that was discussed regarding the GPL v3 was adding a provision that made web services considered distribution that would require eleasing the source as per the GPL (as opposed to applications which are used internally but not distributed, where there is no source code distribution requirement). If they do choose to include such a provision, it could stifle the development of new and innovative web applications as the financial incentive for development would be removed.

    Microsoft is already waging a scare campaign comparing the source distribution clause of the GPL to a virus. Why should the open source community give tbem more ammunition to attack the GPL while limiting the use of GPL code in web applications?
  • Re:Biggest Change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcmm (768152) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @06:45PM (#15795286)
    IMHO this is a very good move. It's a sad thing, but no one knows or cares what DRM is. However, everyone cares if his/her computer won't do what he or she wants. This makes it much easier for a normal person to understand things. Including a plain language explanation is an important strength of this license.
  • Re:Applicable? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:31PM (#15795539) Journal

    So the GPL is a EULA now? Isn't that what we've been railing against for the last several years? Modification of your own copy of any work is explicitly outside the scope of copyright law. Either GPL is a license on distribution or it is an end user license. You can't say that it isn't a EULA if you add license terms that turn it into one. Anyone who says differently is kidding him/herself.

  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:47PM (#15795610) Homepage Journal
    I may be an OSSer, but I have nothing against commercial code, per se. How about this?: choose the set of rules you wish to operate under. If you want to keep the code closed to make money, pay money for your code base. If you wish to use GPLed code, pay for it with GPLed code.

    I have to disagree with you on this one. I'm not convinced that transmitting the output of, say, phpBB2 is the same as distributing the source of phpBB2. If I install it and modify a page, should I be obligated to make my patch available to anyone who views that page? That's not a rhetorical question, by the way, but a real issue that the GPLv3 introduces.

    The same could be said of any other GPLv3ed software that uses some kind of templating system to generate output. Word processors, code generators, database frontends, drawing programs: those all incorporate parts of themselves into their end products. Should graphics drawn with The GIMP be GPL because they contain circles made by The GIMP's copyrighted code? If not, then what's the fundamental difference between The GIMP and phpBB that should restrict the output of one and not the other?

    I apologize if this comes off like a troll, but I'm really curious. I don't understand this viewpoint but would be interested in seeing it logically supported.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @07:53PM (#15795645) Journal

    It may be optional, but it shouldn't even be optional. It shouldn't be there. The problem with it is that there is no answer to this question:

    At what point does a forked version of a piece of code cease to be the original program?

    Assume, for a moment, that PHPBB includes such a feature and includes that restriction. What happens when I take it and add functionality? They can no longer download the source that is running. The option to download the source isn't going to give customers what's running anyway, so they might as well just download it from the PHPBB web site manually. It isn't that hard to do a Google search.

    What if, for a more extreme example, I write my own bulletin board application from scratch, but use PHPBB's code for handling BBCode ([b]foo[/b] style notation)? I am technically violating the license. I am using PHPBB while removing the code that displays the link to get the source code. Of course, I'm also removing 99.9% of the rest of the code in PHPBB, but the point still remains that this is a license violation, and to include that link as-is (To download the source for this bulletin board, visit LINK_GOES_HERE) would be really absurd (and patently lying if the wording can't be completely rewritten).

    Basically, this option completely ignores good programming practices---namely modularity and code reuse. Anyone who attempts to use this option should be summarily banned from ever contributing code to ANY project ever again. Seriously. It's that bad. It means that the code contributed under that license can never be practically used in any form other than in its entirety as a full piece of software. This is both contrary to the letter and spirit of the GPL, as it effectively does not result in the contribution of usable code back to society as a whole. It is anything BUT "free" software at that point.

  • Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be in this draft....

    If you have a web service and offer the output code to the public, there are those who want you to offer the source if you use GPL'd components. No taking GPL'd components and creating something inhouse and offering the results to everyone else. Fortunately I don't think this is possible without making it a EULA instead of a copyright license.

    The GPL has never stopped people from making private modifications and then offering services to the public based on them. Google, for example, is not required to release any Linux kernel or GPL'd library changes simply because they offer web sites to the public. The reason is simply that this is not a matter of copyright law (IANAL, though).

    In essence there is no difference between saying "if you offer a web service, you have to offer your seb service's source code" and "if you compile your software against your own C libraries but you use the GCC, you must also distribute the GCC and its source code...."

    All in all, I think this draft is far better than the last one.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Thursday July 27, 2006 @11:00PM (#15796303)
    Besides the change in terminology, what is the actual policy? Is GPL going to forbid any code that implements DRM functionality? If so, won't it be impossible to make a GPL app that plays BluRay and HD-DVD discs, since these discs use AACS DRM? Same goes for handling other DRM media?
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew.gmail@com> on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:28AM (#15797733) Homepage Journal
    Linus just dismissed it out of hand saying nothing has changed. A great deal has changed since the first draft, including two key points that have been altered largely to appease him.

    I owe a great deal of thanks to Linus for his contributions to the world. But he can sure be a stubborn ass from time to time.

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