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Moglen's Plans to Upgrade the GPL

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the keeping-pace-with-the-times dept.

GNU is Not Unix 411

Nick Irelan writes "Although it most certainly won't be easy, Eben Moglen is attempting to upgrade the GPL. He sees an opportunity to create a version of the GPL that will be able to adequately suit the needs of modern programmers. If they are implemented, his ideas will be the first major change the GPL has experienced since Richard Stallman wrote the original version. Eweek has an amazing article about Moglen's work. Linus Torvalds discussed what he believes should happen to the GPL with Eweek as well."

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411 comments

First ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562477)

First ???

Re:First ??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562484)

Second ???

Re:Second??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562501)

Third???

P.S. Can I have my job back please.

Re:Second??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562638)

Fourth???

Acronym (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562483)

For those who aren't familar with such acronyms, GNU stands for GNU General Public License. (thanks to acronymfinder)

Re:Acronym (4, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562543)

no it doesnt....

GPL = General Public License (GNU)

and

GNU = Gnu's Not Unix

Re:Acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562586)

Mod parent up please. He/She got it exactly right. :)
Any Onimus

Re:Acronym (0)

azzy (86427) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562544)

Umm.. no... no it isn't

excellent (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562493)

hairy nads

I can't see this helping... (2, Interesting)

chris09876 (643289) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562494)

I agree that the GPL has some issues that should be cleared up..., but with such a major revision, I'm worried that it will just add another 'compeletly separate' license. Some projects might still want to have the old GPL license, while other projects might want to be released under the 'version 3' license. I think it will add more confusion to all the licenses that already exist.

Re:I can't see this helping... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562528)

Damn. The GPL is unAmerican. If you support the GPL you support terrorism.

damn

Re:I can't see this helping... (4, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562549)

I'm worried that it will just add another 'compeletly separate' license

well, the lgpl [gnu.org] has been around for a long while and it's caused no serious confusion so far. the fact is, if there are a lot of licenses it's easier to find one that suits your project and organization's requirements. choice good.

Re:I can't see this helping... (5, Informative)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562624)

Based on the wording of the GPL, you cannot release a GPL program under an old lisence. It states that the program is licensed under either the included version, or any subsequent version thereof, at the discretion of whoever is going to be changing it. The GPL is also "unmodifiable" (Something I personally don't like) I assume, technically, this also forces derivitaves of someone who chose to use GPL3 on a GPL2'd project would forever be locked in GPL3

Re:I can't see this helping... (2, Insightful)

grahamlee (522375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562746)

You're allowed to release your code under whatever licence you want, assuming you're the copyright holder. In fact, some people even release code under licences that don't yet exist, for instance I can interact with the emacs source under the terms of the GNU GPL version 2 or, at my discretion, any later version. Wow. The GPL3 could annoy a load of emacs developers, but I'd still be able to treat their code as if those are the terms I agreed to. Interesting...

Re:I can't see this helping... (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562899)

I meant more like this: Bobapp 1.0 is release under GPL2 Jim releases Jimapp, a derivative of that, under GPL3 Steve wants to make a derivative of Jimapp and lisence it under the original GPL2, but can't.

Re:I can't see this helping... (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562939)

I meant more like this:
Bobapp 1.0 is release under GPL2
Jim releases Jimapp, a derivative of that, under GPL3
Steve wants to make a derivative of Jimapp and lisence it under the original GPL2, but can't.

Sorry about the formatting, feel free to mod previous into oblivion, but use overrated so stupid metamods don't get you. ---Nemosomen BAH, my college must have bastards, no AC posting from here.

Re:I can't see this helping... (4, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562991)

While the GPL is "unmodifiable", there's nothing stopping you from adding additional permissions to a GPL'd project whose copyright belongs to you and other consenting individuals.

For example, Linus explicitly allows non-GPL'd software to run over Linux, though an addition to the LICENSE file. In this case, Torvalds wasn't modifying the GPL, he was essentially adding an additional license.

This is allowed because a license (as opposed to an EULA) is just a set of permissions. Each set of permissions adds to any you already have (including your default set of "fair use" privileges.) You can license any project you own under as many licenses you wish, and end users can pick and choose which (complete) licenses they want to agree to. (The word "complete" in that sentence is important.)

Also, while the GPL is unmodifiable for existing projects that do not belong to you, if you have a strong enough case you can persuade the FSF to agree to a modified version for projects you own, on occasion even if the result is a license incompatable with the GPL. For example, the Affero General Public License, whose history you can read about here [gnu.org] .

Re:I can't see this helping... (1)

GoCoGi (716063) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563059)

No,
the GPL does not state that the program is licensed under either the included version, or any subsequent version.

You may state that in your own program if you want to do so, and the FSF regularly does so in its own programs (of course, because the FSF, being the author of the GPLs, would always like the new versions).

I never license under GPL v2 or later, because I have no idea what a GPL v3 in the future might look like, and the FSF could basically control my program's license. (Not that I distrust the FSF or something.)

Surely they can't make too many changes... (3, Insightful)

williamhb (758070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563125)

Remember clause 9 of the current GPL -- most GPL code either specifies "GPL version #.# or any later version", or does not specify a version at all in which case Clause 9 permits the user to choose any GPL version that has ever been published.

For existing code, a subsequent GPL revision can effectively only liberalise the usage rights - the user is free to choose to stick to the prior version. But oddly, perhaps this could could end up including "the right to restrict the use of modifications further" because of licence version creep. (See later in post for an example).

This is something that might be concerning to a whole raft of programmers who have released code under the GPL. Are Richard and Eben about to decide to "grant" rights to those pieces of code that the author never intended to grant? Or restrict rights, through version creep, they never intended to restrict?

Example 1 (version creep)...

Say I write package A, and release it under GPL 2. You are allowed to modify it and use it as a web service without being required to release your changes. But then a hypothetical GPL 3 is published which requires the publication of modified webservice code. No problem, you can still use GPL version 2. But then, someone integrates my package and some GPL version 3 code. The result has to be a GPL 3 package. But that means it is a modified version of my code which can no longer be modified for webservices without requiring the source code be published. It is a version of my GPL 2 code that does not have the full GPL 2 rights I released it under. Result: "That's not free!" I cry, and get very grumpy...

For anything other than extremely small changes to the GPL, version interoperability could get messy.

Example 2 (granting unintended rights - a bit of an extreme example)

A hypothetical GPL 4 is published which somehow allows integrating with non-Free code. A lot of people's business model (GPL is free, non-Free licence costs) gets instantly scuppered. The result is probably that the hapless company will attempt to invalidate all their GPL licences, claiming that they could not reasonably have expected the FSF to make this clause change, and therefore the modified licence is not valid. Result: lawyers at high noon.

For anything other than extremely small changes to the GPL, companies who have built their business around the GPL might start kicking up a stink...

What's taking so long? (2, Insightful)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562499)

This sums it up nicely:

Another change to the technical paradigm that the license must address is the issue of trusted computing and the threat it poses. "If I knew what the solution to the problem of trusted computing was, we would have a draft version of it in circulation by now," Moglen said. "There is also no belief now that the GPL violates the constitution or IP law, and we will not be held back by the actions of SCO [Group] and [its CEO] Darl McBride.

"I do not yet know what we will do in this regard, and we will have to choose among the options before involving others in the question of the license and its contents," Moglen said, promising that a document will be provided that gives the major rationale for the license choices made and the options considered.

I can't wait to see drafts, but I do also want it done right, so that the new GPL is strong enough to shove right up Darl McBride's ass.

Hmmm... maybe... (1)

hummassa (157160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562627)

The fact that a lot of code is licensed GPLv2 ONLY and not v2 or later?

Including Linux... And the fact that all the Copyright holders of Linux are not reachable, and without all of them agreeing it cannot be relicensed?

GPLv3 could not be more restrictive than v2, so they lost their opportunity to include patents- restrictions... IMHO the FSF cornered itself hard with this.

Re:Hmmm... maybe... (1)

Jheaden (169061) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562666)

I don't see a technical reason why GPLv3 can't be more restrictive than the GPLv2 version

Am I missing something?

Just becase a lot of code is v2 or later shouldn't affect this at all

My ideal licence! (1)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563054)

I can't wait to see drafts, but I do also want it done right, so that the new GPL is strong enough to shove right up Darl McBride's ass.- I don't know, tight fit.

I'm no lawyer, and before this story, I thought/still think there was nothing wrong with the GPL itself, just its compatibility with others. I don't know what licence you want to see but I want to see a licence that, when release, it is the FINAL release period. A licence that needs no revisions. I want a completely uncompliant licence that is compatible with nothing other than itself. A licence that forces free distribution in terms of cost and statutory free rights to do what ever you want with it. A licence that forces the complete source code to be distributed with it. A licence whereby all hardware and software, and human interaction with the licensed software must also adhere to be the same.

No companies charging for technical support relating to the software. No hardware (intel, AMD..) that is not open could be used with it. Only open architectures...

SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE? IT IS. THATS WHY PATENTS AND COPYRIGHT SUCK. ABOLISH THEM ALL

Hopefully good will come out of this. (3, Insightful)

nberardi (199555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562504)

Hopefully he will listen to many of the concerns of corporations and the GPL use with in. If they make a better GPL it will be awsome, because my company won't be so hesitant to use or develop anything under the GPL. My company's biggest complaint with GPL is anything developed using GPL libraries must be GPL and released. They just want to make money and contribute back when it's nessisary and important.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (3, Informative)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562522)

No need to release it.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562579)

Your right I think, it is my understanding that using GPL code for inhouse tools without releasing source is acceptable, but using GPL base code as part of a project sold to a customer is where the problems start.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Insightful)

mopslik (688435) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562614)

it is my understanding that using GPL code for inhouse tools without releasing source is acceptable

Correct.

but using GPL base code as part of a project sold to a customer is where the problems start.

It's only a problem if you are morally or contractually prohibited from releasing your source code. In this case, as you suspect, you won't be able to use GPL'd code.

One thing to keep in mind, of course, is that the GPL states that your source code must be "available". This doesn't mean that you need to include it with your product (although it would be nice!), you just have to provide it when asked. If nobody asks for it, you don't really have to advertise it.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (4, Interesting)

DShard (159067) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562775)

"1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program."

found here [gnu.org] . So you really do have to advertise the fact your software uses GPL code.

Though I hardly think this is bad for companies as _they_ knew this upfront. If you want to dip into the community well, you better be prepared to put more back in. If that is to onerous then you have zero right to use it.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

mopslik (688435) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562821)

So you really do have to advertise the fact your software uses GPL code.

Obviously, you have to include the license, yes. Usually it's just a simple text file included with the program, or something similar. I was speaking more about scrawling "this program is Open Source" on your splash screen, or putting bright blinking "Download the source FOR FREE!" links on your website.

Sorry that wasn't entirely clear.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

deego (587575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563112)

You misunderstood the parent.

Under GPl, you need to release the source code, *only* if you distribute it. The parent points out that if you have a problem with that, simply don't redistribute the code.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563103)

>but using GPL base code as part of a project sold to a customer is where the problems start.

That's why you can _lease_ software/servers/service to the customer (so they don't really buy it from you).

Then you don't have to give them the source code even if they ask :-)
The same thing goes for ASP/ISPs.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

Quill_28 (553921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562554)

I thought linking with GPL libraries was fine.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (4, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562713)

Linking against a GPL library (e.g. cygwin) requires the result to be GPL'd.

An LGPL'd library (e.g. libc) can be used by non GPL'd software so long as you provide the ability to upgrade the LGPL'd library (dynamically linking satisfies this condition, as does providing object files and a link script).

Both of the above assume that copyright actually applies (if, e.g., your work isn't legally a derived work of the GPL'd or LGPL'd code then things are rather different).

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Informative)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563051)

Linking against a GPL library (e.g. cygwin) requires the result to be GPL'd.

Bad example:
In accordance with section 10 of the GPL, Red Hat permits programs whose sources are distributed under a license that complies with the Open Source definition to be linked with libcygwin.a/cygwin1.dll without libcygwin.a/cygwin1.dll itself causing the resulting program to be covered by the GNU GPL.

This means that you can port an Open Source(tm) application to cygwin, and distribute that executable as if it didn't include a copy of libcygwin.a/cygwin1.dll linked into it.
(source [cygwin.com] )

GNU Readline is the canonical example of a GPL'd library that makes no exceptions for other free software licenses.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (5, Insightful)

Xpilot (117961) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562555)

My company's biggest complaint with GPL is anything developed using GPL libraries must be GPL and released.

That's why we have LGPL libraries. But I think your company misses the point of GPL. GPL'ed code is like public property, nobody should be able to deny others access to the code, and if you use this property you are obliged to contribute back to the community. Making it "optional" would mean a lot of greedy folks wouldn't do it at all, which is against the intent of the GPL.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

beliavsky (814870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562659)

I wonder how much "bite" the GPL has. Has any company ever been forced by a lawsuit to open-source software it distributed because it used GPL'ed code?

If a company does not buy the proper licenses for the commercial software it uses, it could held liable for damages in a civil suit. There is a clear "victim".

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562830)

Has any company ever been forced by a lawsuit to open-source software it distributed because it used GPL'ed code?

No. And there likely never will be. It's the same as your latter statement, if they don't follow the GPL, they have violated copyright law, and could be held liable for damages in a civil suit. Any other remedy would be an extreme and new precedent.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Interesting)

beliavsky (814870) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562949)

Thanks for the info.

How could monetary damages be computed? For illegal use of a commercial product, the damages could be some multiple of the license fees that should have been paid, but GPL'ed software has no monetary cost.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11563004)

"How could monetary damages be computed?"

Well, luckily (sarcasm) they don't have to be computed. The big boys have gotten laws passed that include statutory damages. So now their pet laws are causing them trouble? Oops.

A Nony Mouse

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563044)

This would be true if the anti-copyright people here had their way and damages were limited to proven economic damage. They're not.

The copyright owner of the GPL'ed software could sue for statutory damages.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (3, Informative)

arkanes (521690) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562902)

As far as I know nobody has ever been forced to do this, nor is it likely they would. What's more likely is that they'd be barred from distributing and would need to re-write the product without the GPL components. Most companies who base something heavily on the GPL (like embedded linux on devices) cave without a lawsuit.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

wertarbyte (811674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563129)

Most companies who base something heavily on the GPL (like embedded linux on devices) cave without a lawsuit.

It's the best thing they can do, for they can really profit from it: Think of the Linksys WRT54G WLAN router, which sales are pushed by the fact that you can put a nice custom linux system [openwrt.org] on it. Although Linksys (now Cisco) did not distribute the source in the beginning, I doubt they regret the step of releasing it.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563073)

It depends on the meaning of the word "forced".

Several companies have released code under the GPL after being threatened with a lawsuit. But no Judge has ever stood up and said "Abide by the license! Release the source, or go to jail!" - to the best of my knowledge, no lawsuit has ever gotten that far before the parties choose to settle.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (4, Insightful)

Nimrangul (599578) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562725)

No, public domain is public property and noone can deny access to that code. GPL stuff is private stuff that is granted to the public under the condition that all works generated from it remains in the same position.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562900)

Public domain creative works can be made into proprietary works by simply deriving new works from them. Otherwise every single piece of classical sheet music, every orchestra concert and recording, every movie, tv show, or commercial that had a Beethoven, Bach, or Mozart bit in it, etc, would also be public domain. Indeed, several Disney movies, including Hunchback of Notre Dame, Fantasia, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Snow White, and many more would be public domain because either significant story elements or musical score elements are derived from public domain sources. Now, let's stop pretending that there is any useful analogy between the intellectual fraud known as "intellectual property" and real property. Once we do that the issues become a lot clearer.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563094)

The new works are indeed proprietary. The original stories are still in the public domain; Disney can't sue you for making a new Snow White movie any more than Microsoft can sue you for using the same BSD socket code that they've "made proprietary" by using it in their closed source software.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562844)

But that's not what's happening. If I use a GPLed library in an application, unmodified, then in what way am I denying people access to the code of that library by not GPLing the rest of the application?

I understand the legal arguments, that as the library is linked in to the resulting binary it is *technically* a derivative work, I just don't happen to agree with them. As I understand it, if all you do is use the normal output of some GPLed code, then your code is not required to be GPLed. To me, the "normal output" of a library is the result of making the API calls.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562975)

So if you said what should be derivative work (without LGPL licensing) who is stopping a greedy company from taking a GPL-licensed library and wrapping a proprietary glue wrapper around it and then just distributing it as their own?

Use LGPL for libraries, if you wish to have the effects you said. That's right there's LGPL and GPL.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Informative)

leinhos (143965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563001)

A good discussion of this appears here [debian.org] . One point made is that the headers to the library may be covered by the GPL, and those headers *are* part of the application code. There was some discussion about releasing the *headers* as public domain, which may release any linked code from the GPL, but at that point you'd be better off releasing the library under LGPL.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11563082)

"I understand the legal arguments, that as the library is linked in to the resulting binary it is *technically* a derivative work, I just don't happen to agree with them."

And I don't happen to agree that the simple act of using a program is making a copy and should be controlled by copyright, but that's what has been decided.

Hey you, you are copying my work from your hard drive to ram. That is illegal, only I have rights to make copies of my work.

Never mind that I sold it to you to be used and you boght it to use it. As a matter of fact, you have already made one illegal copy by moving it from the CD I sold it to you on to your hard drive. Now you want to make another illegal copy everytime you want to use it! Tell you what, I will license those copies if you agree to this whacked EULA. Never mind your first sale rights. You can sell the CD if you want. Better get rid of those illegal copies though or I am comming for you.

A Nony Mouse

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

hyphz (179185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563088)

> But that's not what's happening. If I use a
> GPLed library in an application, unmodified,
> then in what way am I denying people access to
> the code of that library by not GPLing the
> rest of the application?

The idea is perfectly simple. You've gotten the benefit of other people's work (ie, the library) without paying money for it, so now you're asked to open up some of your own work (your program) in return.

If you write a JPEG library and give it to me for free, would it be fair for me to write a JPEG utility using it and sell it, given that basically all I wrote was a UI?

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

Donny Smith (567043) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563133)

That's simply not true - if they're using GPL-based software internally, they are not obliged to release the modifications.
And "anything developed using GPL libraries" is probably a wrong term anyway.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (4, Insightful)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562608)

My company's biggest complaint with GPL is anything developed using GPL libraries must be GPL and released.

Well, that's not even true. There is no need to release anything.

The GPL only states that if you choose to release (distribute) the code, it must be under the GPL.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

leinhos (143965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562672)

I believe that offering the binary for sale (either by itself or as part of a complete system) is considered releasing/distributing the code. What I'm not clear on is whether linking to a GPL library implies that your code must also covered by the GPL (I thought changes/additions to the original code only are subject to the terms of the GPL).

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

hyphz (179185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563048)

If the library is under the GPL and you link to it, then yes, your code must be covered.

If the library is under the *LGPL* - which most open source libraries are - then no, your code needn't be.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (2, Informative)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562648)

Hey, maybe you can use LGPL libs instead, because it was the purpose of the creation of the LGPL - allow the usage of GNOME/GTK+ interface in the prioritary apps. For example, almost all GNOME libs are LGPL now.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562753)

There is nothing in the GPL that states that you can not charge for your product, even if it is GPL. Look at SuSE, Mandrake, etc. You can purchase a boxed set with manuals and support if you wish. Or you can download the ISO's and do as you wish.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562800)

"My company's biggest complaint with GPL is anything developed using GPL libraries must be GPL and released."

Almost. IF you release something GPL-derived, you have to release the source, and license it under the GPL. But noone says you have to release it. You can continue using the modified GPL program for in-house purposes and never release anything to anyone.

But the general idea you're getting at - that GPL-derived works should be GPLed as well - is sort of the point of the license. If that were to change in the next version, the new GPL wouldn't be very GPLish at all.

You're company might be better of looking at works under the BSD license or some of its varients. Those allow you do take open code, and optionally close it in your modified release.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563057)

So what's a derived work? Is it really impossible to release a GPL COM object, or a GPL VB, Delphi, Java or C# application (since all of these are linked with non-GPL libraries that aren't distributed with the OS.. in fact pretty much anything but C/C++ can't actually be GPL'd if you take the GPL literally).

Is the C# runtime *really* a derived work of my hello world application?

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

aug24 (38229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562829)

They just want to make money and contribute back when it's nessisary and important.
Yeah, and I just want to borrow your XBox and give it back when I feel like it too.

Man, some people/companies just don't get the whole 'give and ye shall receive' - and vice versa! - thing, do they?

J.

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562930)

If the new GPL license allows you to do this to my GPL code, I won't be releasing any code under the new GPL and I will start excercising the limit on any future version on all new code.

"They just want to make money and contribute back when it's nessisary and important."

When it comes to using my code in this way - tough. If they can't make money under the rules, start with some other code base.

From what I see, the GPL is intended to present a conundrum to people/companies with attitudes like you express. Spend a whole lot of extra money to develop code that they can keep private, or bite the bullet and learn how to make money while playing nice.

A Nony Mouse

Re:Hopefully good will come out of this. (1)

tuomoks (246421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562945)

IANAL - but you as the owner can fork the code and do whatevere you want with that ?? You just have to keep the original, already GPL, as GPL. I personally don't think GPL is restrictive to the owner of the code, only how someone else redistributes or resuses it ?? Isn't this what we all want ??

upgrades. (5, Funny)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562515)

From TFA:
Eben announced his intentions to upgrade the GPL with a new processor, a better graphics card, and more memory. This will enable resource intensive software to use the GPL as well.

Re:upgrades. (1)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562641)

Eben announced his intentions to upgrade the GPL with a new processor, a better graphics card, and more memory. This will enable resource intensive software to use the GPL as well.


So long as they don't add spinner hubs, a high wing, a fart-pipe, neon, and Type-R(etarded) stickers I think I can live with that.

Would you have to use it? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562524)

Could people continue using the existing version, if it actually fits the bill better than the newer, possibly incompatible version?

Or would compatibility be required, and infact, all projects listed under the existing versions will be automatically updated?

If there are incompatibilities with the spec, will dual licensing with old/new GPL be acceptible, especially since not all original developers could be contacted to get permission?

*head explodes*

Re:Would you have to use it? (1)

NetNifty (796376) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562616)

IANA GPL Expert, but I think right now projects under the GPL either specify the "latest official GPL version", or "GPL version X". So when the new version is released the projects under "latest official GPL version" will be "automatically updated" as you put it, but the ones under "GPL version X" won't be. No idea about dual licensing though.

Re:Would you have to use it? (1)

cronius (813431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562642)

From gnu.org [gnu.org] :

The copying permission statement should come right after the copyright notices. For a one-file program, the statement (for the GPL) should look like this:

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
.


(emphasis mine)

So version 3 can't be incompatible with version 2, if it is then it's another license (and has to have another name). It's like creating a legal document that doesn't follow the law, what's the point in that? (unless you want to scam someone)

The Free Software Foundation is good at this though, they won't release anything that's not legaly solid any time soon.

Re:Would you have to use it? (2, Informative)

LuSiDe (755770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562680)

Could people continue using the existing version, if it actually fits the bill better than the newer, possibly incompatible version?

(IANAL, just an interested geek.)

Depends on how the developers licensed their work. Most GPLed software is licensed under 'GPLv2 or later' which means that you may chose between GPLv2 or a later version.

The Linux kernel is an exception. Linux Torvalds licensed it only under GPLv2 and he removed the 'or later' part. So the Linux kernel won't be (automagically) GPLv3, as intended by Torvalds. From my understanding he doesn't trust Stallman / FSF on this one. If the Linux people want GPLv3 then they'll have to do major efforts contacting all these people who contributed to the kernel, i suppose (you also stated this but it only applies on the GPLv2-only software which is a minority!).

To sum it up: almost all GPLed software will be compatible with GPLv3 and users may use the GPLv3 license instead. Also, developers may chose to license their newer code under 'GPLv2 or later' 'GPLv3 or later' or 'GPLv3 or earlier' or even 'GPLv3-only'.

Re:Would you have to use it? (1)

LuSiDe (755770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562875)

One more thing (i'm still not a lawyer): imagine GPLv3 has a patent clause. Now, a license only needs 1 line licensed under GPLv3 to be affected by that clause. Ofcourse, one may simply replace that line. So in order to get effective, a wide adoption of GPLv3-only or GPLv3-or-later licensed code may be necessary so people will be forced to be ruled under the GPLv3 changes (the patent clause, in this example).

How 'bout (-1, Troll)

eclectro (227083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562532)

Let's dump the whole GNU/Linux nonsense and make it part of the license that you have the "freedom" to call your project whatever you want unconditionally.

oh wait - Stallman is still alive.

Re:How 'bout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562699)

You already have that freedom... if you don't mind being covered in spittle from a loud, angry Stallman.

Nice! (2, Interesting)

myom (642275) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562563)

This is not a day too early, and a bit modified GPL version might be enough to make it possible to implement and develop open source software in my Swedish (but with 80% of the operation in other European countries) mastodont government organisation. The other branches of the corporation have already a pro-GPL and OS attitude, but the anti-OS, pro-MS main coproration has this far been against it because of GPL's actual (but mostly perceived) restrictions.

Nice with some good news at the end of a work day. =)

You gotta love contradictions (3, Interesting)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562568)

You gotta love contradictions. The first article states that the current version of the GPL is "2.2", which was "released August 2004"; the interview with Linus states that the GPL is supposed to undergo its "first revision in 13 years".

Obviously, both statement's can't be true at the same time. What's correct now? (And considering that the articles are from the same publication, doesn't anyone actually *check* what's written for factual accuracy before it goes live?)

Re:You gotta love contradictions (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562770)

The latest version of the current GPL license, known as GPL Version 2.2 and dated August 2004, is not that different from the present license.

also, with regard to poor writing... isn't the latest one also the present one?

Re:You gotta love contradictions (2, Informative)

gowen (141411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562787)

the interview with Linus states that the GPL is supposed to undergo its "first revision in 13 years".
Insert the word "major" between "first" and "revision", and everything will become consistent.

Interesting thing about the GPL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562575)

If you use GPL, FSF can arbitrarily change the GPL to anything they want at anytime. Even if the new licensing terms are diametric to anything you wanted or intended. For instance they can retroactively change all the GPL licenses to be a BSD style license. When that happens, users have a choice of the new or original license terms but you may not have wanted them to have that choice.

Re:Interesting thing about the GPL (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562656)

*feeds the troll*

If you use GPL, FSF can arbitrarily change the GPL to anything they want at anytime.

From the GPL:

9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the General Public License from time to time... Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

One change I would like to see: (5, Interesting)

deego (587575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562578)

GPL has a clause saying something like:

If there are patent-encumbered parts in the program/derivative, we allow distribution ONLY if the patent is available for one and all to use royalty-free.

I would like to see it changed to:

If there are patent-encumbered parts in the program/derivative, we allow distribution ONLY if the patent is available royalty-free for ALL programs that follow any OSI-certified open source license.

Re:One change I would like to see: (2, Interesting)

deego (587575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562602)

> change proposed

In other words, GPL should ALSO allow for patents that are (royalty-free) available ONLY to open source products. If enough such patents build up in the open source arsenal, vendors will have no choice but to either forego the entire patenting mania, or to use open source licensing when they use a patent from the open source arsenal.

One change I would like to see:BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562828)

"If enough such patents build up in the open source arsenal, vendors will have no choice but to either forego the entire patenting mania, or to use open source licensing when they use a patent from the open source arsenal."

Or simply consider it as ANOTHER reason to not use the GPL. Notice that the BSD license is simpler (hence less to go wrong easier to make universal), and not burdened with all this "we hate patents" attitude.

Re:One change I would like to see:BSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562957)

Commercial developers love the BSD license because they don't have to think about the consequences of using it - they rarely use it for their own code.

Re:One change I would like to see: (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562665)

why stop there?

"If there are patent-encumbered parts in the program/derivative, we allow distribution ONLY if the patent is available royalty-free for ALL programs."

Re:One change I would like to see: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562905)

why stop there?

"If there are patent-encumbered parts in the program/derivative, pull down your pants and shit into Microsoft's mouth."

Re:One change I would like to see: (1)

deego (587575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562968)

"If there are patent-encumbered parts in the program/derivative, we allow distribution ONLY if the patent is available royalty-free for ALL programs."

Huh? That's what it currently is. This has 2 problems, imo

[1] IBM's recently opened patents, for example, which are open to all open source programs do NOT qualify.

[2] If there were a few patents (say IBM's) that are open to open source programs *only*, that adds an added pressure on any competitor using those patents to open source their programs.

Re:One change I would like to see: (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11563095)

You probably shouldn't put people in the license like that; what if, sometime over the next 150 years or so that code I write now is owned by me, OSI is hijacked?

Better to refer to their current standards, and thereby #include them (to use a code concept), so they can't be changed later unless the FSF wants to update the GPL later.

Actual OSI certification would, until such time as they are hijacked if ever, constitute extremely good evidence that a license meets their standards.

Other that that, I see your point, and hope the comment about the IBM patents in reply to someone is modded up.

software patents (2, Insightful)

dextr0us (565556) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562599)

Wouldn't a liscence benefit some developers that is akin to a patent? You GPL your source, but then patent your binaries? That way, your binaries are still protected intelectual property, resalable, for a few years, and then are freely distributable?

I think about 7 year old software, and some of it I could still use, and not have any piracy guilt. If i could get my hands on an older copy of After Effects, or any other 7 year old adobe product, i'd be set, and legal!

Re:software patents (1)

erturs (648661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562832)

Patents are valid for 20 years, not 7. I don't have much 20 year old software that I still use regularly (although certainly such software does exist).

Re:software patents (2, Insightful)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562852)

You can't patent an implementation.

The Creator (2, Informative)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562609)

From the eWeek article:

"Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system"

Not [gnu.org] a good start for this process...

Mod eWeek -50 Flamebait

Web Services (4, Interesting)

kuwan (443684) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562639)

The issue of Web services has to be considered, he said. Some in the community are calling for a strong copyleft license with code that is used and changed to be returned to all. Others want the opposite.

"I do not believe that we will be reach consensus on this front, so I believe the license will have to accommodate options as to the question of Web services, but this must be squared with the ideological pursuit of freedom," he said.


I thought that this was interesting. So if a change like this were made it would make the GPL similar to the initial versions of Apple's Public Source License. [apple.com] In the first versions of that license you were required to submit any source code changes you made even if you didn't redistribute the software and only used it internally. My understanding is that if you're a Web Services company and you use modified GPL software, you don't need to contribute back the modifications you've made as long as you don't redistribute your modified software to anyone.

I doubt that the GPL will ever adopt this requirement, but it's interesting that some in the community want this.

--
Join the Pyramid - Free Mini Mac [freeminimacs.com] | Free Flat Screens [freeflatscreens.com]

More on the APSL 2.0 (2, Informative)

kuwan (443684) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562742)

Following my own link [apple.com] and reading a bit more it seems that Apple has already addressed issues like Web Services and even Patent litigation against the licensor (Apple).

Regarding Services (Major Changes in Apple Public Source License 2.0):

1. Licensees will only be required to release source code of Modifications they "Externally Deploy" (new Section 1.4, and Sections 2.1, 2.2). "External Deployment" is defined to cover the external distribution of APSL'ed code or use of APSL'ed code to provide a service (including content delivery) to a third party through electronic communication with that party.

Regarding Patent Litigation:

5. The Termination clause relating to patent suits (Section 12.1(c)) has been narrowed such that the license will terminate only if a licensee _initiates_ an action for patent infringement against Apple. It will not terminate in cases where Apple first sues the licensee and they file a countersuit.

So #5 seems to cover litigious bastards [sco.com] such as the SCO Group, except only for patent litigation. It'd be interesting if at some point this was updated to include copyright infringement litigation as well. And #1 seems to cover Web Services. Maybe Mr. Moglen will reference the APSL in revising the GPL.

--
Join the Pyramid - Free Mini Mac [freeminimacs.com] | Free Flat Screens [freeflatscreens.com]

More on the APSL 2.0-License Innovations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562911)

Wouldn't that be a hoot? Apple, innovator in computers and licenses.

Re:Web Services (3, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562904)

The GPL doesn't work that way.

See, you don't have to agree to the GPL unless you do something which would be violate copyright if "All Rights Reserved" were the license.

Downloading and running a program doesn't violate copyright even if all rights were reserved, assuming the person you are getting it from is duly authorized to distribute it to you (lets assume they are).

Using the program internally and modifying it also fall outside the realm of copyright law.

Only distribution triggers copyright law restrictions, and only then does the GPL apply.

So even if they wanted to, the GPL couldn't make the requirement to submit internally used changes back to the maintainer, without putting it into the weaker legal realm of a "click through" agreement, like an MS EULA, which is probably not enforcable except in UCITA states.

New cleanliness clause in GPL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562796)

Prominent open source poster child and advocate Richard M. Stallman today lashed out at proposed changes to the GPL that would require mandatory showers at least every two days for developers that choose to license their software under the popular license used by many important software projects, such as the GNU/Linux operating system.

In a press conference today, the assembled journalists (who were a safe distance from Stallman due to his offensive odour), were told that "bacteria wants to be free" and "to wash is to destroy those freedoms, much like Microsoft trying to crush the open source movement with its attempts at vendor lock-in". Eric S. Raymond could not be reached for comment, or to be provided with soap.

"Upgrade" is the wrong term. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562807)

The word "upgrade" has been so bastardized by Microsoft that it makes me grind my teeth when I hear people using it in casual conversation. You know, like as in "I upgraded from Windows98 to WinME. Then I upgraded to XP." For whatever curious reason this is implied to be as a good thing while the fact of the matter remains questionable.
Now people talk about "upgrading" their love life or "upgrading" their diet. No wonder Americans are getting so fat. It's all those upgrades.
Upgrade your coupe to an SUV. Yeah, why not, it's an upgrade after all! That's got to be a good thing right?
And now we have talk of "upgrading" the GPL. I think a better more careful choice of words would be a good start.

Re:"Upgrade" is the wrong term. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562915)

I think a better more careful choice of words would be a good start.

It's a perfectly cromulent choice of words.

it really is simple (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11562919)

upgradepkg gpl

Where is the beef? (1)

beforewisdom (729725) | more than 9 years ago | (#11562998)

The article didn't seem to mention more then generalities about possible legal fine points.

Anyone know what the big changes are, if there are any?

Sveasoft loophole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11563025)

Does this new license address the "Sveasoft loophole"?

How does he learn this stuff? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11563113)

I mean, really...life in the jungle just doesn't seem to present too many opportunities to learn about legal precedents and licensing errata. I guess that Baloo really is a good teacher.

Oh...Moglen, not Mowgli...sorry.
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