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Should Developers Switch to GPLv3? 174

Posted by Cliff
from the how-much-better-is-it-than-v2? dept.
Isaac IANAL asks: "Victor Loh of ExtremeTech writes about the General Public License version 3's clause, which requires releasing digital signature keys — in other words, the software should be able to retain interoperability when modified. The article raises an objection, citing Linus Torvalds, that the so-called TiVoisation clause would inhibit open-source adoption in embedded devices among entities such as governments, health care providers, and finance firms. The issue has been discussed on Slashdot many times before. If you're a developer for a platform that needs to run signed code, could you use software under the GPLv3, or does the GPLv3 (at its current, unreleased state) truly inhibit your control as a developer over your device?"
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Should Developers Switch to GPLv3?

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  • Not yet (Score:3, Funny)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @11:26AM (#16348713)
    Wait for the service pack.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 07, 2006 @02:23PM (#16350011)
      Your joke accidentally inspired a serious thought:

      This shouldn't be named "GPLv3" when done and finalized. If they do that, there will be a big clusterfuck of confusion and uncertainty, coming from "GPL" softwares with crucially differing GPL versions -- v2 vs. v3 -- and this will harm business adoption of open-source software. Not completely clueful managers and officers get confused, they lose face, so they go elsewhere. (That is, stay with closed-source.)

      "GPLv3" should be named "Stricter GPL -- SGPL" (or something like that), and "GPLv2" should be kept just "GPL" -- the familiar and famous thing that nobody has a problem with.

      And anybody responding that we FSF hippies don't give a damn what the corporate world wants or needs... I understand the sentiment ("we do tools for ourselves and that's all"), but it would be good to have FOSS spread further, and in the biz domain any such ambiquity or other "perception problem" can be a bigger problem than anything related to quality or technology. Make the GPLv3 into what you want, but make it clearly separate from the current well-established GPL.
  • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by also-rr (980579) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @11:31AM (#16348745) Homepage
    If you are writing from scratch you lose no control as you can dual, triple or whatever license your own code as you see fit.

    If I sit down and from scratch write a kernel I can release it under the GPL v2, v3, v8 and seventeen differrent closed licenses with no problems at all other than going mad from reading all of the legal junk that's required to define each one.

    It would only impact on me if I decided to use someone else's work as the basis for mine, or as part of mine, and then I would either have to comply with their license or do the work myself. Doesn't seem that hard to me.
    • GPLv2 is indeed as you describe, but GPLv3/draft goes slightly further than this, and that's what all the fuss is about. Many people have commented on the details of keys etc, but there are other issues causing trouble too, for example the change in underlying philosophy.

      GPLv2 was purely a copyright license (the FSF's "copyleft" is based in copyright, and only comes into effect when issues of copyright are engaged). Everyone knew that the license could never impact on your usage of any GPL'd software, onl
      • What part of the GPLv3 discussion draft 2 puts the restrictions on the end-user that you claim?

        GPLv3 only puts restrictions on redistribution, not on use. (Just like v2.)
      • Is putting the software on an embedded device you sell use or distribution?
        And what about network services (such as webpages)?

        If you take the game I wrote, I think it's ok to modify it to adapt to the gaming gadget you made. You don't want to release the code for that modification because you don't want to help the eventual competition, or that glue code would reveal details of your hardware. So far, so good.

        But if you start modifying the game core, I want you to contribute back. Maybe the solution to this
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by tricorn (199664)

        The philosophy is the same. The primary motivating goal behind the GPL has always been to enable the end user the freedom to modify the software that they receive, in whatever fashion, and be able to share the software they're using (modified or not) with others. Patents inhibit that freedom. The restrictions on someone who uses patents as a weapon against Free Software are ONLY to the acts of modifying and distributing it, which is completely within copyright law.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      It would only impact on me if I decided to use someone else's work as the basis for mine, or as part of mine, and then I would either have to comply with their license or do the work myself. Doesn't seem that hard to me.

      This is ignjoring the principles of free software. Or at least how they have been explained to me over these past 10 or so years. If I code something, Say a Kernel that does percises calculations 20 times faster and more acuratly then currently availible, and release it under GPLv3 as it

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by metamatic (202216)
        When you buy a Tivo, you buy a TIVO, not a PC or experiment/development computer.

        When you buy a PC, you buy a PC running Windows. Presumably you'd have no objection if all the PC manufacturers were required by Microsoft to implement code signing support so that unsigned Linux wouldn't run?

        • by fotbr (855184)
          Except buying a PC doesn't mean buying a PC with Windows. There are plenty of places that will sell you a PC with no OS, with Redhat or Suse, etc.

          Its the difference between an appliance (TiVo) and a general purpose computer (the PC).
      • I don't see any reason why a software license should be forcing it's values on hardware vendors. When you buy a Tivo, you buy a TIVO, not a PC or experiment/development computer. If TIVO has to only run thier signed code on the unit in order to get hardware licensing or content licensing from others, then thats thier obligation not the GPLs place to break.

        Well that's hypocritical, then.

        If Tivo licenses hardware that imposes certain requirements on them, and then they license GPL3 software, which imposes oth
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          No it isn't hypocritical at all. The cost of the TIVO or what ever device involves a set of actions. You buy a hardware device, pay for a service. It is the company's business plan. Some software license shouldn't be a tool or loophole to get atound the intended costs of a device and still have that device function as it is intended. It is like Texas Instrements has no obligation to maintian thier calculator's fitness to calculate if you turn it into an MP3 player. Gpl aside or not, it just isn't there curr
          • It is like Texas Instrements has no obligation to maintian thier calculator's fitness to calculate if you turn it into an MP3 player.

            They do if they enter into a contract that says that they do.

            It is almost as if the GPL people want everyone in corperate software and companies to not tuse GPLed software or let the GPL people run thier companies.

            Actually, that's always been a criticism of the GPL. Businesses would prefer something more like BSD, frankly. All you're arguing about is the degree to which the GP
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @11:38AM (#16348793)
    If you are really interested in building a community around your project, choose a license that not only lets people contribute back to you (meaning that it has to be open to them in the first place) but also allows them to leave any time without having to forfeit their work (meaning that you have a cooperative relationship, not a dom/sub relationship).

    GPLv3 is the worst of the series, IMO. Where it fails is in its insistence that if you want to be part of the community that you basically have to turn over every single thing to the whole community before you get the blessing to participate. Got a patent? Sorry, bud, check that at the door. Want to run specialized programs that require secrecy of code? Not on this platform, man. Want to mingle your closed code with our open widget? Give up all your source first.

    It's not inviting at all except to anyone who has more to gain than lose from such a relationship. So what you get is a bunch of people who are actually leeches creating programs that no one else outside the community can even look at for fear of contamination.

    If you want to share, then share. If you want to profit off of others and view everyone that looks at your code without contribution as suspicious, choose the new GPL. (The Artistic License for example, before it became GPL-compatible, was actually very cool and was able to gain a very large and loyal following for the Perl language. People contributed out of a sense of community, not out of coercion or because they were collecting a paycheck to do it.)
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kamochan (883582)

      The parent got the gist of it.

      I have participated in projects which involved patents and resulted in sellable products - and every single line of code (protocol stacks, device drivers, bug fixes etc) that was not crucial to the heart of the customized product were released as open source. It didn't make any sense not to. We always used BSD codebases, though, somewhat wary as to what mess GPLv2 might get us into. With GPLv3, GPL'd code would not even enter the consideration.

      One must also remember that ma

      • by tricorn (199664)

        So continue to use GPLv2, if that's what you want. Note, however, that if you could combine your code with GPLv2 code, and not release parts of your codebase along with it, you can still do the same thing with GPLv3 as well. The basic idea of a derivative work versus "aggregation" hasn't changed. You can release parts of your program under GPLv3 and still release the rest with your macho patented code under any other license you want. If you can't do that under GPLv3, then you couldn't keep the source c

    • by Mr2001 (90979) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @02:41PM (#16350119) Homepage Journal
      GPLv3 is the worst of the series, IMO. Where it fails is in its insistence that if you want to be part of the community that you basically have to turn over every single thing to the whole community before you get the blessing to participate.

      Wow, I don't see it that way at all. Yes, you have to turn over enough that the community can actually use the code you're giving back to them, and that seems perfectly reasonable to me. To give back modifications that are useless to the community because of patents or hardware DRM is to spit in the face of what the GPL is all about.
    • by ClamIAm (926466) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @04:23PM (#16350719)
      The first thing I noticed when reading your post is that I don't think you understand the goal of the GNU project and the FSF. Their goal is to promote Free Software:

      Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:

      • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).

      •  
      • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

      •  
      • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).

      •  
      • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.


      Keeping these points in mind, let's look at your examples:

      If you are really interested in building a community, choose a license that ... also allows them to leave any time without having to forfeit their work

      So if I decide to stop contributing to your GPL3 project, I have to surrender my copyright to the code I've contributed? That's news to me.

      [GPL3 forces you] to turn over every single thing to the whole community before you get the blessing to participate.

      This is not true. First, no one is forcing you to use this license. You make it out to sound like the FSF will shun you unless you use only this specific license, which is not true. Second, GPL3 does not force you to give up everything. You still hold the copyright to code your wrote, so you can also release it under other licenses. If you release a trademarked program, you can specify how you wish for the mark to be used.

      Got a patent? Sorry, bud, check that at the door.

      See freedoms 2 and 3.

      Want to run specialized programs that require secrecy of code? Not on this platform, man. Want to mingle your closed code with our open widget? Give up all your source first.

      You do not state the technical manner in which the "secrecy" and "mingling" is happening. Depending on this, these could very well be prohibited by the GPL2, completely invalidating them as fodder for your diatribe.

      So what you get is a bunch of people who are actually leeches

      This is pretty hilarious. How does the new GPL allow people to "leech" anything? No one is being forced to use this license. I'm guessing you're talking about those evil guys who will no doubt incorporate BSD code into their GPL3 programs. Yeah, those guys are totally violating the spirit of that license. Oh wait.

      no one else outside the community can even look at for fear of contamination.

      This is no different from looking at code that implements a software patent, or signing an NDA to look at proprietary code.

      If you want to profit off of others and view everyone that looks at your code without contribution as suspicious, choose the new GPL.

      If by "profit" you mean "allow everyone the freedom to use, study, modify, and distribute my code while preventing others from taking away these freedoms", then I agree with you. That's a pretty good profit derived from using this license.

      Also, I fail to see how choosing the GPL3 would force me to view those who study my code as "suspicious".

      In all, I fail to see how any of your points are really valid. You fail to actually define what you mean by key words in your argument. Of course, this allows you to shield yourself from having to debate any real issues, such as the meaning of "freedom", "rights", or "responsibilities". So perhaps this was intentional.
    • by fferreres (525414)
      In other workds....what to contribute or use a really open/free source ...

      >Got a patent? Sorry, bud, check that at the door. ... without fear of breaking the law ...

      >Want to run specialized programs that require secrecy of code? Not on this platform, man. ... that's truly open ...

      >Want to mingle your closed code with our open widget? Give up all your source first. ... and will keep that way in the future? The GPLv3 could be the best of the series if you like that.
  • I doubt it, the v3 might be ace, but I would be very conservative with my code and what licence to use, v2 seems to work well and I'd be inclinded to stay there - problems that early adopters have are not limited to hardware!

    I myself have a question which is not entirely off topic, which somone might be able to answer. Can I release a document which I've written under the GPL if it is not software, say an article or something? I would want people to be able to use my work in a fair way, and after I'm de
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BadAnalogyGuy (945258)
      The GFDL is what you are looking for.

      http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html [gnu.org]

      Some people think it is antithetical to the purported aims of the GPL and the FSF.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Falkkin (97268)
      Many of the Creative Commons licenses are more useful for non-software creative works. They have a wide variety of licenses, including "share-alike" (similar to the GPL), "attribution required" (similar to BSD), and so on. The GFDL is also meant for "documentation", but I personally don't like it (the bit about "invariant sections" is very crufty.)

      See www.creativecommons.org for more info.
      • CC-by is a trap. Read the text of the license, it allows the author to require his name be taken off a distributed work, and simultaneously prohibit distributing a derivative work without attribution. In other words, author can arbitrarily prohibit derivative works on a case-by-case basis.
        • That is not a trap, it's a feature. Authors are rather odd people in that they fully accept people will steal their work...Possibly because books have been around for five hundred years now, compared to 90 with recorded media and movies, and they know the ropes. On these grounds the CC licences allow them to take the moral high ground of saying 'if you are going to steal my work can you please follow these simple guide lines' (note I am talking about works they are not intending to sell or that they inten
      • by tricorn (199664)
        The new proposed GNU Simpler Free Documentation License [ . . . ] has no requirements to maintain Cover Texts and Invariant Sections. This will provide a simpler licensing option for authors who do not wish to use these features in the GNU FDL.

        You can read it here [fsf.org].

    • The other comments are useful, but also note that you could release a regular written document under the GPL itself. It might not be the best fit, but it is doable.
  • by arun_s (877518)
    Okay, I may be a little tipsy, and legal loopholes may not be my strong point, but what exactly is wrong with v3? As I understand it, one of its main purposes is to prevent cases like Tivo from happening again, where the source is officially released (therefore GPL-compliant), but modified builds won't work anyway (not covered in GPLv2, therefore legally correct, but still against the actual spirit of the GPL)
    Isn't it expected that licenses will evolve as technmology changes, and as loopholes are exploited
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ClamIAm (926466)
      The reason the GPL3 gets picked on so much is that most people forget that the GPL is only a means to an end. It is the legal agreement that the FSF believes will promote the ideals of Free Software [gnu.org]. All versions of the GPL have had requirements in them, and this one is no different.

      In essence, people are confusing the algorithm (Free Software) with the implementation (the specific license or version thereof). The fact that the most visible people whining about it are programmers is truly some incredible
      • by portnoy (16520)
        I don't think people forget that at all. The problem is that the GPLv2 was appropriate not just to the realm of free software, but to the intent of open source as well, and as such people were able to appreciate and use GPLv2 without buying into the Four Freedoms.

        In essence, the implementation was appropriate not just to one algorithm but two, and the revised implementation is more suitable to one algorithm but is less suitable to the other. It's hardly surprising that programmers would claim that this make
  • Code needs to be used; if it isn't then what good does it do anybody?

    If a company like Tivo makes changes so the kernel can support a particular situation better they have to release the code back to the community. That's the purpose of the GPL.

    While there are downsides to a company like Tivo preventing any 'foreign' software from running on the system the fact is it prevents them from having to deal with thousands of variations and means they choose how and what to support. The alternative is they use some
    • by bfree (113420)

      I couldn't write a suitable clause, but I believe the issue with the GPL V3 draft is that it approaches the whole thing in the wrong way and so ends up overreaching. Instead I think that all the true concerns could be addressed by instead adding a clause to GPL V2 (I don't literally mean amend V2 I just mean the amount required to change for V3 would drop significantly) which prevents you from distributing the software with hardware unless the owner of the hardware can run any modified versions of the cod

      • Have I missed something?

        Well, what I would do would be to ship the Tivo without the GPL-based software, and instead with a small, custom program that was severely locked down, and which would then go to Tivo's website upon set-up, and download the GPL-based software. This is because the magic word you used was 'with.' By distributing the hardware separately from the software, the former wasn't distributed with the latter. Problem solved for Tivo, but you, the user, are still SOL if you want to run your own
        • by bfree (113420)
          I would like to exclude that, covering it with the bundling exception (I guess you have to encompass at least all gpl software supplied for use on hardware supplied by the same company). However even if they were allowed that workaround, how many users would be at least be suspicious of the "you must connect this machine up to a network to download extra material from tivo to make this box functional".
          • Why be suspicious? That's how tv schedules are put onto the Tivos to begin with, as I understand it, and recording tv according to a schedule is one of the big functions of the Tivo. Heck, if you really want to do it regardless of the users, I'd put in a wireless card, and so long as the connection was working, only display a message that said something generic like 'Starting Up for the First Time -- This will take a few minutes' rather than say that it's furiously dl'ing its software from the best open WAP
            • by bfree (113420)
              The wifi hardware bumps the price and I imagine Tivo would be sued for selling a non-functional package without labelling it as such. The tivo will work fine without a subscription (but no scheduling makes it near worthless to most people) so I'm sure the box will just have one of those little * and a footnote of "* requires Tivo subscription and connection to tivo network" now, but under your scheme the entire box would need that warning (or else lawsuit time). Of course creating that locked down mini-
  • So why would anyone want to decide right now if they would use the GPLv3 or not? Most projects that are licensed under the GPLv2 have the "version 2 or any later version" clause in them, so developers could, when the GPLv3 is finalized, choose to "fork" their project to that license, or keep it the same.

    Discussing the good and bad points of the current GPLv3 draft is valid and we should be doing that here. But to ask the question "should developers switch to it?" is immature and a little silly at this poi
  • by Cyclops (1852) <(rms) (at) (1407.org)> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:07PM (#16349019) Homepage
    You're getting it all wrong starting with the post content!
    Victor Loh of ExtremeTech writes about the General Public License version 3's clause, which requires releasing digital signature keys -- in other words, the software should be able to retain interoperability when modified.
    The enhanced part is a plain lie. The article of ExtremeTech doesn't even say that!.

    Spreading it is (either by ignorance or by malice) helping bad companies, like TiVo for instance.. Please read on the following to understand WHAT the GPL v3 draft says.

    The draft version of the GPLv3 says that IF AND ONLY IF the software you want to run, needs some special digital signature, then and only then must the digital signatures acompany the source code.

    1. Source Code.

    (...)

    The Corresponding Source also includes any encryption or authorization keys necessary to install and/or execute modified versions from source code in the recommended or principal context of use, such that they can implement all the same functionality in the same range of circumstances.

    (...)

    3. No Denying Users' Rights through Technical Measures.

    Regardless of any other provision of this License, no permission is given for modes of conveying that deny users that run covered works the full exercise of the legal rights granted by this License.

    No covered work constitutes part of an effective technological "protection" measure under section 1201 of Title 17 of the United States Code. When you convey a covered work, you waive any legal power to forbid circumvention of technical measures that include use of the covered work, and you disclaim any intention to limit operation or modification of the work as a means of enforcing the legal rights of third parties against the work's users.

    (...)
    So, what does all this blurb mean? Is Linus so obtuse he can't read english? No. So...?

    I could understand it if he said that he felt he couldn't ignore the contributions of some hardware manufacturers, but what does he say? He says that GPLv3 "sucks" because it prevents legitimate businesses like those of TiVo. That if users don't like that hardware, they can use other hardware.

    As usual, untrue pragmatism. The pragmatist doesn't idealize about perfect future conditions that may or may not happen. The true pragmatist solves the problem in a practical and definitive form: preventing the harm from happening.
    • by petrus4 (213815)
      No covered work constitutes part of an effective technological "protection" measure under section 1201 of Title 17 of the United States Code. When you convey a covered work, you waive any legal power to forbid circumvention of technical measures that include use of the covered work, and you disclaim any intention to limit operation or modification of the work as a means of enforcing the legal rights of third parties against the work's users.

      By stipulating this, Stallman is implicitly calling for civil disob
      • by Sloppy (14984) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:29PM (#16349609) Homepage Journal
        but what he is effectively saying is that the legal requirements of the GPL v3 are in direct conflict with American law.

        No. You have misinterpreted.

        Section 1201 of Title 17 (a.k.a. DMCA) defines circumvention as bypassing controls without authorization, and that authorization isn't something that comes from the law or the government -- it comes from the copyright holder. What the GPL is really doing here, is saying that the GPLed works' copyright holder grants authorization. If you withhold authorization (thereby triggering the malignancy of DMCA) then you have violated the license.

        A lot of people seem to think that DMCA prohibits descrambling, but it really just prohibits descrambling without permission. If I hold the copyright on a CSS-protected movie and sell it to you, and I say "You may crack the CSS on this movie" then you legally may crack the CSS on that movie; you will not be violating Article 17 Section 1201. Now imagine if I had some little piece of a movie, such that lots of people wanted to make derived works of my movie fragment, and I licensed it under the condition "you, the licensee, may not forbid circumvention of CSS on your derived work." Then anyone who used my movie fragment, would have to allow CSS to be cracked on their movie. That's essentially what GPL3 is doing here.

        It's not "locking horns" with the legal system; it's playing within the rules. And one of the rules is that the copyright holder may grant authorization to bypass.

        • by dissy (172727)
          The part i'm still confused about, is that the DMCA seperatly seems to outlaw the production of tools to circumvent DRM.
          I admit my own interpertation of the DMCA is probably flawed, and would hold the same to most of the interpratations of fellow slashdotters, however

          If your form of DRM was unique, and the only software using that DRM was GPLv3, then perhaps the tools to break that DRM would also not be illegal to produce or distribute...

          But using your example of CSS, while if YOU attempted to sue me for cr
          • by Sloppy (14984)

            But using your example of CSS, while if YOU attempted to sue me for cracking your DRM, you lose the right to use the GPLv3 licence and thus your CSS protected video is no longer under any licence, it seems you could still sue both me for posessing the cracking tools

            I couldn't sue you for having or trafficking in the cracking tools (since by using GPL3, I would have already granted everyone permission to use such tools) but, yeah, somebody else who uses CSS could. Whether they would win or not, remains to

      • by Agripa (139780)
        By stipulating this, Stallman is implicitly calling for civil disobedience, at least where US law is concerned. Whether you consider that *morally* appropriate in itself is another issue...but what he is effectively saying is that the legal requirements of the GPL v3 are in direct conflict with American law. I am assuming there that the law is one prohibiting reverse engineering of software.

        I agree RMS is pushing very hard on the issue of DRM and the DMCA subverting the intent of the GPL but how does the GP
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sloppy (14984)

      He says that GPLv3 "sucks" because it prevents legitimate businesses like those of TiVo. That if users don't like that hardware, they can use other hardware.

      What's sad is that Linus sees what Tivo has done as "legitimate." Go back a few decades, Linus. When RMS couldn't maintain his laser printer driver, RMS could have just used other hardware. Obviously, RMS didn't like that idea. He didn't like it so much, that the GPL was invented practically as a response to that incident. GPL exists because "jus

  • Choose the one you like.

    If you are considering the GPL, choose if you want v2 or v3.
    Personally I think the GPLv3 creates more problems than it solves.
  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @12:32PM (#16349175) Homepage Journal

    For explanations of the changes in GPLv3, I highly recommend reading (or skimming) the transcripts of the GPLv3 conferences [fsfeurope.org]. Each transcript includes the subsequent Q&A session, and each begins with a list of links to the topics covered and the questions asked.

    The freshest transcript is RMS in Bangalore in August [fsfeurope.org]. Here are the others:

    Many also include links to audio and/or video recordings, and there's more general information about the timeline and how to participate on FSFE's GPLv3 page [fsfeurope.org].

    Also, if you want to help raise the quality of discussion, a useful and really easy thing to do is to pass these links on to others.

    • by petrus4 (213815)
      Also, if you want to help raise the quality of discussion

      Raise the quality of discussion? I'm curious...is your definition of a quality discussion in this context one which is supportive of RMS' position by default?
      • No. If everyone agreed with RMS and found nothing that should be changed in draft 1 of GPLv3, there wouldn't be much point in having a year-long public consultation.

        Criticism and suggestions are useful.

        The problem is that too often there are debates under the topic of "GPLv3" which are wholely unrelated to GPLv3. People debate ideas such as "Should GPLv3 prohibit DRM", when GPLv3 doesn't prohibit DRM at all, only tivoisation. Or people debate "What if I don't own the device? What about my work computer?
    • If nothing else, that's a pretty impressive travel schedule for a non profit. Italy, Barcelona, Ireland, India, Brazil. All those donations to the FSF going to a good cause. (Yes, yes, I know it's important to "spread the word", but is it really necessary to have several conferences around the world which are not much more than "disemination"?)
      • Travel expenses for GPLv3 conferences are paid from a fund contributed to by companies with instructions that they be spent on GPLv3 awareness. To the best of my knowledge, none, or very little GPLv3-related travel was paid for out of ordinary donations. The FSFs are quite a frugal bunch.

        And, for this unusual project, "disemination" is not only important, it is the duty of FSF. Because of the "any later version" clause, when FSF release GPLv3 it will change the terms under which a lot of software can be
        • Also, I just want to add that between FSF [fsf.org], FSFE [fsfeurope.org], FSFI [fsf.org.in], and FSFLA [fsfla.org], organising events around the World is not so difficult. There is a local network of employees and/or volunteers in many cities (and these would be the places chosen to host events).

          And, after getting many experts into one place so that a large discussion can be had, all events were recorded in some way. A good example is the European conference, for which the entire two days were recorded and put online [fsfeurope.org].

  • sheesh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xtifr (1323) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:09PM (#16349431) Homepage
    > If you're a developer for a platform that needs to run signed code, could you use software under the GPLv3

    Yes!

    > or does the GPLv3 (at its current, unreleased state) truly inhibit your control as a developer over your device?"

    No! Any more questions? :)

    (Ok, if you want to get picky: it doesn't inhibit your control over "your" device, but it may inhibit your ability to inhibit others. You know--the people who actually OWN "your" device! But that's the whole point!)

    This whole "requires releasing digital keys" nonsense has to go! Whoever invented that meme should be shot. And I don't care how many of you like his fucking kernel! :) Me--I consider myself a pragmatist too. I've used the BSD license, GPL, Apache, and many more, not to mention semi-free and proprietary licenses. I base my decisions on what I think is appropriate for the project I'm working on. Not on what a bunch of fanatics tell me. But the GPLv3 seems perfectly in line with the GPLv2 to me. It closes a couple of obvious loopholes, and little more. When I get some code released under the GPL, I expect to be able to fix it. TiVo showed us all that that wasn't necessarily true. If it were my code they were using, I'd be pissed as hell!

    Everyone's talking like this is going to have huge effects. The fact is that there is really, so far, only one company that would have been affected, and they won't be affected because the Linux kernel devs long ago decided to stick with v2. And now the devs want to justify that decision by pointing out all the supposed flaws with v3. I'm not impressed with their reasoning.

    People talk about voting machines. The solution there is easy. The software needs to provide a signature of the results AND the software together. Then you can easily detect tampering while still providing all the freedom necessary to fix problems.

    Going with GPLv2-only is the WORST possible solution, as far as I can tell. That will guarantee license-incompatibility in the future. Frankly, I see nothing in the GPLv3 draft that would justify the kind of headaches that going to GPLv2-only would cause. In fact, I see nothing in the GPLv3 worth bitching about. Yes, it's new, yes, there's some controversy, but my god, I was there when the original GPL was released, and this controversy ain't nothin' compared to the shitstorm of controversy back then! Well, Stallman turned out to be basically right about the GPL in the first place, and, by comparison, I see nothing but tiny, incremental improvements this time around.

    The GPLv3 will be happening, and I, and probably tens of thousands of others, will be using it. Get used to it!

    By the end of the next decade, I predict that people choosing GPLv2-only licenses will be being cursed as roundly and solidly as those who chose non-dual-licensed MPL or Artistic are today.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by petrus4 (213815)
      >The GPLv3 will be happening, and I, and probably tens of thousands of others, will
        >be using it. Get used to it!

      Yes...because as we all know, more than anything else the definition of freedom is having other people decide what happens without being able to do a thing about it ourselves.

      Another wonderful example of one of RMS's fans demonstrating to us just how glorious Stallman's vision of freedom truly could be. Still think it looks appealing? ;-)
      • by Alsee (515537)
        Yes...because as we all know, more than anything else the definition of freedom is having other people decide what happens without being able to do a thing about it ourselves.

        What a bizarre statement. You were obviously trying to be sarcastic, but your statement was perfectly true as it was. YES... the definition of freedom is having other people decide what they do without being able to do a thing about it yourself. If other people choose to wear their hats backwards, then he was right... get used to iy. I
    • by jareds (100340)

      People talk about voting machines. The solution there is easy. The software needs to provide a signature of the results AND the software together. Then you can easily detect tampering while still providing all the freedom necessary to fix problems.

      Huh? If I tamper with software on a voting machine, the tampered software will of course provide a signature of the tampered results and the original software.

      Are you suggesting that voting machines have a hardware mechanism for signing the state of the machi

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:15PM (#16349485) Homepage Journal
    From article:
    Governments, health care providers, and finance firms require private, tamper-proof solutions.

    Governments, healthcare providers, and finance firms don't need to be able to make sure their software can be maintained? They want to be locked into a single source?

    This is such a bullshit argument. Nothing about GPL3 prevents you from making your own machine tamper-proof. What they're really talking about, is distributing widgets to other people such that the other people cannot maintain or "tamper with" the widget. Governments, healthcare providers, and finance firms do not need that. Only media companies [think they] need that.

    From submitter:

    If you're a developer for a platform that needs to run signed code..

    Before you finish that question, let's get something straight. When that platform is deployed, the end user will have the ability to install or choose what key(s) (perhaps even the end user's own key) the platform will accept, right? If so, then I really don't think you're going to have a problem with GPL3.

    If the end user will not be able to sign code themselves, then fuck off. You sure as hell aren't talking about using DRM as a security feature, because users are the party who are ultimately responsible for their own security. Nobody cares if your project is GPL3 compatable or not, and nobody cares if your project uses Linux, because Linux is almost useless, like any other OS, if users cannot get maintenance whenever they want it. If your project can't get bugs fixed or features added (including features that you, the developer, think are bad ideas) then your project might as well run MS Windows. Maybe Torvalds doesn't care about users anymore, but Linux didn't get all the other developers working on it (including the ones who wrote those free drivers that you salivate over) by fucking the users over. Linux attracted people and became a successful project by not being user-hostile.

  • the so-called TiVoisation clause would inhibit open-source adoption in embedded devices among entities


    GPLv3 is one more option added, it will not erradicate GPLv2 (duh), so why all the fuss?

    Well, I can tell one reason: to help developers be aware of these questions, and decide carefuly which license to use. The best one will depend on each situation. I understand Linus' concerns, he's pobrably right picking v2.
  • "either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."

    There, was that so hard?
  • The bottom line is that the FSF honestly never should have been involved with Linux to begin with, IMHO. Stallman never would have become more than a historical footnote if it hadn't...He has been riding Linus's coat tails, and (which is even more galling) trying to claim that it is actually the other way around.

    A lot of people have criticised Linus for the amount he has said about this...in my own mind, he hasn't gone nearly far enough. IMHO he needs to publically confront Stallman, and then move the ker
    • by bfree (113420)

      The FSF are not involved in Linux, they just know that a significant usage of the Gnu software is on Linux. For every argument that Linux rode on Gnu there is probably an equal counter argument, I would suggest the two are simply codependant (without Gnu Linux is unlikely to have ever left x86 and certainly wouldn't have done it so quickly, without Linux RMS's dream of fully free computers would probably be a long way back). Linux has helped the FSF, the FSF has helped Linux.

      Now to more serious matters

    • by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Saturday October 07, 2006 @03:40PM (#16350453) Homepage
      Okay, no.

      First off, Linux is only a kernel. Did you somehow forget what else comes with a GNU/Linux distribution? The shells? The binary utilities? The network managers?

      Last time I checked, Linux was best built with a GCC toolchain. That's right, a GNU C compiler is used to build Linux. Oh, and you should be using GNU make to configure it.

      The FSF and its GNU project provide support utilities for virtually every Linux distro out there right now. Sadly, most of them, excepting Debian and its derivatives, have thrown away their acknoledgement of GNU and its importance in making Linux work. That is exactly how you talk -- as if GNU has done nothing for Linux.

      What I hear from you is nothing more than fanboy's prattle. You honestly believe that Linux owes nothing to the FSF? NOTHING?

      Without GNU, I would not have the following utilities:
      • aspell
      • autoconf
      • automake
      • bash
      • bison
      • denemo
      • diff
      • gparted
      • gpg
      • grep
      • grub
      • gzip
      • less
      • libtool
      • lilypond
      • m4
      • make
      • nano
      • screen
      • sed
      • tar
      • wget
      ...as well as the entire GNU compiler collection, assembler/linker suite and command-line utilities, and readline library. Oh, and GNOME. Oh, and the C/C++ standard library for Linux.

      Still feel that Linux doesn't need the GNU project or the FSF? Well, fine. Just don't call me an "uncompromising, radical, neo-Bolshevik extremist" anymore.
      • by coaxial (28297)
        The fact is you don't need the GNU system, you can easily use the BSD tools and the intel compiler, and so you don't need GNU tools. Further more in an embeded environment, you wouldn't necessarily have any of those tools.

        going through your list, there are plenty of alternatives to the GNU system, here's a few.

        aspell -> ispell
        bash -> ash
        bison -> yacc
        diff -> bsd diff
        gparted -> partition magic
        gpg -> pgp
        grep -> bsd grep
        grub -> lilo
        gzip -> compress
        less -> bsd
        m4 -> bsd
        make -
    • by mkcmkc (197982)
      RMS has been villified in this way almost from the beginning. The one striking thing I notice, though, is that whenever I hear him speak, or read (verbatim) his writing, his words seem logical and reasonable to me. The villification apparently is always based on some misunderstanding or distortion of his ideas.

      This seems to be one more chapter in the saga. I've been hearing buzzing about how horrible the GPLv3 is, and then when I actually look closely at the details, it appears perfectly innocuous. If

    • by Alsee (515537)
      you can tell me how ignorant and foolish you think I am

      Ok, and you well deserve it.

      You were completely ignorant and foolish to say Linus should move Linux to a different license.... because Linus is LEGALLY INCAPABLE of modifying the license on Linux. Virtually all of the code in Linux is copyrighted by OTHER PEOPLE, and Linus would be violating thousands of people's copyrights if he attempted to release Linux under a different license.

      If you don't like the GPL, or you don't like the GPLv3, then FINE.... do
  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Saturday October 07, 2006 @01:58PM (#16349837) Homepage Journal
    does the GPLv3 ... truly inhibit your control as a developer over your device?

    "Your" device? Once you've sold it to a customer, it's ceased to be "your" device. If a customer buys a device that runs GPLed software, they have the freedom to replace that software as they see fit. That's entire purpose of the GPL: to grant end users freedom. Complaining that the GPLv3 inhibits a developer's control over their device is like complaining that GPLv2 inhibits a developer's control over their software. Congratulations on identifying the core purpose of the GPL.

    Next week on Ask Slashdot: "Can you use the Bill of Rights in your dictatorship, or does the it truly inhibit your control as a dictator over your citizens?"

  • If a device had one small seprate and spacific hardware function that would checksome the code and check the checksome against the key if the code was an offical relaease a small led or other indicater would come on, if not the indicator would not.
    Would trying to release software under the GPL3 for the device controvine the GPL3?

    The idea would be that voting machines, medical devices, and other items where the authenticity of the software is critical could indicate the authentcity of the software, while not
  • In my opinion, whether to stay with GPLv2 or move to GPLv3 boils down to the same thing as the question of whether to stay with a BSD license or move to the GPL: what things do you care about?

    1. Do you have a problem with a company taking your code, adding their patented methods to it, and using patent enforcement to block anybody from modifying and redistributing the patent-containing version, while they distribute it and make money off it?
    2. Do you care whether a hardware manufacturer takes your code, uses i
  • The question is FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuel.bcgreen@com> on Saturday October 07, 2006 @08:23PM (#16351977) Homepage Journal
    The GPL3 does not, as I understand it require that you release your personal (or company) private key.

    It simply requires that you provide the user with the ability to use/create a functional key which provides identical functionality.

    That way you can't end up with a situation where, say, Microsoft, uses their market clout to make hardware manufacturers release 'secure' boxes which only boot from Microsoft keys, and then they release a Linux kernel signed by Microsoft.... Now you have the source code to the Microsoft Linux kernel, but no 'comodity' box that will boot your recompiled kernel because they all require Microsoft's key.

    Now, Microsoft (and Linus) can keep their private key private -- they just have to provide you with a key (any key) that will boot your box ... and They just can't punish you for using your own kernel (as long as it provides identical functionality).

  • The FSF doesn't need to convince Linus and the other kernel developers. All they really need to do is make everything *but* the kernel GPLv3. Linux is not very useful without bash or a number of other programs.

    Another trick would be to put glibc under an LGPLv3 that has the same restriction on software signing systems.

    Switch lobbying efforts to trying to get Samba to use GPLv3.

    The endgame of the Trusted Computing fight is that within a few years an operating system that isn't TCG-signed will not be able t

  • The restrictiveness of the TiVo situation is caused by the closed hardware, not the GPL software. The software is doing its job under the GPL.

    The intent of the GPL (even RMS would have to admin) was to ensure freedom to tinker
    • on general purpose computers

    , not to patch an embedded system.

    The "right to tinker" may be central to FSF philosophy, but it's the least important of the GPL rights to the general public. Strange as it may seem, 99.9% of the world doesn't write code. And further, that right is still a

  • .... with the real world and the needs of the open source community at large can be seen in the fact that the redline between the second and third drafts of GPLv3 is enormous; more than half the text had to be rewritten, and changes are not something that a purist like Stallman makes readily.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm an open source zealot myself, and I have huge respect for what RMS has done to put open software on the map, and having someone on the extreme acts as a foil for moderates, but the GPL is not a
    • We do use GPL'ed stuff, but as a business person I prefer almost any other major open source license (Apache, BSD, Artistic, etc.)

      Ok. You referred to some unspecified legal problems regarding GPL before that paragraph, so I assume your business decisions were based on those fears... Could you explain how any other open source license is better?

      Also, you describe GPLv3 as totally unsuitable for business use, but do not back the claim in any way. At least point out which clause you think rules out using GPL v

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