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GNU is Not Unix

GPL 3.0 Rewrite Drive Is No Democracy 386

linumax writes "Users will be free to comment on the upcoming complex and technical draft versions of the GNU General Public License 3.0 in an easy way, according to Eben Moglen, general counsel for the Free Software Foundation. However, Moglen said Wednesday, speaking at the Open Source Business Conference here, the rewrite of the GPL is not an election and there will be no voting on its clauses. In a session entitled GPL 3.0: Directions, Implications, Casualties, Moglen said that when GPL 2.0 was promulgated some 14 years ago, very few people cared about it. On the advice of a few dozen people and a couple of lawyers, it was written and released. "That was a fine system then. It is not a fine system now. I expect the process around GPL 3.0, when it begins in some 60 to 90 days' time, to collect a great deal of comment from people on the draft documents... ", He said."
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GPL 3.0 Rewrite Drive Is No Democracy

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  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:48PM (#13945727) Homepage Journal
    Everybody knows those GNU people are a bunch of Commies. :)
    • You apparently don't understand the difference between economic and political systems. Communism does not imply non-democratic. In fact, it works best in democracies. On the same path, capitalistic does not imply democratic- in fact, it lend itself best to oligarchies.
  • by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slashdot@gmail . c om> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:50PM (#13945756) Homepage Journal
    does that mean that the GPL is *NOT* open source? (you can see but you can't touch)?

    But... I thought... GPL... open... *HEAD EXPLODES*
    • It's as open source as Red Hat. You are free to reuse the code but not the trademark. If you modify it, rename it.

      Beside, this non-democracy is exactly how it should be. People having a clue about law get together to write a legal bullet proof license. They will take comments from the community to improve it but there won't be any vote.

      It's the same way open source projects works. Do you think Linux is a democracy ?

      What keeps developers (and license writers) honest is that if they go too far, someone c
    • Re:Wait wait wait... (Score:2, Informative)

      by Trevahaha ( 874501 )
      I believe the GPL allows you to copy it only in whole, not sections. So technically, GPL doesn't allow you to take it and modify it for your own use... even if you rename it.
      Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA
      Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
    • does that mean that the GPL is *NOT* open source?

      No, it is not. The GPL is copyrighted by the FSF and modifications to it are not allowed.
    • Re:Wait wait wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:15PM (#13946463) Homepage Journal
      The text of the GPL is constrained to be the same everywhere, so that we don't get a million GPL flavors that aren't compatible with each other and increase the combinatorial problem, as happened with the Mozilla licenses. There must be more than a dozen Mozilla license variants now. They breed like tribbles, and are just as annoying.

      Bruce

      • by aphor ( 99965 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @09:13PM (#13946817) Journal

        There are (for the purpose of this post) innumerable possible licenses out there. Only one of them will be called GPL3.0, but if you don't like the one arbitrarily named GPL3.0 you are perfectly free to use one of the others. Keep using GPL2.0, for instance. The democracy in the GPL3.0 is VOLUNTARY ADOPTION. This license will not be foisted on anyone.

        The real problem is that lots of people may dislike GPL3.0, and they will likely go with plan B, which may not be the same license as everyone else. Then we will all have to read the fine print again. Of course, upon rejection of the GPL3.0 license, these same dissenters can (and probably will) wish they had an acceptible GPL, which provides the perfect motivation for a GPL3.1 fork. We all have to choose between the LGPL and the GPL as things stand, because there was a bifurcation in the types of GPL software, their users and their respective licensing needs. It isn't clear whether this situation is more or less dangerous than the debate that led to the LGPL. The implied message is clear: "GPL3.0 may not be any good."

        The expression that GPL3.0 might be bad is meaningless because it doesn't exist yet. Communicating this to a mass audience is FUD. The purpose is to stir up demand for participation in the GPL3.0 drafting process, which will complicate it, and slow it down, and sacrifice the quality of the final product (even if only the timeliness). If there was real reason for concern, people would already be embroiled in an Internet wide debate on what needs to be fixed with the GPL. Maybe that is already happening, and it's just the people most qualified and or interested that are participating in the debate, at a quiet level compared to Slashdot controversy. If I wanted to derail those people, the best tool at my disposal is to try and discredit them and force them to spend their valuable time defending themselves and their work from angry mobs of mouth-breathers who refuse to Google the issue themselves.

        Here's a hint: if you ever get a feeling of righteous indignation, you're playing the victim, and you're ignoring your real opportunity to do something positive.

        • by slumos ( 577666 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @12:11AM (#13947692)

          > This license will not be foisted on anyone.

          Except for everybody who exactly followed the instructions in How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs and used these terms:

          This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
  • Moglen is mistaken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scareduck ( 177470 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:50PM (#13945759) Homepage Journal
    However, Moglen said Wednesday, speaking at the Open Source Business Conference here, the rewrite of the GPL is not an election and there will be no voting on its clauses. He couldn't be more wrong. If people don't like the rewrite, they won't use it.
    • by epiphani ( 254981 ) <epiphani&dal,net> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:06PM (#13945912)
      My Problem:


        * This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
        * it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
        * the Free Software Foundation; either version 1, or (at your option)
        * any later version.


      This is on my software. If I dont like GPL 3.0, and dont want my software distributed under it, I'm already screwed.
      • is that really what it says? Thats pretty silly, why would they do that?
        • by pe1rxq ( 141710 )
          To make it easier to start using v3 when it is available.
          The problem is that you have to trust the FSF not to go nuts and do only good things with the next versions.
          You don't have to add that one line to your program though, you could just release it under one specific version. Only problem than is that when a new version comes out and it is good you and everyone who has contributed to it in the mean time would have to agree to the relicensing.

          Jeroen
      • by T-Ranger ( 10520 ) <jeffwNO@SPAMchebucto.ns.ca> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:16PM (#13945997) Homepage
        Well, then you should't have included the clause "or .. any later version". Pleanty of software is GLP 1 or 2, but lacks that clause. If you diddnt want to leav open the possibility that somehow a third party could screw you, then you shouldn't have included that clause.

        Sucks to be you
        • by Krach42 ( 227798 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:20PM (#13946491) Homepage Journal
          No, this has been covered before by either Eben Moglen or ESR (I think that's the guy). That clause "v1 or later" protects you as well as your viewers. What this means is that someone can take your code and use it with v1, or v2, or v3. Any one that they want. You don't have to force a newer version on them unless you want to. (By updating the clause to say v3 or later.)

          Each version of the GPL won't take rights away from the original author (that's pretty much, literally impossible.) it just defines how the author designates that others can use it. In the case of saying "v1 or later" you let anyone use v1 of the license if they darn well so please.

          The only way someone is screwed with the clause "v1 or later" is, if they're not the original author, and they want to redistribute your software, and they are unable to comply with any version later than v1.

          In short, the author/copyright holder can never be "screwed" by a newer GPL license even if it does include the "or later version" part of the clause.
          • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:40PM (#13946624) Homepage
            Each version of the GPL won't take rights away from the original author (that's pretty much, literally impossible.) it just defines how the author designates that others can use it. In the case of saying "v1 or later" you let anyone use v1 of the license if they darn well so please.

            Yes, but that choice is left up to the viewer if you specify "or later".

            This means that if the GPL review board goes insane and the GPL v3.0 does away with the "must provide source code" clauses, your program can suddenly be locked up in commercial software and any improvements made not given back to the community. You will be legally powerless to do anything about this since, even though you retain copyright, you have licenced the software for use with anything that calls itself "GPL", even if it's completely different to good old GPL 1.0.

            Is that really what you want? If so, why not just go for a BSD licence?

      • If you're the only copyright holder, or you can get agreement from the other holders, you can relicense your next version under a modified license without that clause.

        You can't stop people from forking the older versions and using the code under GPL3 terms -- you already released it under conditions allowing that -- but you can lock future versions to the GPL v.2.
      • "My Problem: [quote from gpl] .... "either version 1, or (at your option) any later version." This is on my software. If I dont like GPL 3.0, and dont want my software distributed under it, I'm already screwed.

        You have already given the world the four software freedoms [gnu.org] to your code. A new license can not take that away from your users because they would chose to keep the old license. What more can they take from you? What have you thought of that my innocent mind can not?

        You can't push a rope and you

  • by foQ ( 551575 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:52PM (#13945775)
    When I saw this article I thought there was some new GPLed DVD R/W drive or something.
  • by hagbard5235 ( 152810 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:52PM (#13945776)
    It would be nice if a balance could be struck between the ideals of the GPL (which I don't oppose) and some other licenses. For example, it would be nice to see compatibility with the Eclipse Public License (which the FSF doesn't seem to think poorly of, it just happens to be incompatible). Please note, I'm *NOT* seeking an FSF sell out of their ideals here, I ascribe to them myself in my private Open Source contributions, but rather consideration of how not to have the GPL be an impediment to projects that don't violate those ideals, but happen to be using other licenses.
    • I think there's a big overestimation that the FSF actually has the power to "fix" things. How many open source projects have some code that says "GPL 2 only"? I doubt any project would reject code based on that. Then there's the issue of momentum and the network effect. If you wiped all code off the face of the earth, the GPL is a rather unremarkable license. It is all the GPL and GPL-compatible code that makes it valuable. If moving to GPLv3 cuts me off from significant amounts of that codebase, I'm not go
  • If the clause discussed earlier [slashdot.org] on Slashdot is included, the GPL 3.0 will do more to hurt the FOSS movement than help.

    For the sake of truly free programming, we have to tear down the zealots speaking on our behalf.
    • we have to tear down the zealots speaking on our behalf.

      The problem is the zealots are writing the GPL.
      • The problem is the zealots are writing the GPL.

        Who do you think wrote it in the first place?
      • The one zealots in question makes a great deal of sense when he argues the benefits of free software.

        The other one... well, he wrote the first two versions of the GPL, which has been moderately successful after all is said and done :)

        C'mon. lighten up. It's not like there's a shortage of alternatives if Stallman implodes. But given that he's done a good job so far, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. The man has his blind spots, but he wrote the licence that enabled an enitre

      • Please provide references showing that Eben Moglen is a zealot.
    • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:09PM (#13945936)
      Not really. It won't require you to give up your website code for using Apache, it will require you to release the code if you base yourself off of a GPLed piece of websoftware- for existance, one of the many GPLed CMSes. Thats the exact same case as someone who releases a piece of non-web software and uses GPLed code. It levels the playing field so you can't just use GPLed code without recontributing just because you're ont he web.
    • > For the sake of truly free programming, we have to tear down the zealots speaking on our behalf.

      We wouldn't even be having this discussion if not for those zealots.
    • For the sake of truly free programming, we have to tear down the zealots speaking on our behalf.

      Zealotry never hurt a movement.

      Take the current US political system for example... Oh wait... Ummm... Let me rephrase that...

      Zealotry will control a movement whether you like it or not and in fact control it with an iron fist and beat anyone who opposes them into a bloody pulp and call them a heathen ubeliever who is going to hell for disagreeing and you are going to pass more rules to control any disenting view
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:06PM (#13946400) Homepage Journal
      This poster [slashdot.org] pointed to the original interview with RMS [onlamp.com] and detailed the mistakes in the Zdnet article:

      The proposed change would thwart removal of a button to download software that an author put in, not make a download button manditory. This interesting and mild idea is being considered carefully to avoid problems it might cause if abused by contributors.

      There's more, but it's not worth the trouble to detail. That last Slashdot story was just more BS from another Wintel rag.

      If you have a real objection to a real proposed change, let's hear it.

    • Dude... the whole *idea* behind the GPL is an ideological war. If you want "truly free programming" go pick up BSD software, and leave the GPL alone. Until you do that, the only reason you *have* the GPL is because some zealots had the stones to think it up to enforce their zealotrous ideology.
  • Forced upgrade? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ecloud ( 3022 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:53PM (#13945792) Homepage Journal
    Is old software which simply states that it is released under the terms of the GPL construed to always be tracking the latest version? What if the author doesn't want to? I hope new releases will have to specifically state that they are using GPL 3.0?
    • The default wording is "Under the terms of the GPL version X or later." So the author or a fork can keep using GPL2 or switch to GPL3 with no fuss. (One exception, IIRC, is the Linux kernel, in which Linus removed the "or later" text way back in the beginning, so it's perpetually GPL2 unless everyone with a copyright stake can agree to relicense.)

      Most software I've seen includes a copy of the license with the source, often in a file called COPYING, so you have the exact text of the GPL version that they u
      • > The default wording is "Under the terms of the GPL version X or later." So the author or a fork can keep using GPL2 or switch to GPL3 with no fuss.

        Hmmm... What about the other way around? If a project is switched to GPL3, will the hereditary nature of the GPL mean it's still also under GPL2, whether they want it to be or not?
        • As I understand it, it should be kind of like incorporating BSD code in a GPL project.

          The original BSD code can be used under either the BSD or GPL licenses, but the combined code can only be used under the GPL. If the pieces are kept distinct, you should theoretically be able to extract only the BSD-licensed sections and use them under BSD terms, but you have to be absolutely certain you haven't grabbed a mix of BSD and GPL code. Of course, if you have access to a copy of the original codebase, you can j
          • Substitute GPL v.2 for BSD and GPL v.3 for GPL and I think it'll be about right.

            Well, not quite. Since the "or higher" part is considered a right to relicense (otherwise the work as a whole would have to be "GPLv2 or higher" under the GPL, which would be incompatible with GPLv3), it is probably legal to replace any occurance of "GPLv2 and higher" headers with "GPLv3 or higher", in which case you've completely lost track of what is GPLv2.
      • IIRC, is the Linux kernel, in which Linus removed the "or later" text way back in the beginning, so it's perpetually GPL2 unless everyone with a copyright stake can agree to relicense.

        Being such a large project, quite a few of the contributors are missing and even a few dead in the literal sense. That's not going to happen.
    • Re:Forced upgrade? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dan-DAFC ( 545776 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:06PM (#13945907) Homepage

      The notice that you are supposed to attach to each file covered by the GPL (2.0) includes the following text:

      This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

      So you can choose to be bound by a later licence if you like, or stick with the version that you agreed to.

    • The recommended copyright text is "version 2 or any later version". Authors who blindly copied that will be giving their users a choice of either 2 or 3. Authors who thought about it and copied that will be getting what they want. Authors who thought about it and didn't want that, as in the case of the linux kernel, will have used a different copyright text.
  • by dslauson ( 914147 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:54PM (#13945800) Journal
    Most of us here on slashdot have an opinion on what should be going on in the GPL, but obviously most of us are not lawyers. This is, without a doubt, a legal matter, and this thing needs to be airtight. I wouldn't want this thing to be a true democracy, but hopefully they will be willing to listen to a little input here and there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:55PM (#13945809)
    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
    modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License
    as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2
    of the License, or (at your option) any later version.


    Everybody's free to leave that out when applying the license to a new program.
  • Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @06:56PM (#13945815) Homepage
    Well, he does have a point. Technical things like this should probably be written by experts on the subject matter rather than being decided by everyone who just happens to have an opinion after they read about it on Slashdot; and for that matter, nobody's being forced to use the license for anything, anyway.

    And if you don't like the new GPL... feel free to modify it to your liking. There's already a few pieces of software out there that use a modified GPL v2 (typically, these are projects that are GPL'ed but grant you special permission to link with this or that non-free library even though this would otherwise not be allowed by the GPL), so you could do the same thing here.

    And to those who'll reply now and tell me that I can't modify the GPL because the license as such is itself copyrighted to the FSF... I insist that that's irrelevant, as a license is not a creative work but rather a technical description of the terms the author offers you the software under.
    • Re:Point (Score:2, Informative)

      by truedfx ( 802492 )
      And to those who'll reply now and tell me that I can't modify the GPL because the license as such is itself copyrighted to the FSF... I insist that that's irrelevant, as a license is not a creative work but rather a technical description of the terms the author offers you the software under.

      Whether you legally have the right to modify licenses by default is irrelevant, as it is explicitly permitted for the GPL.

      http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#ModifyGPL [gnu.org]
  • Unfortunately... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sheetrock ( 152993 )
    At this point, the GPL is mostly irrelevant to the Open Source movement. Once hailed as a means to safeguard the communal creation, exchange, and improvement of software, it's now being subverted by companies and individuals generating their own licenses loosely based on the GPL but permitting the commercial extension/closed-binary distribution of code for the right amount of money.

    By another token, Open Source is being used by companies as a way to get individuals to create code without compensating the

    • Authors of GPL code aren't being screwed by any company that uses their code in accordance with the terms of the license.

      If someone doesn't want their software to be used in commercial software, they shouldn't release it under the GPL.
    • by Vellmont ( 569020 )

      At this point, the GPL is mostly irrelevant to the Open Source movement. Once hailed as a means to safeguard the communal creation, exchange, and improvement of software, it's now being subverted by companies and individuals generating their own licenses loosely based on the GPL but permitting the commercial extension/closed-binary distribution of code for the right amount of money.

      Huh? How does the existance and popularity of non-GPL licenses make the GPL irrelevant? There's an enourmous amount of very p
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )
      (...) it's now being subverted by companies and individuals generating their own licenses loosely based on the GPL but permitting the commercial extension/closed-binary distribution of code for the right amount of money.

      So what? If someone releases something under a non-GPL license, does that lessen GPL code in any way? Closed-binary distribution is not GPL compatible, so they can not legally take advantage of any GPL code. Unless you are referring to dual-licensed product, which by virtue of being the copy
    • by Software ( 179033 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:29PM (#13946115) Homepage Journal
      >it's now being subverted by companies and individuals generating their own licenses loosely based on the GPL but permitting the commercial extension/closed-binary distribution of code for the right amount of money.

      Huh? The GPL is not and has never been promulgated as the One True License. Licensing your work under other GPL and a zillion other licenses has always been permitted. If somebody wants your code but doesn't want the license that you've chosen for it, you can arrange some other license or tell him to pound sand. You have the copyright, you do what you want. There's no subverting of the GPL if it's not used. The rights and obligations under the GPL don't change - it's just that the other party doesn't want them, so you work something else out.

      >By another token, Open Source is being used by companies as a way to get individuals to create code without compensating them.

      Wrong. The creators have free will - the companies don't get them to write code without compensation.

      >This unfairly competes with the American software industry, and exploits ...

      How is this unfair? If a company can't provide value to the customer, then it doesn't deserve to exist. The closed-source software industry does not deserve protection from the open-source software industry. I fail to see how competition creates stagnation.

  • by mc6809e ( 214243 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:01PM (#13945859)
    This obsession people seem to have with democracy is silly. Do doctors and nurses in the operating room vote on how to proceed with an operation? Should pilots ask for a vote on how to land a plane?

    There are plenty of things democracy is good for, but sometimes you have to leave decisions in the hands of people more qualified than the average person.

    • Mod parent up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CaptainCarrot ( 84625 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:12PM (#13945963)
      Exactly! This needs to be professionally written in such a way that it has a very good chance of standing up in court. To take a vote among a group of legally unqualified geeks will not help achieve this.
      • Re:Mod parent up (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella ( 173770 )
        Exactly! This needs to be professionally written in such a way that it has a very good chance of standing up in court. To take a vote among a group of legally unqualified geeks will not help achieve this.

        No, in fact they're fairly orthogonal. When you want to make any form of agreement (except the "all your computers are belong to us" EULAs, which can be written purely by lawyers), you have negotiators and such working on what the agreement should contain, and then you send it over to legal for them to make
    • I agreee except the GPL is for the "little people" to use, not just them. If they ignore everyone then they distance themselvs from the average person. It's like politics at the moment, it's so full of rich people who've never lived "like normal people" they forget about them and focus on other rich people's intrests.
      • Uh, did you see this part?

        "I expect the process around GPL 3.0, when it begins in some 60 to 90 days' time, to collect a great deal of comment from people on the draft documents... ", He said.
    • Yep. What matters most about democracy is that it makes explicit the tenet that the state governs by the consent of the governed. Either you make decisions as a group, or you collectively choose someone qualified to make decisions on your behalf.

      When it comes to societal issues, it makes sense for the society as a whole to come to a consensus. When it comes to something specific, like surgery or legal advice, you go find an expert. Anyone who expects the open source community to be able to vote on GPL p
      • Exactly. I always like it when I go to some professional. Lawyer, doctor what have you. You can tell they have been talking to people who don't grok this when they ask what you think they should do. I always answer "You would not tell me how to build a network and I'm not going to tell you how to do $FOO. Do what's best."

        If more people had smaller egos and knew their limits life would be much better.
    • Surgical operations and landing planes aren't the same as worldwide "open" and "free" software licensing movements that are supposed to better a software community.

      A software license for the free software community seems to me to require the input of, you know, the free software community.
    • This obsession people seem to have with democracy is silly. Do doctors and nurses in the operating room vote on how to proceed with an operation? Should pilots ask for a vote on how to land a plane?

      No, because these are established procedures. If you're inventing a procedure, then it should be put to a vote where the voters are people qualified to make those choices. In this case, it's more like a pseudo-democracy, because you're only involving people with an intimate knowledge of the subject at hand.

    • You described demagogy. Here in Mexico City, governor wants to use polls for everything, so that the easily-manipulable people will vote in favor of whatever the government tells them. The same thing is done by Hugo Chavez. All decisions aren't taken by him, but by the uninformed / misinformed people.

      A true democracy, however, is about the people choosing someone who will take the decisions, whether the people like it or not. They chose him to take responsibility for his actions.

      And certainly I think that R
  • by lheal ( 86013 ) <lheal1999@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:02PM (#13945871) Journal
    I would accuse Moglen of putting forth a straw man argument about putting each clause up for a vote, but it's clear from the description that someone had suggested that. How stupid.

    I expect that the GPL3 will be looked over and hashed about by enough people. Hopefully it will be a fine license for the near future, and not just for the recent past.
  • by Mr Z ( 6791 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:13PM (#13945967) Homepage Journal
    People will vote with their feet. The review and editing process will mold and shape the final GPL v3. Then the voting begins as people pick their licenses going forwards. Either they'll pick GPL v3 or will stick to some other license.

    Voting won't change the contents of GPL v3 directly, but the fact that people will vote with their feet after it's released still means the broader community will have some impact. Either that, or FSF will demonstrate itself to be focused only on its own needs and interests, and so may alienate others. I don't think they've ever been too afraid of alienating others in the interest of maintaining ideological purity. So, it'll be interesting to see how effective the review and feedback process is, and how many people actually adopt GPL v3, and what impact that has on any follow-ons to GPL v3.

    --Joe
  • by Eric Damron ( 553630 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:19PM (#13946021)
    Moglen I think sometimes goes too far. Isn't he the one that feels that if a GPL'd program is used to _produce_ code that that code should be gpl'd also. I don't remember the details but I think it had something to do with companys using open source products to produce web sites that interact with the public.

    It seems to me that if we aren't careful we won't be able to use gcc or any other open source compilers to produce non-GPL'd code even if they are linked only to non-GPL'd libraries. Don't get me wrong, GPL'd code is great but Linux should be a platform that allows both open and closed source applications.

  • Why is this bad? (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhreakOfTime ( 588141 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:21PM (#13946046) Homepage

    Why is this presented as a netgative?

    This is how it works, voting!=good decisions. There are more than enough examples that just having the 'right' to vote is of no real benefit. Recent history being an example. The point is responsibility. Not 'rights'. Rights do not come free of charge, they come with responsibility. Simply because you are not accustomed to recognizing that responsibility and think its 'absence' is some sort of melevolant action, is quite frankly, naive.

    If you think you have something important to CONTRIBUTE to this license that is being developed, then get off your fat ass and make yourself heard. They are ASKING for you to do that if you simply read the statements of the organizers. But since nobody ever does... here it is; This will also be a very public and watched process and so we need those leaders in the community to step forward and play an important role. It is also rare that we get to see a license under development and to get involved in that process," she said.

    It just isnt possible that there is nobody competent enough on slashdot, who has editor status, who can write an article that presents the IMPORTANT parts of the story, and not the sensationalist parts...

    Im just guessing that the editor is american, because nobody else is so disconnected from the responsibilities that come with voting as americans seem to be.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @07:25PM (#13946084) Homepage Journal
    I for one welcome our GNU GPL overlords.

    No, seriously, they are smart people and I trust they will do a good job. In the unlikely event that I don't like what they've written I won't use it for my projects.
  • We see reports of companies misusing GPL'd code a lot, and we almost never hear about a successful prosicution. A great example that comes to mind is Maui X-Stream, who has been proven guilty of violating the GPL [drunkenblog.com] several times in most, if not all, of their products. However, we never hear about those people actually doing jail time for it. One has to ask, is the GPL effective at all?
  • AGPL Fork (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:39PM (#13946613) Homepage Journal
    The democracy comes when people adopt the new license. I predict it will be draconian, specifying that people who merely interoperate with GPL3 SW will have to publish source code. Just leveraging the market share of GPL software to force other authors to go GPL, regardless of justice, fairness, or any other consideration than Moglen and Stallman's revolutionary fervor.

    Which is too bad. A sensible GPL3 that people would adopt would address interop by making only reasonable demands. Just as we got, in addition to GPL, an LGPL, we also need an AGPL for APIs and interfaces. Which require any app that interoperates with an AGPL app to open, publish and document its APIs, and carry the AGPL. That would make AGPL apps virally force developers to open interfaces. The denial of which openness is indefensible, except on the basis of programmers' rights to do anything we want, except when bound by agreement otherwise. API access is even more important than source code access, though it comes along with OSS (except for real, explicit documentation). And API access is the biggest drag on interop, where getting the rest of the source is usually just a bonus.

    There's nothing magic about Moglen. He's just the expert who wrote the last GPL(s). There's no reason we can't write a forked "GPL 3.0", which merely requires the AGPL I described, even using those GPLs as the original "source" from which to produce the new version. When it proves more popular than Moglen's GPL 3.0, democracy and open source will have conspired in the market for maximum freedom, as chosen by the free.
  • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Thursday November 03, 2005 @08:50PM (#13946685) Homepage
    On the advice of a few dozen people and a couple of lawyers, it was written and released.

    Wow, both people and lawyers...
  • by bitspotter ( 455598 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @01:37AM (#13948081) Journal
    A proposal [r30.net] that doesn't involve enforcing features.
  • choice of licenses (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bitspotter ( 455598 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @02:22AM (#13948257) Journal
    There's already a considerable freedom in choosing between versions of the license. When the FSF could publish multiple licenses to suit different tastes (stay with 2? use 3? your choice), I don't really see the need for "democracy". It's your software; you can write any license terms you want. GEE! developers often do! amazing!
  • by Fujisawa Sensei ( 207127 ) on Friday November 04, 2005 @01:52PM (#13951569) Journal

    With the keep the button to output the sourcecode requirement RMS and the FSF are trying to license the output of their application. Especially since the HTML put out by a web application is the output. In addition they're removing freedoms as to how applications are used, something the FSF have stated many time that they are against.

    http://www.fsf.org/licensing/essays/free-sw.html/ [fsf.org]
    • 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.
    • Attempts, and suggestions to restrict the way people change and use software, expecially the prosed get source functions, violate freedom 0.

      In addition the attempt to controll the output of the application, and changed application go against the GPL FAQ on Liscensing GPL output.

    http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html #GPLOutput/ [fsf.org]

    Is there some way that I can GPL the output people get from use of my program? For example, if my program is used to develop hardware designs, can I require that these designs must be free?

    In general this is legally impossible; copyright law does not give you any say in the use of the output people make from their data using your program. If the user uses your program to enter or convert his own data, the copyright on the output belongs to him, not you. More generally, when a program translates its input into some other form, the copyright status of the output inherits that of the input it was generated from.

    So the only way you have a say in the use of the output is if substantial parts of the output are copied (more or less) from text in your program. For instance, part of the output of Bison (see above) would be covered by the GNU GPL, if we had not made an exception in this specific case.

    You could artificially make a program copy certain text into its output even if there is no technical reason to do so. But if that copied text serves no practical purpose, the user could simply delete that text from the output and use only the rest. Then he would not have to obey the conditions on redistribution of the copied text.

    Whatever the FSF decides to do with GPL-3 they need to stick to these principles.

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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