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Linux Kernel Developers' Position on GPLv3

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-all-heart-shaped-penguins dept.

395

diegocgteleline.es writes "A group of 29 Linux kernel developers have recently come together and produced a position statement on GPLv3 (PDF, txt) explaining why, essentially, they don't like it. 'The three key objections noted in section 5 are individually and collectively sufficient reason for us to reject the current license proposal ... we foresee the release of GPLv3 portends the Balkanization of the entire Open Source Universe upon which we rely'. They've also run a GPLv3 poll."

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Notable names *not* on the list (3, Interesting)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162424)

  • Linus Torvalds
  • Alan Cox

Anybody else?

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (1, Flamebait)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162453)

I should clarify that this is for the position statement, not the poll.

Frankly, I think the FSF should go ahead without them. Linux kernel developers have always been shortsighted when it comes to freedom. Those of us who care will probably fork Linux (which *can* be done, dispite Linus' incorrect claims to the contrary). It's going to have to be done sooner or later anyway.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (1, Offtopic)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162466)

Gah. s/dispite/despite/.

The claims I'm referring to are his claims that old versions of Linux were GPLv2 only, when in fact they were a mix of GPLv2-or-later, GPLv2-only, and *any* version of the GPL (due to GPLv2 section 9). Linus likes to ignore section 9 when he says that, e.g. the old build system are covered by GPLv2-only.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162549)

Well, I'm not sure exactly when he did it but there's tons of code that's been written since it became GPLv2 only. There's no system in place to develop a forked kernel. Who cares if you can go back to Linux year 2000, that hardly runs on modern hardware and never will? Not to mention all the trouble someone would have to go through to create similar GPLv3 code without violating the Linux license, where anything taken too literally from the current kernel is illegal.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162665)

It's not quite that bad. Lots of developers are still releasing their code as GPLv2-or-later.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162481)

Sure the FSF can fork Linux, but the fork can't use the new license.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162741)

Read it (carefully) and weap!

9. The [gnu.org] Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.

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.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162955)

And when a majority of the code uses a license statment that says
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 version 2
you cannot apply version 3 to it.

Besides, If you would have read the article, you would find some of the objections relating to the compatability of GPLv3 with GPLv2. It apears they have a valid point about this in some aspects.

When the GPLv2 was adopted, the intent wasn't to limit what a company could it if they followed the Provisiosn in the GPL. several years after the release, they started worrying about "tivoisation" and added stuff to the license text to make it apear it wasn't allowed. This is one of the biggest reasons the GPLv3 is being drafted, to address issues created by adding wording to the original GPLv2 licenes,

I'm with the other guy. I'm staying with GPLv2. Take the activism and run away to somewere else. Don't be surprised if the kernel people enforce the GPLv2 rules on the fork wishing to use GPLv3 and in the process destroy the FSF's effectivness and credibility. Of course it apears they are doing that themselves now. GPLv3 needs a lot of work before it is final!

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162991)

And Linux does not specify "any later version". In fact, it explicitly states that it is GPLv2 *only*.

So... good luck forking Linux to make it GPLv3. That would involve throwing away everything and
rewriting it. Also, discarding mechanisms covered by patents licensed for use by GPLv2 code.

Hurd is a pretty good indicator of your likely progress.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162550)

"Linux kernel developers have always been shortsighted when it comes to freedom."

Forcing a specific morality is not freedom any more than overthrowing one tyrant and replacing it with another is introducing democracy.

Then again, I love BSD licensing because in my opinion it is the free-est. It doesn't try to force a specific belief onto anyone, yet I haven't seen anyone hobbled by its lack of forward thinking yet. Freedom isn't demanding a social utopia, it is showing the light and the right way to go about things and hope others come to the same conclusion. Not everyone will -- it is human nature. However, there is less potential for the leaders to become corrupt when they cannot force the belief.

Ultimately, I think RMS has become corrupt with his own beliefs and if offered the power, would force others to follow his thinking. This is the case with v3. And this is where the most forward thinking is to take away the freedom from choice and demand people be allowed to make mistakes. V3 demands 100% adherence to the faith. V2 asks kindly that you remain faithful. BSD tells you that the faithful will remain devout but the choice is entirely yours.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (5, Insightful)

molarmass192 (608071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162849)

Yeah well many of us don't like BSD licensing, not because it's not free (it is), but because it doesn't guarantee that source code will be made available. Personally, I like the LGPL best. That's the ideal license in my mind. Use it in your closed app if you like, but if you change anything in the supplied code, you have to show what you changed. No "forced" opening, but a guarantee that improvements make their way back to the project.

Notable FUDsters *on* slashdot. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162996)

"Yeah well many of us don't like BSD licensing, not because it's not free (it is), but because it doesn't guarantee that source code will be made available."*

http://www.openbsd.org/ftp.html [openbsd.org]

Nice to see the FUDsters out in force.

*And before you open your mouth, I can think of a couple ways one can keep changes out of your hands. Some even legal.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162559)

Good idea, if for no other reason than we can stop hearing the obnoxiousness about how it should be called "GNU/Linux". Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (2, Insightful)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162564)

It sounds like you favor the split in the open-source community that the Linux guys are warning us about. Personally I'd be in the GPLv2 camp. It looks like you'd be on the other side.

I have to agree with the Linux guys: the value of this new license does not justify the damage it will do by splitting the community.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162779)

I would presume that a fork would be do to more than just change the licensing, just like the XFree86 fork resulted in major changes. Remember when Linus ripped out the VM in Linux 2.4, which was a so-called stable series? IIRC, his justification for making major changes to stable releases was that he'd get more testers that way. Which is nice... using your credibility to get a bunch of people to unwittingly test your beta-quality software on production systems!

Not to mention that Linus doesn't seem to be making any effort toward stabilizing the kernel and tackling long-term security issues by reducing the complexity of the code that runs in ring-0. I'm not necessarily advocating a full-blown microkernel (though L4-based systems do look promising), but it would be nice if we could have some confidence that there aren't locally-exploitable root holes in the kernel. At present, it looks like Linux is just going to keep getting bigger without any attention paid to the implications of running more and more code in a privileges domain.

Nobody is going to successfully fork Linux solely over GPLv3, but IMHO Linux needs better management anyway, and GPLv3 might act as a good "sync pulse" for getting a fork started.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163066)

I have to agree with the Linux guys: the value of this new license does not justify the damage it will do by splitting the community.

Please explain why this would split the community, in your opinion. I don't understand the claim in TFA that "distro builders will have a tough time."

As I see it, we already have a lot of licenses (GPL, LGPL, BSD, Apache, Python, MPL) inside almost every distro. Things seem to work fine. Even single projects can have more than one license; GNOME has portions which are GPL, and others which LGPL. This is a good example, as the two licenses are carefully chosen to work very well (prevent proprietization of GNOME, but allow commercial apps to use the GNOME libs, i.e. for commercial apps to be developed for GNOME).

So, in addition to all existing licenses, we'll have GPL2 and GPL3 apps. The kernel will be GPL2; GNOME will be GPL3 and LGPL3; and so forth. Where is the balkanization?

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (4, Insightful)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162831)

"Those of us who care will probably fork Linux (which *can* be done, dispite Linus' incorrect claims to the contrary)."

That all depends on what you mean by "Linux." If you are talking about the kernel then no, you CAN NOT unilaterally put it under a different license. Not under the BSD license, not under the GPL 3 license and not under any a proprietary license.

Forking won't license Linux under GPLv3 (2, Informative)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162961)

Those of us who care will probably fork Linux (which *can* be done, dispite Linus' incorrect claims to the contrary). It's going to have to be done sooner or later anyway.

They can fork Linux all they want, and to the best of my knowledge, Linus never denied that. But they can still not cause their fork to be licensed under the GPL version 3. The many copyright holders have specifically licensed their contributions to the kernel under the GPL version 2 only, and only the copyright holders can change the license under which a work is published. That's simply a fact.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162465)

Alan Cox and Linus Tourvalds have spoken out on the GPL3 separately. Linus Tourvalds is against it, Alan Cox thinks it's sensible.

Re:Notable names *not* on the list (2, Informative)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162474)

Looks at list of kernel developers from the poll result link...

#1 Linux Torvalds gives the v3 draft a -2.5 (somewhere between really dislike it and thinks that v3 is much worse than v2)
#2 Alan Cox gives the v3 draft a -2 (thinks v3 is much worse than v2)

Huh? (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162486)

Notable names not on the list

Yes, they are:

Name Vote
Linus Torvalds -2.5
Alan Cox -2.0

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162834)

he was talking about the statement [lwn.net] . you're talking about the poll [lwn.net] .

If it ain't broken (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162430)

"So far, in the whole history of GPLv2, including notable successes both injunctively and at trial, we have not found any bugs significant enough to warrant such corrections."

Why fix it then?

Re:If it ain't broken (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162482)

Foresight? Why did the FSF include the patents section in GPLv2, even though software patents weren't really a problem in 1991?

Re:If it ain't broken (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162580)

That is their eventual conclusion. If you read down to the end, they say that without the three clauses they are against, v3 has only marginal benefit over v2.

Re:If it ain't broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162682)

Why fix it then?


Congratulations, Captain Obvious! You correctly interpreted their implied point.

Now read the FSFs rationale (http://gplv3.fsf.org/rationale [fsf.org] ) for those changes, decide who you agree with more on the respective points, and you'll be well on your way to having formed a bona-fide independent opinion!

Re:If it ain't broken (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162791)

"Why fix it then?"

It is getting broken. The current actions of certain companies to use the freedom of GPL code without passing on that same freedom to recepients of that code, through the use of, for example, DRM hardware detecting and preventing modification of the code, essentially is an example of 'broken'.

Anyone vaguely familiar with the history of the FSF and RMS can recall one of the origin stories of the FSF, involving RMS recieving a buggy printer driver he wasnt allowed to fix due to its proprietary nature and closed source. Had he recieved the source, but then the printer had refused to use the updated drivers, nobody can reasonably come to any other conclusion than that DRM restrictions on the running of GPL code would be just as disallowed in GPL v2.

The changes are exactly in line with the FSF reasoning, like it or not, and a natural evolution of the GPL to cope with new issues. Anyone more concerned with the freedom of those wanting to restrict others has a perfectly good selection of BSD type licenses to use. For those deliberatly and knowingly placing code under GPL these updates come as no surprise, and are not at all unwelcome.

BSD License is better! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162433)

Nothing's as FREE as BSD!

Re:BSD License is better! (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162464)

While that is true, the BSD license does allow people to take software other wrote, and profit off of it without providing anything back, GPL prevents, or at least, inhibits that kind of activity. I'm more fond of a "not-for-compensation = BSD, otherwise = GPL + small/no fee, otherwise = other + large fee"

Re:BSD License is better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162529)

I'm more fond of a "not-for-compensation = BSD, otherwise = GPL + small/no fee, otherwise = other + large fee"

Personally, I go with
"OK if they take my work and sell it back to me = BSD
  Otherwise = GPL
  Commercial = whatever"

So crappy implementations of good ideas that I'd pay for a better version of end up as BSD in hopes that a company will pick it up and sell me a polished implementation of it. Crappy implementation of ideas I would not pay for are GPL, in hopes that someone else will polish it for free. And if you pay me, you just get crap ;)

Re:BSD License is better! (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162856)

Ahh, I try to limit my crap output to my colon.

Anyway, I think, regardless of what I make, if you make money off of it, I should gain to, somehow. However, if you don't make money off of it, then you should be able to use it however the ---- you want.

Re:BSD License is better! (2, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162507)

The BSD license also makes it nearly impossible to compete against proprietary software, since the proprietary software can always incorporate your improvements, but you can't incorporate its improvements.

Of course, people who licence stuff under the BSDL don't care about that (which is why they do so).

Re:BSD License is better! (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162639)

I wasn't aware that competition was such a key value for the F/OSS movement.

Re:BSD License is better! (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162797)

Are you implying that the F/OSS movement is communist? That's been debunked to death already.

Re:BSD License is better! (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162812)

It's important to the FSF. If free software cannot compete with proprietary, it will never replace it. And the FSF wants proprietary software to be nothing more than a footnote of History.

Question (1)

rhartness (993048) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162438)

I haven't followed the issues with the newly drafted GPL policies closely but I am curious about it. If it's so bad, can't these developers just create a modified version or write a new license agreement that is similiar but what they want? What's keeping this from happening? Please for give my ignorance. I claim only a general understanding of open-source by laws.

Re:Question (1)

patrixmyth (167599) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162497)

If they did that then they would be violating the GPL's copyright. Yes, I'm joking, but sadly it's probably still true. The real issue of course is that writing your own license means that other developers who would like to extend your work have to scrutinize that license for compatibility with their choice of license. If everyone's working under a common license then it's less work for the lawyers and easier for commercial participation in open source. Stay at home amateur keyboard bangers could probably care less, of course.

Re:Question (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162638)

I haven't followed the issues with the newly drafted GPL policies closely but I am curious about it. If it's so bad, can't these developers just create a modified version or write a new license agreement that is similiar but what they want? What's keeping this from happening?

Momentum. They can create a new license, but only the copyright holder can license anything under that license and there's thousands of them. Some are unreachable, some are dead (literally) and some would want to block it anyway. The only reason a move to GPLv3 may be possible is because the standard GPLv2 text contains a section that says "GPLv2 or higher", though central sections of the kernel are licensed under "GPLV2 only". Changing to any other license is pretty much impossible and even changing to GPLv3 would be difficult at best, even if the kernel developers were massively in favor of it which they aren't.

The resurgence of the BSD license? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162462)

All this debate over the GPLv3 has been quite useful. These are issues that the community needs to discuss and consider. One of the outcomes of this appears to be a resurgence of the BSD license. I have talked and written to many open source developers who have become quite disappointed with the FSF and its stance with regards to the GPLv3. Many developers consider it far too restrictive, uncertain, and overly complex. Most of the time, developers just don't want to get bogged down in unnecessary legalities.

A good portion of those people I have talked to have said that they are seriously considering using the BSD license for future releases (if it's within their power to make the change), or otherwise using the BSD license for new developments. Many gave their reason as being a mix of licensing simplicity, and commmercial friendliness. While it was far more difficult to take a GPL'ed application commercial, it's much easier to do with BSD-licensed software. Aside from a very small group of ideological thinkers, many in the open source community would like to be able to make a solid living off of their efforts. The BSD license allows for that quite easily.

Going with a license as simple and straightforward as the BSD license often helps everyone. The developer can just develop, without getting bogged down in answering questions about how their software may be used, or other license-related issues. Users understand what they can do with the software much easier. That likely won't be the case for the GPLv3, where even many developers are unsure as to what it will permit and not permit.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162518)

Those who don't mind if someone rapes their code just go with the BSD. Those who are extremely paranoid (maybe rightfully so) just go with the gplv3. All else goes with gplv2.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162557)

Those who don't mind if someone rapes their code just go with the BSD.

That's the basic nature of open source software, as well as real freedom. You're putting your code out there for others to view and essentially use as they see fit. If they want to "rape" your code, then they're free to do so. If they want to enhance it, they're free to do that, as well. Then they're free to show, hide, or distribute that code. That's true freedom, my friend.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (4, Interesting)

IllForgetMyNickSoonA (748496) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163067)

Imagine a situation where a group of people works hard for a few years on an OSS project, brings it out, do the "marketing", sweat blood fixing the bugs and problems which never occured in the lab, builds up the reputation, finally sees that their product is GOOD and that there is a certain market for it and decides to try and make a living out of it by offering a commercial support while still keeping the product development at the same high level as up till now. The product, of course, should remain OSS.

Now imagine that at the same time, a mediocre closed source company with a competing but much worse product is also trying to make the living in the same area. They have a professionaly organized support, a great market presence due to being the only game in the town, but a bug-ridden, bloated and unstable product with horrible performance and unacceptable user interface. The only thing that keeps the company away from bankrupcy is that their project was first on the market and has some name recognition attached to it (it's not far fetched at all - just look at all the god-awful Rational products, and you'll know what I'm talking about).

For the company with OSS product, the life starts looking good. They are not rich, but they make a good living off of the hard work they invested in the past 4-5 years.

Now, if the OSS company went with the BSD licence, what would be there to keep the closed source company from fixing/improving their product by stealing parts of the OSS comany's work? By doing so, they might be able to improve their product up to a point where their customers stop running away to the OSS competition (more often than not, customers are quite shy of changing the software they use, even if the software sucks). Gradually, the image of the closed source product becomes better, and the market share starts increasing again. Due to the good work of our OSS heroes.

Where does that leave the OSS guys? They have a great product into which they invested a great amount of their time and blood, they have a good support, they decided to bet their future onto success of that product. And then they just said "look, guys, if somebody wants it, well - just take it away, we don't care".

Algorithms shall be as free as possible, of course. I could imagine accepting an idea of a *LIMITED* (say, 1-2, years AT MOST) software patents for REALLY new/innovative stuff, and only in the case the patent holder also has a product using that algorithm. The code, however, is what I want to keep as safe from leechers and competition as possible. You can take a look at it, you can learn from it, you can contribute to the code, but you can NOT steal it and close it.

BSD license is "a true freedom, my friend" for leechers. It's not a freedom for the author(s) of the code or for the code itself.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162691)

BSD allows proprietary software to use code, but that doesn't reduce its utility to the author or anyone else. It isn't "stolen" and neither is the author's effort -- the effort is the same whether anyone uses it or not.

For actual important work (as opposed to one more Java library for generating HTML ... that some corporate monster is going to get rich by using, of course, because it's so uber-cool), it might be helpful if proprietary work uses it. Imagine a world where the TCP/IP authors kept others from using TCP/IP. That would not have affect MS dominance since they've had a lock on desktops since before Netscape caught on, so some other networking standard would be in the position TCP/IP is in now.

Finally, using the word rape is way over the top and trivializes a real problem in society -- I'm sure you didn't mean too, but you can get your point across while toning it down a bit too.

Cheers.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162887)

Finally, using the word rape is way over the top and trivializes a real problem in society -- I'm sure you didn't mean too, but you can get your point across while toning it down a bit too.

This is way OT but this is a stupid argument. "rape" is from a middle english word which means "to seize or carry off by force" and one of the commonest meanings of the word is "an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside." You would know this if you actually knew anything about english, but you can't get the whole to/too thing right, so I guess I shouldn't expect too much. Or to much, for that matter.

Your ignorance does not change the meaning of the word, just your inference, which is wrong because again, you have an insufficient grasp on this language.

If English is your first language, shame on you. You need to spend less time typing and more time reading. If it's your second language, why don't you actually learn it before you start lecturing people on their word choices?

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (1)

palndron (37455) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163039)

DECAF.

Christ.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162877)

So, what's mine is yours. What is yours is yours. What is yours is not mine, but I still have to share with you.

Wow, this information wants to be free seems really restrictive once it's not someone else's information.

And please, remind me of my poor grammar and spelling. No need to discuss the issues.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162608)

The debate has been extremely useful... because lots of supposedly technically aware "geeks" still don't understand that DRM is not about controlling music and video. It is about controlling software. It's about centralised development of software, and the centralised approval of specific version.

If people don't understand that... then it's about time they did. You control data by controlling what software can access it. Work through the impliciations of that, and then go back a reread the GPL v3 and read the specs on Trusted Computing. We'll be here when you are finished. Just don't leave it too long to educate yourselves, because it'll be too late to do anything about it by then.

Interesting point. (2, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162735)

One wonders if Linus would've chosen a BSD license when he released Linux.

Really, tivoisation doesn't hurt Linux now because it's too big to kill that way, but it's an important point to consider. That, and the PS2/PS3 Linux, are examples of where I think the GPLv3 would help to capture the spirit of GPLv2. It's not that we care about DRM so much, it's that we don't want a corporation to be able to make a product based on Linux which doesn't allow the customer to make any changes at all. Having source code without being able to make useful changes and redistribute them makes such a Linux about as open as Java.

Which brings us to BSD -- Linus has said that he honestly doesn't care what anyone does with Linux. He really couldn't care if Tivo makes millions because they had access to his software. Which makes me wonder, again and again -- why didn't he use the BSD license, or worse, public domain it all? Because that really seems to be his attitude, and the attitude of these Linux developers.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (2, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163014)

The resurgence of the BSD license?

The answer is no.

Because if you don't like GPLv3, then you can still use GPLv2 until the end of time.

This is what irks me about anyone voicing outrage over GPLv3 because no one is forcing anyone to use it nor does the GPLv2 around the world magically become GPLv3.

Only the author and copyright holder of the software can decide whether or not this will happen and even then... It won't magically causes its dirivatives to jump to GPLv3 by default

Its only if you go back and start using the new work that has been licensed by GPLv3 and if you don't like those terms then write your own code under whatever license you feel like.

Re:The resurgence of the BSD license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16163058)

One of the problems that galls a lot of developers about the BSD license is that companies such as Microsoft can use the code and at the same time publicly disparage the developers that wrote the code (e.g., with the BSD TCP stack, SSL libraries, etc.). The previous versions of the GPL was almost like thumbing the nose at these corporations that wanted to cash in on the Open Source code base.

Linus made the right move (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162488)

Good job Linus deleted the 'or a later version at your discretion' clause really, isn't it?

Otherwise in 10 years time it would be licensed under a GPLv10 license, where contributors have to give up their paid jobs, move to Stallman's compound in Waco and donate all their cheetos to the communal food store next to his Sparc station.

Re:Linus made the right move (1)

Maru Dubshinki (804451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162688)

What part of the "discretion" bit did you miss? If GPL v10 (and man, if you think it'll be up to v10 in 2010, you're being wildly optimistics... it hasn't even made it to v3 in more than a decade and a half) really imposes such restrictions, everyone would just exercise their discretion and use GPL v2.

Poll Results (3, Funny)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162514)

I'm sorry, but I find it difficult to take a position until we poll Tuttle, Oklahoma for the definitive opinion on the fate of GPL v3.

freedom from binding the end use of the project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162522)

Their argument seems to be centered on the belief that the provisions in GPLv3 to restrict DRM will violate the freedom from binding the end use of the project. Is this true? I am as yet blissfully unaware of the details of GPLv3.

Just a chance to voice opinions? (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162523)

Is this just them taking an opportunity to voice their opinions in a way that will give them a wider audience, given that version 3 is an impossible option due to the simple technical reason of being unable to contact every contributor (even dead ones) for permission? (I haven't RTFA of course)

Re:Just a chance to voice opinions? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162850)

It's not that bad. Many parts of the kernel will be GPLv3-compatible (either because they're GPLv2-or-later, or because they're licenced under the X11 or 1/2/3-clause BSD licenses). The copyrights to GPLv2-only parts that matter are held either by organizations or by individual developers who are still very much alive. What's left could be dropped or replaced without too much trouble.

Who's idea was this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162528)

Nobody is forcing anybody to use GPL3, it's already widely accepted that the linux kernel will never be under GPL3.

David Woodhouse always appears to be moaning about something but I don't understand what the rest of them are protesting about?

To summarise (5, Informative)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162535)

In case you don't want to read the whole text, they think that GPLv3 is bad because:

  • The FSF has an implicit trust from developers, users and distributors.
  • The use of GPLv3 as a tool against DRM co-opts the work of thousands of people for the FSF's political ends, which they consider a violation of said trust (they do consider DRM a bad thing, they just don't want to be pulled into the FSF's war against it).
  • The additional restrictions clause will be a licensing headache for distributors and may cause splintering among the community depending on what restrictions are included.
  • The patents clause would make corporations even hosting GPLv3 programs on their website untenable, and might stop needed financial and programming contributions from the corporate world.
  • Those three reasons even individually are reason enough to reject GPLv3, and if those clauses are taken out of GPLv3 then it's only a marginal improvement over v2 which simply isn't worth the headache. They also feel that because the FSF will be converting all of its projects over to v3, this will lead to Balkanisation inside the FLOSS community. [wikipedia.org]

Re:To summarise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162610)

> The patents clause would make corporations even hosting GPLv3 programs on their website untenable,
> and might stop needed financial and programming contributions from the corporate world.

Then the corporations need to move to void software patents in the US... oh right. They don't like GPL3, well guess what... we don't like software patents!

Re:To summarise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162708)

To summarize further:
- we don't want to put additional restrictions on other developers reusing out stuff.
- optional additional restrictions are a headache.
- companies who contribute and/or distribute Linux don't like the patent clause.

I'm with them with the additional restrictions (I actually thought that was gone), but the 2 other objections only shows their lack of understanding of what the GPL is supposed to achieve. Namely, empowering the end-user with the option of maintaining or improving the software they're using, either themselves or via a third party of their own choosing, and redistributing the result. Both DRM and patents threaten this, hence the new clauses in v3.

Again, the GPL is not designed to suit coders, distributors or anybody else but end-users. How can people still fail to grasp this very simple concept?

So if they do care about the "lusers", and they have a better way, let's hear it.
If they don't like the license, don't use it.
Either way, let's stop the whining about how it's "inconvenient" to people who are not actually using the software they write. The GPL was not written for them.

They are at least partly wrong, IMHO (4, Interesting)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162736)

IANAL, but reading the draft of the GPLv3 (which is IMO pretty clear and easy to understand for a legal document) I think those kernel developers are wrong on at least two points:
  • "The additional restrictions clause will be a licensing headache for distributors and may cause splintering among the community depending on what restrictions are included."
    AFAICT all different customizations of the GPLv3 and LGPLv3 will always be compatible, no matter what restrictions you choose, so I can't see how this can be a problem for distributors;
  • in the article they say that "defining what constitutes DRM abuse is essentially political in nature"; but the draft never uses the acronym DRM or anything else ambiguos: the draft has a section titled "No Denying Users' Rights through Technical Measures." and I can't see how this (and the actual content of the section) can be ambigous or political.
Everything is IMVHO, of course. And different opinions on something as important as the next GPL are extremely useful: the FSF has already demonstrated to be able to listen and change their opinion (see the changes between the first and the second draft).

Waffle? I'd like some details. (4, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162757)

The use of GPLv3 as a tool against DRM co-opts the work of thousands of people for the FSF's political ends, which they consider a violation of said trust (they do consider DRM a bad thing, they just don't want to be pulled into the FSF's war against it).

No one can make them change their license, can they?

Interestingly enough, your summary contains almost all of the information in the article itself, and that's dissapointing. I'd at least have liked to see links to some of the supposed problems with encryption they claim has caused so many rewrites. Just the same, I'll quote what I think is the heart of what they say:

... section 3 forbids us from ever accepting any licence which contains end use restrictions. The existence of DRM abuse is no excuse for curtailing freedoms.

Curtail who's freedom? Mine? No thanks and I'll see you later.

DRM is something none of us should contribute to. Restricting user rights to use and modify and change software goes against everything that made the GPL a success in the first place. One of the reasons BSD is not as used is because software licensed that way could easily be used by those who are working against everyone's freedom. When you consider something wrong but don't do anything yourself and help others who would do the wrong thing, you are waffling. The poll, if it really reflects the opinions of those listed, is disturbing. Still, it does not matter unless someone can explain how they will be prohibited from continuing to use GPL2. If they really don't mind people Tivoising their work, why don't they just BSD it and let everyone bork the user straight up?

Re:Waffle? I'd like some details. (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162840)

Interestingly enough, your summary contains almost all of the information in the article itself, and that's dissapointing

That, twitter, is because it's a summary of the article, and I don't feel the need to inject my own take on things into it.

try again (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162926)

That, twitter, is because it's a summary of the article, and I don't feel the need to inject my own take on things into it.

What bothered me was the lack of detail and supporting evidence in the orignial. Their conclusions, which you echo, may be warranted but they don't support them with anything other than opinions and generalizations.

Re:try again (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162940)

This might be a bit ad hominem, but you're hardly in a place to be commenting on people only giving opinions and generalisations to support their conclusions.

Good for you (2, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162869)

DRM is something none of us should contribute to.

That is YOUR morality. How dare you impose your morality on someone else? And fine, so you won't work on DRM. There is no reason why someone else can't use GPL'd software to do DRM. If they are using their own time and their own talents and the coder of the upstream software is OK with it - what is the problem? The GPL is only meant to cover redistribution of software (it is a licensing agreement not a terms-of-use).

My problem is all you people who want to impose your morality on others in a flurry of holier-than-thou richeousness. Once you take a freedom away, which freedom goes next? Taking away the ability to experiment with DRM is a freedom, I don't care if you agree with it or not. "preserving freedom" by removing freedom is hypocritical of the FSF. What freedom goes next?

Re:Good for you (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162925)

Well said.

My personal view on it is that the FSF is trying to take a software license and use it as part of its political campaign against DRM, which is simply wrong for the reasons you outlined. As it is, I think the BSD license is probably the way to go.

Re:Good for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16163021)

My problem is all you people who want to impose your morality on others in a flurry of holier-than-thou richeousness.

My problem with you is that you want free reign to take the code I have written along with the rights I have given you, but at the same time you want to take away those very same rights on my code from others. You're just annoyed because we're going to force you to extend the same respect to others that has been shown to you, and you don't want to do that.

It doesn't matter if you built the hardware. If you want to show disrespect to other people, you are free to write or find different code. You can't use my code to do it, and you have no right to claim that my code belongs to you.

DRM isn't always a bad thing. (0)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163006)

DRM's goals are a system that can not be hacked that controls the access to data.
Sounds exactly like what electronic voting machines are trying to do.

I find it really ironic that many of the same people that say no technology say strong encryption is evil or should be controlled are so willing to declare that DRM is evil and should be controlled.

Shouldn't things like DRM be left up to the consumers to decide and not any small group?

In this case the FSF is going to Fsck up FOSS movement by trying to force their politics and world view on to everyone. Goodness knows it must really be driving RMS nuts that HURD is dieing on the vine and Linus is the FOSS poster boy. I think GPL V3 is more about ego than anything. FOSS and Linux are moving into the mainstream and it must drive the FSF that the spotlight has moved from the politics of all software must be free too providing tools that work and are open to the greatest number of people.

Re:To summarise (1)

br00tus (528477) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162773)

The GPL has always had a clause that you can update code to a new version of the GPL. These changes are to protect against DRM, not to make big money for Stallman. I find this talk of a violation of trust a little disingenuous. If you're going to slap a license on your code, you should read it first.

As far as community splintering and a fall-off of corporate support, those are possible. These are the core Linux people, and if they want to stay at version 2, that's their choice. I contribute to free software packages, and I would tend to prefer 3 to 2, but to each their own. As far as splintering, we already have GPL, BSD and a number of other licenses, I don't see much of a problem.

As far as corporate support, it is sort of a double-edged sword, I fear for a free software movement where people ask themselves every time they are about to do something, "What will the corporations think?"

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162562)

So the Linux kernel won't be licensed under GPLv3... who gives a flying f*ck?

Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162582)

Anybody else thinks Google is getting careful. They defiantly can handle Linux tech issues but might be helpless with licenses problems. And my guess is they don't want to be forced to publish their extensions.
http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?com mand=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9003492 [computerworld.com]

Does the kernal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162597)

Pop like PopCorn when you put it in a microwave

Having read both GPLv3 and TFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162600)

... I must say that I agree. There is no compelling reason to switch to GPLv3 and there are a number of reasons not to switch to it. Easy decision.

Opinions (3, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162621)

5.1 DRM Clauses

Has any of these developers actually consulted with a good IPR lawyer before making these statements? They continue to bitch about the restrictions on "encryption", but I just don't see it, and neither does PJ of Groklaw.

5.2 Additional Restrictions Clause

They sort of have a point, but on the other hand, I think it would help greatly if GPL programs could implicitly link with OpenSSL, for example.

5.3 Patents Provisions

Personally, I like this clause. Of course, the problems would go away if software patents did too.

License proliferation

I think this line is rich:

In deference to the critical role of distributions, we regard reducing the Open Source licensing profusion as a primary objective.

<sarcasm>Sure guys, that's why you switched to GPLv2-only licensing: to reduce licensing profusion.</sarcasm>

Re:Opinions (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163075)

5.1 PJ isn't a lawyer.
One issue the GPLv3 is attempting to solve is signed binaries.
If the environment (ie Tivo) will only execute a signed binary the key must be released to allow someone to run the modified binary
Many think this is an unacceptable consequence.

5.2 Some people don't want the GPL to be incompatible with itself, which the GPLv3 would explicity allow.

but... (2, Interesting)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162624)

I'm havign a hard time understanding what all the problems with GPL v3 are about. We know that Linus isn't happy with it, we know a lot of people aren't keen on it. Because of this we will see a lot of projects stay on v2, with a few (and maybe an increasing number) go to v3. But why is this a problem? I think split licences are a good thing in this context, because I support freedom of choice. That's what we're here for in the first place isn't it? More choice is better.

So long as we can make the versions work with each other then there is no problem.

The GPL, whether it is version 2 or 3 will still be a sign to all end users that you can trust that the software will not take your rights and will be free (in both ways)

Re:but... (3, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163048)

That's what we're here for in the first place isn't it? More choice is better.

More choice is only better when the different things to choose from actually do something different. Choice between BSDL and GPL is good, because they try something quite different yet remain somewhat compatible, at least in one direction (GPL code can use BSDL code). Choice between GPLv2 and GPLv3 is however totally pointless, both try to do the exact same thing, just with some details smaller changes, however they are incompatible in both direction. If I no longer have the freedom to combine two free programs together, because they use very similar but incompatible licensese, a lot of freedom is simply wasted for no good reason.

Point by point summary (2, Insightful)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162687)

1) We dont want to change a winning formula
2) Even one more open-source license is too many
3) We need corporate contributions to linux
4) We don't own the copyright so we can't change
5.1) *NO* DRM can be restricted unless absolutely ALL innocent use is allowed.
5.2) GPL3 will fragment licenses by being compatible with more of them
5.3) Companies cannot benefit from som GPL programs without giving up patent claims against all GPL programs (and we have to keep our corporate backers happy).
6) There is no reason at all to use GPL3. It provides absolutely nothing of value over GPL2.

Sorry but these reasons are just crap... 1) fear of change is not a reason, 2) there are hundreds of open-source licenses and one more is not going to break the camel's back, 3) pleasing corporations is not a tenant of oss and never has been, 4) they can change piecemeal on new parts, 5) drm is incompatible with oss, end-of-line, qed and 6) they are just being wankers.

Personally I've looked into the kernel a lot and I'm not all that impressed... the code is good and fast, but the design choices are sometimes pretty shabby. For example the IOKit c++ based driver model in OS X is far superior. Or take their diss'ing of DTrace for instance. In fact, I would love to see a split that creates an alternative kernel for Linux. It would be a great thing in the long run.

Re:Point by point summary (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162775)

5.1) *NO* DRM can be restricted unless absolutely ALL innocent use is allowed.
What, exactly, would be "innocent" use of DRM?

Re:Point by point summary (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163002)

What, exactly, would be "innocent" use of DRM?

I can think of quite a few, but they all involve me owning the master keys to my own computer, which the GPLv3 would make more likely.

After reading the whole thing, I disagree with the kernel developers on most points. Their most significant objection is this one: "As drafted, this currently looks like it would potentially jeopardise the entire patent portfolio of a company simply by the act of placing a GPLv3 licensed programme on their website." It doesn't look like that to me, but IANAL, and TANLE, and in any case, jeopardizing software patents would not actually be that bad of an outcome.

Re:Point by point summary (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162776)

1) fear of change is not a reason,

they are not afraid of change, they just see no benifit to it. This isn't the kind of thing that they could have a punt on and see how it works out. This is something which they hold very dear and want to make sure it's good

2) there are hundreds of open-source licenses and one more is not going to break the camel's back,

I agree, but their point is still a valid objection.

3) pleasing corporations is not a tenant of oss and never has been,

This might not have a lot to do with going out of their way to make big companies happy, but big business can help open source, without it I would argue that the community would be significantly worse off - without RedHat we wouldn't have Fedora

4) they can change piecemeal on new parts,

I don't know exactly how this would actually work in practice, I wouldn't have thought it would be easy - although probably possible

5) drm is incompatible with oss, end-of-line, qed

I also agree... although I'm not sure you can assert qed because you've given an oppinion, not a proof ; )

6) they are just being wankers.

Nice flame at the end there. We have seen that the v2 works really well, I've never seen a serious problem with it, why must they change? Isn't the kernel worth being a bit conservative with?

Re:Point by point summary (2, Insightful)

0xABADC0DA (867955) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162880)

I don't really disagree with any of your points, but lets cut to the chase:

The kernel developers like companies contributing to linux and they don't want to jeopardize that. That's pretty much what their response is all about, whether they even realize it or not.

Also you mention Red Hat... from the RH people I've talked to personally they seem pretty gung-ho about GPLv3. Probably because it protects them far more than v2 since it basically means they are immune from the majority of patent suits.

Re:Point by point summary (2, Insightful)

Rutulian (171771) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162806)

Agreed. This position statement seems to be, "We don't like politics and GPLv3, so here are a bunch of bs reasons for opposing the license change." Not liking politics is fine, but if you are going to draft a position statement you need to make sensible arguments and not just sound like ignorant wankers. The DRM and patent issues have been addressed by the FSF a number of times. This is not about a war against DRM and patents; it is about free software being free. Oh, and corporations may not like it, but since when do corporations like any version of the GPL? I'm sure they would really prefer the BSD license, so should we just switch to that to keep our corporate friends happy. The thing is, corporations want to use linux. They like linux, and they will put up with the license to use linux because, in the long run, it saves them money, even if they have to give something back to the community in return.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162861)

Please mod parent up: he has made very sensible and clear points.

Re:Point by point summary (1)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162818)

Sorry but these reasons are just crap...

I have to agree: I am lucky enough to be paid to develop a medium-sized program and it will almost certainly be released publicly under the "GPLv3 or (at your option) any later version", or at least a GPLv2+GPLv3 double license.

Re:Point by point summary (3, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162915)

From the position statement:

"The existence of DRM abuse is no excuse for curtailing freedoms." (sec 5.1)

"As we stated in section 2 one of the serious issues in Open Source is too many licences." (sec 5.2)

With regard to the first quote, they seem to be saying that the DRM clause is restricting the freedom of companies who want to prevent buyers from owning their products. This suggests that have forgotten about whose freedom the GPL is aimed at protecting: the person who recieves the code from someone else, not the person who wrote it. By the definition of "freedom" they are using, the GPL as it stands restricts the "freedom" of companies who want to incorporate GPL'd code in their product without releasing their own source.

With regard to the second quote, this is a claim that I have only ever seen in the FUD-laced presentations of lawyers and patent agents. The number of open source licences is very, very small: there are fewer than a dozen common licenses, and the last time I counted only about fifty that are at all significant. Now compare that to the thousands or tens of thousands of closed-source licenses out there. There are amazingly few open source licenses. Indeed, if there really were hundreds of common licenses--instead of the GPLv2 plus a few other significant ones--then a new GPL version would be completely insignificant.

So their position is not even self-consistent: either there is a large number of licenses, and adding one more is a problem; or there is a small number of licenses, and adding one more is a big deal. Their second point takes the former position, their first point the latter. Neither makes for a plausible argument.

With regard to patents: if a new version of the GPL puts a spoke in the wheels of the software patent machine, more power to it.

Re:Point by point summary (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163007)

1) If it isn't broken why change it?
2) Those who want this licence can use it, but creation of another license shouldn't be encouraged unless it solves a problem.
3) Those working for corporations would like to keep contributing and be paid, this is a valid concern.
4) The legal technicality of who owns the code is a SERIOUS concern for relicensing. You can't change piecemeal because you'd be linking 2 incompatible licenses, this is not permitted.
5) DRM is not incompatible with OSS, it is incompatible with the ideals of Free Software. Also the restrictions as written in the GPLv3 draft may restrict more than simply DRM.
6) Many of the people who actually write the kernel seem to think that the GPLv3 isn't better.

If you want a better kernel why don't you get a group of programmers and fork a GPLv3 version recoding the required sections?

Re:Point by point summary (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163050)

3) pleasing corporations is not a tenant of oss and never has been,

The corporations make the hardware and pay for a lot of oss development. A basement OSS developer only has so much time to contribute to free software. Many of the OSS leaders have paid, full time corporate jobs to work on open source projects. And it's a lot easier to use hardware with open source software if the vendor provides an open driver or releases the device specs to open source developers.

In principle open source and corporations are unrelated. But if we want widespread open source software use - which builds the foundation for more open source development - we need to cooperate with businesses.

Let the free market handle it not the license... (5, Insightful)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162690)

What Stallman is trying to do is to prevent hardware from running GPL'd software if the hardware prevents its owner from running versions of the software that have been modified. Although I'm for free software as in speech, I think trying to use the software license to control what a hardware manufacturer does is inappropriate and overstepping.

If a manufacturer creates hardware that limits a person's ability to modify the software that runs on it then let the market forces apply pressure. There won't be the plethora of open source software from the community to run on it and that will give an advantage to products that do allow the community to add to the product's value.

What free market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162811)

Copyright: not free market. EULA. Licnense (you say let the free market handle it, get rid of EULAs)
Patents: not free market. (you need a patent license, you say let the free market handle it. get rid of patent licenses)
DMCA: Government protection, not free market.
Broadcast flag: not free market.

Re:Let the free market handle it not the license.. (2, Interesting)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162904)

"If a manufacturer creates hardware that limits a person's ability to modify the software that runs on it"

Then he can do that. With his own code. Not with mine.

"then let the market forces apply pressure"

Not being free to use other peoples GPLv3 licensed code is market pressure.

Quid pro quo. It really aint that hard to grasp. If you want the freedom, then you have to pass that freedom on.

Re:Let the free market handle it not the license.. (1)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162943)

My point is that GPL V2 the manufacturer must release his code back to the community. Nothing prevents you from taking that code, removing what you don't like and running it on hardware that you build. The GPL v3 oversteps its bounds by dictating hardware design.

The free market (1)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16163030)

There seems to be a naive belief in the free market similar to that of "god will provide".

There isn't a free market - in this case there is likely to be collusion between the hardware vendors, the proprietary software vendors and the *AA. Given the amount of money they have they can use the "free market" to purchase as many additional lawmakers they need to push through whatever restrictions they want.

Why I do not like GPLv3... (0, Flamebait)

thebdj (768618) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162739)

It is rather simple. RMS has decided too turn the GPL and the FSF into a political machine to shape the way he views software should be used and distributed. He is very much against DRM and Software Patents, which is fairly well documented by his actions. I do not like what the MPAA and RIAA are attempting to do with DRM nor do I like software patents; however, adding specific clauses to the GPL to make these things essentially violate the GPL is insane.

Let me attempt to liken this to other organizations that had good intentions at one time or another. Take Greenpeace for example. Here is a group whose original ideology was somewhat new at the time and who developed a large following. The problem is, the group decided to become more political and began to lose focus of what they were doing. Some of the key members and founders even left because of this. It became a means for certain people to advance their own perceived political aspirations. Their tactics became less of prevention and started down this path of awareness, a path that is usually more fiction than fact. (Every group enjoys using sensationalism. Half of what PETA tells you is wrong with meat isn't true, and neither is half of what GP says is wrong when it comes to certain environmental issues.)

Now, we have RMS doing much of the same thing with the GPL and open source. He is convinced these items are evil and will use a variety of methods in an attempt to prove this. Some of the methods have even begun to reach that point where they are literally "over the top." You can mark me a troll if you want, but I seriously think this is a true point that people need to consider. While countering software patents and DRM are good things, I do not believe a software license that would be used by tons of open source products is the place to fight this battle.

RMS didn't change (3, Interesting)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162916)

This is just unfair to RMS his objectives haven't changed.

GNU the GPL and the FSF exist because he wanted software to be distributed and used in that way, so he did it and encouraged wider participation.
The Free software movement has been very successful.

Now what is happening is some loopholes in the implementation of RMSs vision have been exploited, he obviously wants to correct this.

The only reason these people worked together is that the different visions could agree on a single implementation at that time. That time is past and the different visions no longer agree on the correct implementation.

For RMS to move forward in accordance with his vision he will have to create a new implementation that won't have the large mass of current users. He doesn't want to do this because many won't move, but he will have to in order to move forward.

Spirit of the GPL V2 (3, Insightful)

gnujoshua (540710) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162805)

The authors claim that the GPL V3 draft is not in the spirit of the GPL V2 license. However, I believe that the extreme liberalness of the language used within the preamble is perhaps what we should base our understanding of "spirit of" from. For instance, the Preamble states:

" To protect your rights, we need to make restrictions that forbid anyone to deny you these rights or to ask you to surrender the rights. These restrictions translate to certain responsibilities for you if you distribute copies of the software, or if you modify it.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must give the recipients all the rights that you have. "

This excerpt is especially stirking when applied to DRMd software. When someone distributes a DRM'd software system that it is often the case that the maker of the software system has more rights than the reciever of them. For instance, a person recieving a TiVo software system, they have implicitly been denied certain rights due to the nature of the software distribution (which, in this case, is dependent upon a hardware system).

I believe that the article, "The Dangers of Problems with GPLv3" hinders largely upon this notion of "spirit" and upon developers' trust with the FSF and future drafts of the GPL. I belive that RMS has been more than clear about his beliefs. Furthermore, the FSF has worked hard to share as much of their philosophy as they could with the world. As a person who has spent a good deal of time with the written philosophy of the FSF, I believe that the GPL V3 is very much in the spirit of the GPL V2 and is clearly in-line with the spirit of the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation.

However, it is important that when entrusting an organization with your copyright, you should take a good look at the organization and read their beliefs and arguments and to look beyond just the clauses within the license. "The Dangers and Problems with GPLv3" fails completely to do this kind of research or background check, and as such, I believe that they have failed to make a solid argument as to why the GPL V3 is not in the spirit of the GPL v2. I will leave it to the rest of the slashdot community to closely examine the language of this article and reveal that there is a lot of huff and puff and hot air but not a lot of substance or strength to the arguments.

-Joshua Gay

Their reasoning is weak (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162866)

They list three primary reasons for not wanting to use GPL 3:

1. They are against the DRM clause because they believe it is an "end use restriction". The DRM clause prevents distributors from calling the program a 'technological "protection" measure' which ensures that others are free to distribute it. Perhaps it's redundant, but it adds no restrictions on end-use.

2. They are against the "Additional Restrictions Clause". This is one of the most sorely needed updates to the license. It helps make it compatible with other free software licenses. They're afraid that this will encourage too many alternative licensing usages. Unfortunately, reality is that there are already too many licenses out there now and this clause is trying to be as useful as possible in the current environment. If everyone agreed with and used GPL2 this clause would be unnecessary.

3. They are against the patent clause because they are afraid it will scare away corporate help. Here they may be right. However, the GPL is intended to be for "free software", not for general "open source software". This clause is certainly in the spirit of the GPL although it might make it harder for some projects to get help. Support for this clause will vary depending on how one falls on the practicality/idealism spectrum.

In summary, their reasons seem based primarily on a desire to see their work disseminated as widely as possible and not to keep the software free. I'm disappointed in them.

Pissing match (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16162883)

Oh goodie, yet another article about the pissing match between the Linux kernel developers and the FSF.

I personally think that the kernel devs, particularly the major ones, are losing touch with their own customer base. Every single point of the open letter I dispute:

1) The anti-DRM clause is a *good* thing, as it prevents the industry giants from turning the free Linux-that-can-be-tweaked-by-the-end-user into Unix-that-can-only-be-modified-by-the-vendor. Do they even remember the craptastic state of Unix circa 1991? The FSF made a major tactical blunder in pushing HURD, yes, but they made a major strategic success in GPLv2. All these arguments against the anti-DRM clause are more deja vu of the arguments made against the GPL explicit-linking restrictions. Anti-DRM just closes a hole that someone figured out after GPLv2 was out a few years.

2) The patent clause: yay. If company X releases their own GPL version of code, they can't sue company Y for improving on it. Who could possibly complain about that? Oh wait, they're still pissed about the whole GNU/Linux thing...

3) The optional clauses: goodie also. Remember when Xfree86 had to fork? Notice how Sun CDDL is deliberately incompatible with GPLv2? GPLv3 just makes it easier to add those additional restrictions without breaking the whole license in the process. Distros won't care -- it's still GPL code. Developers WILL care, as they have to be more careful with copy-and-pasting directly from other projects into their own, but then again any developer who doesn't carefully check already is being stupid.

They threaten "balkanization" of the OSS landscape: I say it's already happened. It's happened in two areas: BSD vs GPL, and paid-for-OSS vs hobby-OSS. BSD: great license, and when I'm actually paid to write OSS code that's what it goes under so we can sell it later. But when I write MY code, it's GPL: you want it, pay me for it! Very different philosophies though, and impossible for Linux code to end up in OpenBSD unless the individual developer has a change of heart. Now who is all about sharing again?

Second: now how many OSS developers get paid to write GPL code again? Right: mainly just these people bitching about GPLv3. Notice how the survey even included an option to say "I don't like GPLv3 because MY EMPLOYER doesn't like it."

Since I'm obviously biased, let me begin the list of problems from the Linux kernel side of things:

1. They switched over to BitKeeper and got screwed, exactly like RMS said would happen. Then they had to scramble to resume development with something else.

2. The 2.6 development model that means unstable crap is now constantly being pushed out for the distros to clean up. How many releases did it take for ACPI to finally work? And why does my Adaptec SCSI system sometimes head off to lala-land when it was rock-solid on 2.4?

3. 2.6 dropped a lot of hardware support, leaving some of us in the lurch. Thanks guys, we really appreciate that. But nice to know that you'll help Tivo lock their customers out of hardware THEY OWN, that THEY BOUGHT with THEIR OWN MONEY. Wish I could go back to 1991 and tell Linus "Hey, you're only supposed to run Windows 3.1 on that 386. Don't like it? Go buy a new computer!"

Whatever. GPLv3 will come out, people will bitch and moan, and then they'll start to notice that mega-corporation never really cared what they thought all along. Watch for patents and DRM to get all out of control just as RMS has said they will and all those GPLv2-only projects will be encumbered all over again. When every DVR and wireless router out there runs Linux but not a single one is hackable, then maybe the kernel crowd will finally get annoyed.

I guess that settles it (2, Interesting)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16162997)

Of 29 of the top developers, 28 are opposed to the GPL3, and the other 1 doesn't care either way. And that's not counting whether they want to switch to it, but just whether or not they like it.

I never would have expected such a landslide.
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