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Should Developers Switch to GPLv3?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the how-much-better-is-it-than-v2? dept.

174

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

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FP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348701)

First fucking post hell yes woohoo

Re:FP!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16348741)

No, this thread's about the third post (read: v3), and I got it chronologically, bitch.

Not yet (3, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348713)

Wait for the service pack.

Re:Not yet -- "GPLv3" Should Become "SGPL"? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350011)

Your joke accidentally inspired a serious thought:

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

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

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

Re:Not yet -- "GPLv3" Should Become "SGPL"? (2, Interesting)

BOFHelsinki (709551) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350111)

Mod parent up! My thoughts exactly... It'll be an ill day when the creators of the GPL hijack the term "GPL" for something materially different. And "GPLv3" along "GPL" (next to nobody uses "GPLv2" out there) would look just clumsy and geeky. To really succeed and spread in the real world, the GPL needs to be a very clear concept. It takes some time to wrap one's head around it already now -- any extra difficulty and complication is definitely not wanted. If what I fear happens -- v2 just replaces v3 -- I'll stop evangelising GPL just because it becomes too iffy for me to do.

Re:Not yet -- "GPLv3" Should Become "SGPL"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16351027)

Mod parent down!

if businesses were smart, they'd adopt the GPLv3. The more businesses abolish patents the more scientific research can be carried out!

What? (4, Insightful)

also-rr (980579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348745)

If you are writing from scratch you lose no control as you can dual, triple or whatever license your own code as you see fit.

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

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

You've just described GPLv2 (1)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349385)

GPLv2 is indeed as you describe, but GPLv3/draft goes slightly further than this, and that's what all the fuss is about. Many people have commented on the details of keys etc, but there are other issues causing trouble too, for example the change in underlying philosophy.

GPLv2 was purely a copyright license (the FSF's "copyleft" is based in copyright, and only comes into effect when issues of copyright are engaged). Everyone knew that the license could never impact on your usage of any GPL'd software, only on your distribution of it, because distribution entails copying, and anything else you may do is irrelevant.

In contrast, GPLv3 now seeks to turn the pure copyright license into a sort of EULA (End User Licensing Agreement), because the terms of the license are affected by what you as an END USER do quite separate from distributing the software.

For example, litigating against an open source developer for alleged patent infringements is a nasty thing to do, but it has nothing at all to do with COPYING or COPYright or distribution of GPL'd code. In seeking to make such separate actions of the end user relevant to the freedoms they can have under GPLv3, the new license clearly goes beyond pure copyright and into EULA territory.

The keys issue, and this change away from pure copyright worries people, and these worries may be warranted.

GPLv3 is certainly not the GPL that we love today, and we haven't even begun to understand the full ramifications of the various changes. While nobody likes where the TiVO seemed to be leading us, GPLv3 seems to be heading down a very dangerous and slippery road to thwart that, and the cure may be worse than the disease.

The licence doesn't say that (2, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349537)

What part of the GPLv3 discussion draft 2 puts the restrictions on the end-user that you claim?

GPLv3 only puts restrictions on redistribution, not on use. (Just like v2.)

Patent litigation is not distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16349719)

What part of the GPLv3 discussion draft 2 puts the restrictions on the end-user that you claim?

The patent clause does exactly that. It is unrelated to copyright.

Engaging in patent litigation is not an act of COPYing that would engage the terms of a pure COPYright license, like GPLv2 say. What the user does (separate from distribution) is no concern of copyright. Consequently, GPLv3/draft is not a pure copyright license, but some sort of odd EULA that we haven't really seen before and is hard to pigeonhole.

and look at the licence (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350001)

What part are you talking about? The section paragraph of section 2?

This is borrowed from other free software licences. From the late 90s onward, many companies wrote their own free software licences, and many included patent retaliation clauses like this. GPLv3 is copying them.

That you haven't seen this before and that you have a hard time pigeonholing GPLv3 is a reflection of you, not the licence.

If you have a comment about the licence, please make it at gplv3.fsf.org (as well as discussing it in whatever online forums you want to).

All comments submitted there are reviewed by four committees with about 130 people in total. One of those committees is made up of legal experts. They should be competent enough to review your comment. Here's the member list of that committee:
http://gplv3.fsf.org/discussion-committees/C/membe rlist-public [fsf.org]

I've read the new draft many times thanks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350509)

>> This is borrowed from other free software licences. From the late 90s onward, many companies wrote their own free software licences, and many included patent retaliation clauses like this. GPLv3 is copying them.

You're not denying what I said. You're merely explaining how it is that GPLv3/draft has become like that. What I wrote stands.

GPLv3 is becoming a EULA, no longer a pure copyright license. And if EULAs are of dubious legality in shrink-wrap and click-through licenses, then they are even less safe in a license which previously relied purely on the rocklike foundation of copyright law.

>> Here's the member list of that committee: ...

I don't doubt their intellect. I do however question your methodology in trying to answer my point by blatantly appealing to authority. You might like to Google for "Logical fallacies" + FAQ.

A good GPLv3 will stand on its merits, not on the number of high profile people backing it.

I do however accept your point that any perceived weaknesses should be posted to the committees for review, their eminence notwithstanding. Unfortunately, I do not believe that a fundamental rewrite is possible now even if major problems are identified and recognized, because RMS and EM (both of whom I admire and support personally) are on worldwide political campaigns now.

I'm not a kernel nor Linus zealot, nor a BSD fan, (and I have no time for proprietary software whatsoever), just a long-time Unix and FSF and GNU/Linux supporter since the start. I am however a logical analyst, and this GPLv3 draft is covered in logical (and hence legal) problems.

Re:I've read the new draft many times thanks (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351477)

I don't think that your analysis is correct here. The GPL is still relying purely on copyright law; it only applies if you engage in activity otherwise prohibited by copyright law (e.g. copying, distribution, preparing derivatives, etc.). The difference is that rather than limit what it requires in compensation for the copyright license it grants to the copyright field, it's now asking for more. What it asks for doesn't really weaken it. Lots of copyright licenses are made in exchange for money, which is also outside the ambit of copyright.

I don't think that it's getting into EULA territory, really, as the GPL still would not apply to end users. It only applies to people who want to engage in covered activity. Mere use isn't one of those.

And also, EULAs continue to grow in strength, though the main issue there has to do with how they're formed, not what they deal with. No one would have any argument at all against a EULA that was presented and agreed upon in a different fashion. In regard to formation, the GPL is on the same ground it always was.

Re:Patent litigation is not distribution (1)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351603)

They are not allowing you to distribute a modified version of the software that relies on patented methods unless you promise not to sue anyone for patent infringement on those methods. They are also not allowing you to use modified versions of the software that you've kept private if you have sued someone for patent infringement on anything that the modified version does (even if the unmodified version already did it).

Neither of these are "EULA". They are taking away permission to modify and distribute, as copyright law allows them to do. You can still USE a version that is publicly available even then, you just can't modify it to use your patented method if you're trying to prevent anyone else from using it as well. Actually, it looks like if you modify it to NOT use your patented method, you could use or release it then, but I'm not sure of that.

To the extent copyright law wouldn't restrict using a modified version without permission, you could still use it (but still not distribute it). An example would be a "necessary" modification to make it run. At least, that's how I read it.

Define use and distribution (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349851)

Is putting the software on an embedded device you sell use or distribution?
And what about network services (such as webpages)?

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

But if you start modifying the game core, I want you to contribute back. Maybe the solution to this situation is to release the source files of the game core and the back end code as different licenses? If so, which is which? It's a bit confusing...

Re:Define use and distribution (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351225)

Is putting the software on an embedded device you sell use or distribution?

Distribution. See FSF vs D-Link [slashdot.org] .

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

Not good, if you believe in the intent of the GPL. There's no doubt that the modifier in this case is making a derivative work.

Maybe the solution to this situation is to release the source files of the game core and the back end code as different licenses?

I'd use the LGPL in your example and not the GPL. Provide hooks that somebody can write a wrapper for. If they have to change your code, then you are entitled to get those changes back. But if all they do is call your code, then they get to keep their code. Personally, I think more developers would choose the LGPL if they really understood the ramifications of GPL vs LGPL.

Re:Define use and distribution (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351289)

And what about network services (such as webpages)?

If you send back GPL'd bits to the client, then that's 'distribution'. If the GPL software is merely a tool on the backend that send back content you wrote, without including GPL'd libraries, then that's 'use'. Fairly simple. Follow the bits. A static web page has an implied license to copy for stuff like browsing, web proxies, web search engines, etc. However, hosting others' copyright works yourself is not allowed withour permission, though it gets murky with "fair use" (Google cache, Slasdhot mirrors, etc). This page just scratches the surface: Copyright on the Internet [fplc.edu]

Re:You've just described GPLv2 (2, Informative)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351661)

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

Exactly -- EULA terms in GPLv3, beyond copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16352145)

>> The restrictions on someone who uses patents as a weapon against Free Software are ONLY to the acts of modifying and distributing it, which is completely within copyright law.

Exactly, I couldn't have expressed it more clearly myself. The acts of modifying and distributing a work are completely within copyright law, whereas the extra new provision concerns an issue that is not related to copyright law, namely litigation over alleged patent infringement.

It's this non-copyright related factor that turns GPLv3 into a EULA --- an agreement regulating what other things the end user can do, apart from the modification and distribution which are both covered by copyright law.

Re:What? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349645)

It would only impact on me if I decided to use someone else's work as the basis for mine, or as part of mine, and then I would either have to comply with their license or do the work myself. Doesn't seem that hard to me.
This is ignjoring the principles of free software. Or at least how they have been explained to me over these past 10 or so years. If I code something, Say a Kernel that does percises calculations 20 times faster and more acuratly then currently availible, and release it under GPLv3 as it is writen today, It could be that several people cannot use it because it isn't free enough for them. If my intent of releasing my code under the GPL is so people such as governments, health care providers, and finance firms can use it and thereby attracting people who could contribute back therby helping me, I'm posibly defeated here.

This doesn't even consider dual licensing were you own the copyright to program X wich does something company B likes. But one of the problems is that company B isn't interested in program X untill after seceral generations of the product because it just then becomes stable enough for Company B to asume a level of risk with. Being released under GPLv3 as it is currently writen could prevent this person from taking the now modified GPLed code and distributing it under another license. It further makes it difficult because of how close Code that does certain functions can be when it is replacing contributions already doing those functions. And now maybe company B, because of this, will want to keep the source closed with a special agreement allowing them to release thier modifications outside the full source.

Well, to sum this up, under GPLv3 you have lost a lot of the options that might normaly be there. under GPLv2 you have a control that you would expect to have.

To be honest, I have a problem with GPLv3 as it is currently writen. I don't see any reason why a software license should be forcing it's values on hardware vendors. When you buy a Tivo, you buy a TIVO, not a PC or experiment/development computer. If TIVO has to only run thier signed code on the unit in order to get hardware licensing or content licensing from others, then thats thier obligation not the GPLs place to break. I guess i shouldn't be too surprised about this position though. The GPL's copyright statment isn't even compatible with the spirit of the licence. It is free software as long as you agree with what they say freedom is. I'm starting to think BSD os the way to.

And another drawback might be that GPLed drivers might not be developed by the manufacturers. I can see why they might want to quit developing them all together in some cases.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351053)

When you buy a Tivo, you buy a TIVO, not a PC or experiment/development computer.

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

Re:What? (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351531)

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

Its the difference between an appliance (TiVo) and a general purpose computer (the PC).

Re:What? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351529)

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

Well that's hypocritical, then.

If Tivo licenses hardware that imposes certain requirements on them, and then they license GPL3 software, which imposes other, mutually exclusive requirements on them, then Tivo is up shit creek. They cannot meet all of their obligations, and are going to end up breaking one of the agreements. The proper thing for them to do is to look at the licenses ahead of time and choose one. But it makes no sense to say that hardware developers are more important than software developers, and therefore the latter should yield to the former. You can argue that people should be allowed to license their product as they like, or that they should not be allowed to license it at all, but don't go around arguing that one group can license as they like, and that everyone else should bow to them, and not get into conflict.

Re:What? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350993)

It would only impact on me if

When did PHBs invade Slashdot? The word you are looking for is "affect". "It would only affect me if..."

No, don't be *that guy* (4, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348793)

If you are really interested in building a community around your project, choose a license that not only lets people contribute back to you (meaning that it has to be open to them in the first place) but also allows them to leave any time without having to forfeit their work (meaning that you have a cooperative relationship, not a dom/sub relationship).

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

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

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

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (0, Troll)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349031)

I agree. I find that GPL People are continuing shoot them selves in the foot. GPL is becoming more and more liberal that it is too restrictive and you will be better off with closed source software because you have more freedom. It is a paradox I know, but when groups push for so much freedom and fight to way to stop people who try to prevent freedom, they end up being just as oppressive as the original bad guys.
The problem is that they think everyone should think the same way they do. It will not happen, it is not because you haven't stated your case well enough or that you are smarter or dumber then the other guy it is because other people do not think the same way, If you are going to make policy you need to realize that other people will not be on the same wavelength of though so you need to make sure your policy can accommodate difference in opinion and styles.
I fear GPL for every version is getting more and more one sided in though where v. 3 should be more open to allow GPL to be more widely accepted and get some key points in popular use vs. trying to make a license that only RMS will use.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (2, Insightful)

kamochan (883582) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349039)

The parent got the gist of it.

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

One must also remember that many FOSS authors automatically use GPL because it is "teh license", basically due to the publicity. Much in the same way people use GNU/Linux because it is "teh OS". This means that whatever becomes of the next GPL version, will be automatically used in many projects. Consequently GPLv3, as it now reads, would result in lessening participation and contributions from commercial organizations and many skilled individuals alike. I do not see it as a good thing for FOSS. IMHO, the Berkeley folks got it right ages ago.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (1)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351751)

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

One way to look at the patent clause is that they realized that the "this license doesn't cover using the program, as no such permission is necessary" isn't quite adequate; they are requiring that IF a patent is involved, permission to USE the patent must be included along with the permissions under copyright law; if you can't or won't give (or pass along) such permission, you can't distribute it. Otherwise, people can be in the awkward position of having code that they can modify and distribute but not actually use, which sort of makes the rest of your rights under the license fairly useless.

If you think BSD is the right way to go, then why do you even care about GPLv2 vs. GPLv3? Neither suits your purpose. If TiVo wants to use BSD code instead, then why don't they? BSD doesn't require that you let the end user modify the software you sell them, nor even provide source code. Sounds perfect for what they want to do.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (1)

kamochan (883582) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352017)

If you think BSD is the right way to go, then why do you even care about GPLv2 vs. GPLv3?

My concern is for the future of the FOSS movement; not for what bits of it I can use. I do agree with what you are saying, but it rather missed my point. (Well, at this hour, my lack of clarity of expression probably contributed somewhat :-)

Commercial ventures (well, successful ones anyways) will always asses what they have as applicable resources, and build from that. FOSS is a resource pool of increasing importance and usefulness. When FOSS is used, and it makes sense (it usually does), any subsequent development will be pushed back upstream, effectively contributing to FOSS. (And if the source was BSD-licensed, "any" can be "most", which makes it feasible to base also more hairy derivative works on - as was with my sample case which involved non-general-purpose proprietary hacks.) But if there is no usable FOSS component, then one will be implemented in-house and that's that. Practicality rules.

The FOSS applicable to any commercial venture is BSD based. Most GPLv2 stuff also qualifies for most ventures. GPLv3 stuff will not qualify for most ventures at all. Consequently the contributions from commercial organizations to FOSS will decrease in direct proportion to v3 adoption. Which, I think, will hurt FOSS overall. This is why I think GPLv3, as it is currently written, (and will be adopted by new FOSS writers by default,) will hurt FOSS more than help it.

Note that I am not saying GPLv3 is a bad license. I guess I am mostly wondering about the goals of it. In the grander scheme of things, it seems to me that the apparent downsides seriously outweigh the useful updates. But maybe that's just me and my cynicism...

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (5, Interesting)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350119)

GPLv3 is the worst of the series, IMO. Where it fails is in its insistence that if you want to be part of the community that you basically have to turn over every single thing to the whole community before you get the blessing to participate.

Wow, I don't see it that way at all. Yes, you have to turn over enough that the community can actually use the code you're giving back to them, and that seems perfectly reasonable to me. To give back modifications that are useless to the community because of patents or hardware DRM is to spit in the face of what the GPL is all about.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (5, Interesting)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350719)

The first thing I noticed when reading your post is that I don't think you understand the goal of the GNU project and the FSF. Their goal is to promote Free Software:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

See freedoms 2 and 3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In all, I fail to see how any of your points are really valid. You fail to actually define what you mean by key words in your argument. Of course, this allows you to shield yourself from having to debate any real issues, such as the meaning of "freedom", "rights", or "responsibilities". So perhaps this was intentional.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (0)

radarjd (931774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351113)

The first thing I noticed when reading your post is that I don't think you understand the goal of the GNU project and the FSF. Their goal is to promote Free Software:

I have always found it rather interesting, or perhaps contradictory, that the FSF claims they're all about making software "free" and yet their license is more restrictive than say the BSD license. The problem, I think, is that the FSF (and their chief proselytizer RMS) believes that part of freedom is the inability to create a system where there is less freedom. That is, they believe restrictions are necessary in order to prevent what they consider bad actors from reducing freedom down the line.

That is not a dictionary definition of freedom (see, e.g., http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/freedom [reference.com] ). The FSF's stance on "freedom" is a political philosophy; it's a means on maintaining freedom (perhaps); but it's not a state of freedom. The only true free software is that which is released into the public domain.

Let's say I release a piece of software to the world, and grant it to the public domain. No one can ever make that software "unfree". They simply cannot undo what I have done. On the other hand, they have the freedom to copy it, create derivative works based on it, perform it, display it, and distribute it. That seems to me to be a state of more freedom than the restrictions imposed by the GPL -- any version of the GPL. The GPL v3, of course, adds more restrictions than the GPL v2, making it less free.

So call a spade "a spade". Freedom is one thing -- the GPL is something less.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351615)

I disagree with you.

While the public domain program cannot be made unfree, the original portions of any derivatives of it are not at all free. If the software is popular, and people make a lot of derivatives, you're ultimately left with only the first program being free, and nothing that comes after it being.

The FSF, is looking at the net amount of freedom (i.e. how free you are with regard to all of the software descended from the original program), and finds that limited impairment of it can nevertheless result in more of it over time than the alternative you suggest.

Similar logic is behind the copyright system (where the ideal is maximum creation and publication and freedom, it is most closely approached by temporarily limiting some of these, so as to boost the long term outcome at the expense of the short term) and I doubt that most people would object to it in the abstract, though we might differ on how best to accomplish it.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (1)

radarjd (931774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351959)

The FSF, is looking at the net amount of freedom (i.e. how free you are with regard to all of the software descended from the original program), and finds that limited impairment of it can nevertheless result in more of it over time than the alternative you suggest.

That's fair and I can see your point. However, in the situation where the program is public domain, nothing prevents derivative authors from modifying the work and also releasing their derivatives to the public domain. You're (and perhaps the FSF) presuming that most actors following the original author will be less motivated than the original author to releasing further work to the public domain. In order for the "net freedom" argument to work, there has to be a presumption that without the restriction, there would be less free software.

I would argue that the BSDs are proof that this is not the case. While there are probably a greater absolute number of GPL'd pieces of software, I guess (and this is only my guess) this is due largely to the fact that Linux is GPL, and that's a the license many users have the most exposure to. That's speculation, of course, but I believe the "net freedom" argument is speculation as well.

Similar logic is behind the copyright system (where the ideal is maximum creation and publication and freedom, it is most closely approached by temporarily limiting some of these, so as to boost the long term outcome at the expense of the short term) and I doubt that most people would object to it in the abstract, though we might differ on how best to accomplish it.

FWIW, I'm a copyright attorney, so I've thought about this a bit. I would argue that it's not intended to boost the long term outcome at the expense of the short term, it's designed to incentivize creation and publication period. That is to say, without copyright, there would be little monetary incentive to create and publish new work. There might be other incentives, but (I would argue) [American] copyright law only really considers monetary incentives to be of value.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (1)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351787)

That's like saying you're not really in a free society because there are laws against fraud, property damage, theft, assault, battery, rape, murder, and they even make you uphold your end of a bargain - how can you truly be free if you can't do all those things to other people? How can software be truly free if you can't turn it into unfree software? Oh, the horror!

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (1)

radarjd (931774) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351865)

That's like saying you're not really in a free society because there are laws against fraud, property damage, theft, assault, battery, rape, murder, and they even make you uphold your end of a bargain - how can you truly be free if you can't do all those things to other people? How can software be truly free if you can't turn it into unfree software?

Actually, I would say that prohibitions on those things do make for a less free society. "Less free" does not necessarily mean "bad" -- it means "less free". You're inferring a value judgment where none exists. I did not say that the GPL was bad, only that it was less free than release to the public domain.

And incidentally, I do think those laws make me less free; however, I also think that's a good thing in this particular instance.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (1)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352007)

I think that someone else's freedom to kidnap or murder me would make me less free than do restrictions on me to kidnap or murder someone else. I think most people think similarly, which is why we have such restrictions. As there's no such thing as "total freedom", all we can do is try to be more rather than less free.

Re:No, don't be *that guy* (0, Troll)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351913)

Well said, but your views won't be very popular around here.

I'm firmly in the camp of "if I'm going to give something away, I'm not going to attach strings telling people what they can or cannot do with it" which is why my stuff gets released with the BSD license, or just released into the public domain without any licensing at all.

When I'm looking for an open-source bit of code to build off of or to incorporate into mine, the first thing I do is make sure its NOT GPL code. 10 foot pole, and all that.

should they? (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348887)

I doubt it, the v3 might be ace, but I would be very conservative with my code and what licence to use, v2 seems to work well and I'd be inclinded to stay there - problems that early adopters have are not limited to hardware!

I myself have a question which is not entirely off topic, which somone might be able to answer. Can I release a document which I've written under the GPL if it is not software, say an article or something? I would want people to be able to use my work in a fair way, and after I'm dead all this sillyness gets even more mental. Or does a licence for text documents like the GPL already exist seperately? and what would your obligation be unde it, if what you write is already plain text and doesn't have a source per se

Re:should they? (2, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348915)

The GFDL is what you are looking for.

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

Some people think it is antithetical to the purported aims of the GPL and the FSF.

Re:should they? (2, Informative)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348971)

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

See www.creativecommons.org for more info.

Re:should they? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350845)

CC-by is a trap. Read the text of the license, it allows the author to require his name be taken off a distributed work, and simultaneously prohibit distributing a derivative work without attribution. In other words, author can arbitrarily prohibit derivative works on a case-by-case basis.

Re:should they? (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351939)

That is not a trap, it's a feature. Authors are rather odd people in that they fully accept people will steal their work...Possibly because books have been around for five hundred years now, compared to 90 with recorded media and movies, and they know the ropes. On these grounds the CC licences allow them to take the moral high ground of saying 'if you are going to steal my work can you please follow these simple guide lines' (note I am talking about works they are not intending to sell or that they intend for side allowances in sold works) and as the requests are very simple a large percentage of those stealing the works comply. Creative Commons basically worked out what Authors wanted and made licences to fit in with their wishes unlike this crazy situation where the FSF/RMS/community are all separate groups vying for control over what goes in. Of course the CC process left a bunch of documents that have some rather odd requirements but they get the job done the way it is wanted done by those creating the work. Maybe, and I say this knowing it may shoot my usage of opensource software in the foot, the GPL teams could learn some thing from this?

Re:should they? (1)

tricorn (199664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351819)

The new proposed GNU Simpler Free Documentation License [ . . . ] has no requirements to maintain Cover Texts and Invariant Sections. This will provide a simpler licensing option for authors who do not wish to use these features in the GNU FDL.

You can read it here [fsf.org] .

Re:should they? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351647)

The other comments are useful, but also note that you could release a regular written document under the GPL itself. It might not be the best fit, but it is doable.

what's wrong with v3? (2, Insightful)

arun_s (877518) | more than 7 years ago | (#16348993)

Okay, I may be a little tipsy, and legal loopholes may not be my strong point, but what exactly is wrong with v3? As I understand it, one of its main purposes is to prevent cases like Tivo from happening again, where the source is officially released (therefore GPL-compliant), but modified builds won't work anyway (not covered in GPLv2, therefore legally correct, but still against the actual spirit of the GPL)
Isn't it expected that licenses will evolve as technmology changes, and as loopholes are exploited? If v3 isn't adopted, what's to prevent everyone from locking down their software through keys?
Please clarify if I've misunderstood something, I greatly respect RMS and really can't see what he's doing wrong here. As I see it, without v3, the GPL will just end up just being a license where people can use the community's hard work and avoid giving something back in return.

It's too complex. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16349209)

Take a look at the latest GPLv3 draft. It's a monster. The GPLv2 was long enough.

Most developers are not lawyers. They don't want to get bogged down in legalities and other nonsense like that. They want to develop software, and release it under a license that is simple, understandable, and allows for distribution of their software as they see fit.

Let's look at the number of characters in various open source licenses. In actual usage they'll vary somewhat due to spacing differences and differing copyright strings, so I'll just use rounded, approximate values. Focus on the magnitude of the number of characters, and not so much the exact value.

The latest GPLv3 draft has approximately 27000 characters. Compare that to the BSD license at approximately 1450, and the MIT/X11 license at about 1060. The zlib/libpng license is about 850 characters. Yes, the GPLv3 is between 18 and 30 times as long as the other licenses.

It's fairly easy for most developers to comprehend the terms of the BSD, MIT and zlib/libpng licenses just by looking at the licenses themselves. They usually can completely fit onto one 80x25 termanal screen. They're short, concise, and effective. People know what they can and cannot do with the code.

Take the LGPL, GPLv2, and now the GPLv3. Most developers probably don't have the time to read them, let alone try to figure out what's permissible, and what is not. They have to often resort to some other summary or listing that tells them what can and cannot be done with code under such licenses. Even then, there's still much confusion over some of the terms, even a decade or more after the initial publication and use of such licenses.

The longer the license, the more susceptible it is to loopholes. That's why smaller, consise licenses that clearly state their terms are likely best. They reduce confusion, but most importantly, they let software developers do what they want to do most: develop software.

complexity and length (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349591)

The "GPL is too long" argument is quite funny now.

For 15 years, people said "GPL is too long, write a 1-page version", but now that the licence is online for rewriting, and people are invited and asked to come to gplv3.fsf.org and suggest changes - where are the suggestions for what bits can be removed?

The length=bugs idea is a silly port of something that is kinda true in software but not really in legal documents. If it was true, Microsoft's EULA would be meaningless due to the number of bugs it must contain.

GPLv3 is being made easier to understand. It's not being made faster to read - reducing the byte count of the file would be a trivial goal and many more important goals would have to be sacrificed for it. It is being made clearer, and should be easier to understand - for lawyers, software developers, and judges.

Re:complexity and length (1)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350869)

That's why you write a concise license, and then a longer essay explaining said license. No use in using lots of legalese to make it more understandable, just make it short and to the point, then write an essay describing it, the ramifications of it, and the spirit of it. The essay should be a collaboration, but only among three to five people. That part won't be binding anyway.

Re:It's too complex. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351677)

The longer the license, the more susceptible it is to loopholes.

That's not at all true.

Hell, the only times I'd worry about trying to fit a contract onto a single page are if I either: 1) want to project the image that the negotiation will be simple and straightforward (even if it's not), or; 2) am hoping the other side won't read it carefully (since it can't be a big deal, fitting on just one page), and I'll gain an advantage for my client. A good example of the latter are A&R contracts. They could be written on a napkin, and totally screw up the career of a promising band.

It's incomprehensible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16349901)

what's wrong with v3?

- It's incomprehensible.

- It's abandoning simple copyright, and bringing in EULA-like terms.

- It reduces potential use in commercial products, and that is NOT to our benefit.

- It's far too long and abstract --- lawyers will LOVE it!

Put those 4 things together, and you have a recipe for tears for many years ahead. I sure hope that they realize that it's in really bad shape, and start from scratch on a new v3. This one is very bad.

The fourth problem worries me the most. We do *NOT* want a thousand SCO-like episodes. Not even Eben Moglen should be promoting litigation.

Re:what's wrong with v3? (2, Insightful)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350823)

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

In essence, people are confusing the algorithm (Free Software) with the implementation (the specific license or version thereof). The fact that the most visible people whining about it are programmers is truly some incredible irony.

Code needs to be used... (1)

topham (32406) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349005)

Code needs to be used; if it isn't then what good does it do anybody?

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

While there are downsides to a company like Tivo preventing any 'foreign' software from running on the system the fact is it prevents them from having to deal with thousands of variations and means they choose how and what to support. The alternative is they use something like BSD where they never have to return anything to the community.

GPLv3 will force companies to choose either GPLv2, or BSD style licensing unless they can develop the whole product in house. Obviously if they develop the whole thing in house the community at large is very unlikely to benefit at all.

Re:Code needs to be used... (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350277)

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

Tivo would have the choices of distributing their keys (no), allowing the users to install their own key into the device which would let them run signed code from another source (maybe), renting the tivo's so they retain ownership (maybe) or splitting into two companies and selling the hardware and software seperately so the user must combine them (unlikely) all of which would be fine by me. Under a TPM style system the tivo software (which can be closed) could still be validating it has been booted on it's own trusted system (i.e. the tpm can confirm the key used to sign the running kernel) so if you use the closed tivo stuff you are still locked in, but if you want to have the same GPL rights as Tivo did on the hardware you can.

It would have the significant effect of preventing the distribution of any GPL V3 code with any hardware unless the hardware can allow the user to run modified code on it. I can see RMS saying that it should not be about the ownership of the machine but the users but personally I would say the owner of a machine has the right to lock the users out (though not the right to deny them access to the sources) and the unpleasent business model's (renting machines) will be obvious enough that anyone buying in should have known what they were getting into.

Have I missed something?

Re:Code needs to be used... (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351687)

Have I missed something?

Well, what I would do would be to ship the Tivo without the GPL-based software, and instead with a small, custom program that was severely locked down, and which would then go to Tivo's website upon set-up, and download the GPL-based software. This is because the magic word you used was 'with.' By distributing the hardware separately from the software, the former wasn't distributed with the latter. Problem solved for Tivo, but you, the user, are still SOL if you want to run your own software.

The GPLv3 is not even done yet (1)

caseih (160668) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349007)

So why would anyone want to decide right now if they would use the GPLv3 or not? Most projects that are licensed under the GPLv2 have the "version 2 or any later version" clause in them, so developers could, when the GPLv3 is finalized, choose to "fork" their project to that license, or keep it the same.

Discussing the good and bad points of the current GPLv3 draft is valid and we should be doing that here. But to ask the question "should developers switch to it?" is immature and a little silly at this point in time. We could say "given the current draft of the GPLv3, I would not use it for reasons x,y, and z," but that is the extent of it I think.

At this moment in time, if the GPLv3 were actually released, I would probably still use the GPL v2 until I had time to really understand the v3 license, and the things it might mean to my project. Currently I think the GPLv2 has some definite weaknesses that the v3 is trying to address. For example, if I write a nice python library or module under the terms of the GPL (is that possible? I don't know offhand what license that would require), a person can just embed python in a closed-source C program, load my GPL module and use it as an integrated part of his closed-source program. The GPLv2 addresses dynamic linking from the pov of the compiler, the linker, but it doesn't take into account these other use cases that are now common. The spirit of the GPL certain forbids what I have described, unless the GPL applies to the program as well, and maybe the language does too, but it's ambiguous and would likely require a court challenge to decide. This is the type of problem the GPLv3 is trying to solve.

I hope that most GPLv2 people's objections to the v3 license will be addressed in some way. We shall see.

Stop spreading confusion! (5, Informative)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349019)

You're getting it all wrong starting with the post content!
Victor Loh of ExtremeTech writes about the General Public License version 3's clause, which requires releasing digital signature keys -- in other words, the software should be able to retain interoperability when modified.
The enhanced part is a plain lie. The article of ExtremeTech doesn't even say that!.

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

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

1. Source Code.

(...)

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

(...)

3. No Denying Users' Rights through Technical Measures.

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

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

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

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

As usual, untrue pragmatism. The pragmatist doesn't idealize about perfect future conditions that may or may not happen. The true pragmatist solves the problem in a practical and definitive form: preventing the harm from happening.

Re:Stop spreading confusion! (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349377)

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

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

Again, I'm not arguing this from a *moral* standpoint...but if he attempts to lock horns with the legal system of *any* country, he should expect it to discourage people from using the license.

This type of thing is the reason why I strongly believe that Stallman's mind has begun to deteriorate over the last few years...if nothing else, he has seriously lost focus.

He should step down at this point, I believe...because as time goes on, this sort of behaviour serves more and more to overshadow the genuinely positive work that he did when he was younger.

Re:Stop spreading confusion! (4, Informative)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349609)

but what he is effectively saying is that the legal requirements of the GPL v3 are in direct conflict with American law.

No. You have misinterpreted.

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

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

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

Re:Stop spreading confusion! (1)

Agripa (139780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349789)

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

I agree RMS is pushing very hard on the issue of DRM and the DMCA subverting the intent of the GPL but how does the GPL v3 in this case conflict with US law? It seems more like a conflict between copyright and the DMCA. Some manufacturers want to use GPL licensed source code in their products and then use some combination of DRM and the DMCA to effectively defeat one of the purposes of the GPL. If the manufacturer does not agree to the license then it just becomes a copyright issue and they can not legally use the source code in their product. Either they can provide the necessary public key to allow interoperability or they can allow reverse engineering of the hardware. If they wish to keep the system closed then just do not use GPL v3 and similarly licensed software.

Re:Stop spreading confusion! (2, Interesting)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349665)

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

What's sad is that Linus sees what Tivo has done as "legitimate." Go back a few decades, Linus. When RMS couldn't maintain his laser printer driver, RMS could have just used other hardware. Obviously, RMS didn't like that idea. He didn't like it so much, that the GPL was invented practically as a response to that incident. GPL exists because "just use other hardware" was judged to be totally impractical. If Linus didn't agree with the premise of the GPL, then he should have used some other license (and let his project die in obscurity in 1992).

Re:Stop spreading confusion! (0, Redundant)

secolactico (519805) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350645)

(and let his project die in obscurity in 1992)

Are you sure of that? It seems to me that the GPL and Linux have had a rather symbiotic relationship. Without the GPL Linux would probably not have gotten very far or at least very fast (it would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Linus chosen BSD style license). And without Linux, would the GPL have gotten all the notoriety it enjoys today?

Re:Stop spreading confusion! (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351039)

.. which was exactly what the grandparent said

Depends on your needs? (1)

Mathiasdm (803983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349027)

It depends on what you prefer.

I haven't released any projects yet (I've only been programming for a short time), but I don't intend to release them under the GPL.

Why? Because I think people should be able to link to my projects, without forcing their software to become GPL.

Re:Depends on your needs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16349129)

If you want to allow others to link to your projects consider using the LGPL it was specifically built to allow that.

Re:Depends on your needs? (1)

Mathiasdm (803983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350653)

Indeed, that's what I intend to do ;-)

Re:Depends on your needs? (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349479)

The GPL does not demand that people linking to your code also license their works under the GPL. It only requres it of those creating a derivative work of your own work.

So another option would merely be to not sue those who distribute works that link against your own work.

Re:Depends on your needs? (2, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350885)

Oh yes it does [gnu.org] .

Re:Depends on your needs? (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350917)

That's just the FSF's opinion. AFAIK, we have yet to see the matter decided in court.

Developers rights (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349051)

Choose the one you like.

If you are considering the GPL, choose if you want v2 or v3.
Personally I think the GPLv3 creates more problems than it solves.

read these first, they're a good base (3, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349175)

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

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

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

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

Re:read these first, they're a good base (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349283)

Also, if you want to help raise the quality of discussion

Raise the quality of discussion? I'm curious...is your definition of a quality discussion in this context one which is supportive of RMS' position by default?

It's good to discuss what's actually in the text (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349459)

No. If everyone agreed with RMS and found nothing that should be changed in draft 1 of GPLv3, there wouldn't be much point in having a year-long public consultation.

Criticism and suggestions are useful.

The problem is that too often there are debates under the topic of "GPLv3" which are wholely unrelated to GPLv3. People debate ideas such as "Should GPLv3 prohibit DRM", when GPLv3 doesn't prohibit DRM at all, only tivoisation. Or people debate "What if I don't own the device? What about my work computer?", but these are not being changed by GPLv3.

People don't have to agree with RMS or Moglen, but their presentations, and the text of the discussion drafts, provide a focal point to keep discussions (including criticisms) on-topic.

No. (0, Troll)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349231)

Developers should switch to the MIT license. Free isn't genuinely free if it's only free to some.

Re:No. (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349501)

Stallman explains this in Copyleft: Pragmatic Idealism [gnu.org] .

The freedom you're talking about is total freedom - which leads to fuedalism, which is not very free at all in practice. Free software is specifically about the freedom to help yourself and to collaborate with others of your choosing.

Re:No. (2, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350333)

The freedom you're talking about is total freedom - which leads to fuedalism, which is not very free at all in practice.

This is total garbage, and can very easily be shown to be total garbage merely by pointing to those projects which *do* use MIT/BSD licenses and which work fine organisationally. Yes, forks happen, but forks happen with GPLed code too.

I've said this to a lot of the pro-FSF lemmings that I've seen on this site, and I'm going to say it to you too...Try using your own brain for a change, rather than constantly leaning on Stallman's. You might even find that you enjoy the experience.

FUCK the GPL (-1, Flamebait)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349323)

FUCK the GPL. It's a shitty, overblown, bloaty piece of shit from an extremist communist. The GPL, one would have you believe, forces you to GPL any code using any GPL code, even if the GPL code is a library. This is TrollTech's approach with Qt; and is the direct intent of the GPL's design [gnu.org] according to Richard Stalin.

I know a lot of people who personally won't touch GPL code because they're afraid of what it will do to them. I have been told by a couple senior programmers that a lot of companies don't have a clue and won't run, look at, or modify GPL code because of what it might do to their ability to keep their own control over their own products, especially when programmers work on both GPL and non-GPL code ("don't reinvent the wheel" becomes deadly).

I would advocate the LGPL; but GNU's philosophy scares me and as a personal point of protest I would prefer someone release an LGPL-equivalent license simply for the purpose of having something out there that lets open source developers protect their code (i.e. not BSD or MIT), but also doesn't seem threatening to companies shifting a lot of code around (i.e. not GPL), that is explicitly not from the People's Republic of the Free Software Foundation.

One thing I am looking into is invalidating the dynamic linking clause in the GPLv2, to equivalate(sp?) it with the LGPL. The argument for this comes from multiple directions:

  • The linking clause can be evaded by producing an identical-in-function and identical-in-ABI non-GPL version of the library, and linking to that. Users running the binary with the GPL library will link to the GPL library; but that's not the independent software vendor's fault. Carrying this argument out in reality is a pointless exercise; thus that clause is invalid.
  • Similarly, the GPL explicitly allows internal use of GPL code without GPLing you internal code. Linking to the GPL code is internal use; distributing the dynamic linked binary will not distribute the GPL'd code, and gives the end user no way to run it. The end user's responsibility is to supply the GPL'd library to run the code; this is again not the ISV's fault.
  • Most simply, an ABI-compatible stub library can be produced, with all functions being _exit(0). You can link with THAT and your program is non-functional; running it on a machine with the GPL libraries present makes it functional, but the ISV isn't distributing the GPL libraries.

The third argument is probably the most useful, because you can actually get away with it. You actually produce and link against a non-functional software piece. You don't distribute functional software. You don't distribute GPL software. But when the end user runs it, it links to the GPL code. If this caused the software to be GPL, then running Windows programs on Wine with a fully GPL'd libc (glibc is LGPL) would cause Wine and the Windows program to be GPL, and you could demand source code from the ISV.

Re:FUCK the GPL (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349865)

Your all over the place. Basicly your just repeating the concept of a stub library. The slightly potential problems are first the acutal list of functions in a library are potentially copyrightable. You have no legitimate reason for using a broken stub library. If your talking about "optional" functionality then I would say you could do it. Second after all these RIAA and MPAA lawsuits it is likely that you could be sued for contibutory violations for facilitating users to do something in violation of a software licence.

A much better tactic would be to sue the FSF over something they did wrong and since they probably don't have much in the way capital to actually be awarded the foudation itself. A take over. You can then null and void any limitations to GPL code you don't like for everyone. A clause in the GPL gives the FSF power to relicence code however they want; and that kind of power is an asset. You could make all code public domain if you wanted or sell specific projects code to closed source companies for a profit. I'm surprised microsoft and the old unix companies havn't tried this. The question is what to sue over... but lawyers are pretty crafty.

Re:FUCK the GPL (1)

Captain Segfault (686912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350099)

A much better tactic would be to sue the FSF over something they did wrong and since they probably don't have much in the way capital to actually be awarded the foudation itself. A take over. You can then null and void any limitations to GPL code you don't like for everyone. A clause in the GPL gives the FSF power to relicence code however they want; and that kind of power is an asset. You could make all code public domain if you wanted or sell specific projects code to closed source companies for a profit. I'm surprised microsoft and the old unix companies havn't tried this. The question is what to sue over... but lawyers are pretty crafty.

(OB IANAL)

The FSF only has control over two things: the GPL itself and code whose copyright has been granted to them. Changing the former only works if the license version used is not fixed (eg, the "or any later version" language). There are several safeguards even against a hostile later license: firstly, that the license specifically says that later changes will have the same spirit, so one might argue that a GPLv3 with a "BlueCoder gets all rights" clause would not even *be* a later version of the GPL. Alternatively, it might be enforceable by contract; that language might be interpretable as a contract between the FSF and people using the GPL license that the license will not so change. Even failing that, there'd be estoppel arguments.

Even for code with FSF assigned copyright, similar contract and estoppel arguments might apply. They might own the copyright, but the copyright was assigned with the understanding that the FSF would use it in good faith. A change in FSF leadership couldn't just sell it all off, I think. (but IANAL)

Re:FUCK the GPL (1)

Captain Segfault (686912) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349983)

OB: IANAL

The second argument doesn't work, in that there *is* no such "internal use" exception. (I believe the FSF does not consider internal use to be distribution, but that doesn't give you a way out.)

The problem with any "make an ABI compatible stub" approach is that you need that stub to not be a derivative work of the library! You might be able to pull that off, but at minimum it would probably require a clean room reverse engineering approach.

One legitimate effect of this is that the GPL-linking business has no teeth for a library with a standard ABI; assuming there isn't any header produced non ABI code, you could link against such a library without your program being a derivative work. (but IANAL; I might be wrong.) As such, there's no reason (barring it, itself, being derivative of GPL) for such a library to be GPL in the first place.

Re:FUCK the GPL (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350795)

Wine and the original Harmony project (Qt clone back in the old KDE days when the QPL wasn't open enough) banked on the idea that interface is not copyrightable. The Apple v. Microsoft case precedented the user interface; I believe it was Adobe v. someone that set the same precedent for programmatic interfaces.

Whole story -1 flamebait. There is no GPLv3 yet. (0, Offtopic)

AJWM (19027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349423)

The GPLv3 is still in draft. Nobody can choose it yet.

The question is troll/flamebait.

Or to quote the Magic 8-Ball: "Ask again later" -- like in 6 months or so.

I see that you're not a manager. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350209)

Just because the GPLv3 isn't out yet doesn't mean we shouldn't consider what its impact may be, and whether or not it is suitable for use.

Like you said, there are already drafts that are available. For us software professionals who use open source software on a daily basis, we need to know about the GPLv3 and how it will effect our development efforts.

The drafts give us a good idea of the direction that is currently being taken. Many of us dislike where things are headed with respect to the GPLv3, and thus we are already taking action to avoid problems. We're using BSD-licensed software, for instance, rather than GPLv2 software. In the end, it's just us being responsible to ourselves and our customers. I know such ideas are foreign to a high school student like yourself, but in the real world we have to take the issue of GPLv3 very seriously.

sheesh! (4, Insightful)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349431)

> If you're a developer for a platform that needs to run signed code, could you use software under the GPLv3

Yes!

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

No! Any more questions? :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:sheesh! (2, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350245)

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

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

Another wonderful example of one of RMS's fans demonstrating to us just how glorious Stallman's vision of freedom truly could be. Still think it looks appealing? ;-)

Re:sheesh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350713)

Au contraire, you can get off your ass and create a GPLv2-only alternative which soundsly beats every GPLv3 licensed program which comes out ... that will show them.

Re:sheesh! (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352451)

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

What a bizarre statement. You were obviously trying to be sarcastic, but your statement was perfectly true as it was. YES... the definition of freedom is having other people decide what they do without being able to do a thing about it yourself. If other people choose to wear their hats backwards, then he was right... get used to iy. If other people coose to use the GPLv3, then he was right... get used to it.

He said other people will use the GPL3. They have the freedom to do so, and you have the freedom not to do so, and neither of you can do anything about the other.

If you had no interest in using the existing GPL, then you really have no stake in griping about the drafting of GPLv3. And if you *do* already choose to use the existing GPL, well the GPLv3 is primarily being updated to protect and preserve the original intent and operation of the existing GPL. The GPLv3 primarily ensures that if you release your work under the GPL, that I cannot take your program, modify and redistribute it back to you, and then proceed to SUE YOU for further modifying and redistributing your own damn work, and that if I distribute a modified executable form of your program that I must supply you the COMPLETE source for that executable. And it clarifies that if compilation of that executable involved the use of a key code to generate a signature that is intended and used as a functional component of that executable then that code is part of the source.

Again, you are perfectly free not to release your work under any version of the GPL. And if you're not, then you really have no stake and no real place in a GPL vs GPLv3 discussion.

-

Re:sheesh! (1)

jareds (100340) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351327)

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

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

Are you suggesting that voting machines have a hardware mechanism for signing the state of the machine, like trusted computing?

In any event, building a machine that only runs signed code, where the private key is not publically available, is still a perfectly good security measure for voting machines, and is far simpler to implement correctly than trusted computing.

Code signing: WHO has the key? (2, Informative)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349485)

From article:
Governments, health care providers, and finance firms require private, tamper-proof solutions.

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

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

From submitter:

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

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

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

v2 will stay (1)

doti (966971) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349697)

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


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

Well, I can tell one reason: to help developers be aware of these questions, and decide carefuly which license to use. The best one will depend on each situation. I understand Linus' concerns, he's pobrably right picking v2.

Just make it easy for everyone: (1)

mcc (14761) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349721)

"either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."

There, was that so hard?

How I really feel (1, Troll)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349783)

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

A lot of people have criticised Linus for the amount he has said about this...in my own mind, he hasn't gone nearly far enough. IMHO he needs to publically confront Stallman, and then move the kernel to an entirely new license that he himself is the author of.

The FSF and Stallman's radicalism are one of the main things that still alienate people from Linux. There very badly needs to be a parting of ways. Let the FSF and whoever else wants it continue developing the Hurd...The degree of rapidity with which Stallman would re-submerge back into total irrelevance after such an event would in itself be a powerful testament to his true level of significance.

To any of Stallman's supporters reading this who feel an urge to attempt to reprimand me as you have done in the past, let me simply say that I believe (and will continue to believe, your protests notwithstanding) that the only genuine reason why you are ideologically supportive of him is because you find it easier and more convenient to simply co-opt someone else's philosophy rather than using your own brains. Those of us who *aren't* afraid of engaging in genuine mental effort continue to see Stallman as we have always seen him...A fraud, and an individual far less enlightened than he has been able to lead more impressionable souls to believe.

Because of all of this, Linux does not need Stallman.

It does not need his false claims of credit for things that do not belong to him.

It does not need the division and conflict that he causes. (Which alienates newcomers primarily because the very issues Stallman creates conflict about are things about which they themselves do not care about at all)

It does not need the stigma of being associated with an uncompromising, radical, neo-Bolshevik extremist.

I have tried here over a period of years to continue to write what I believe to be the truth about this man, despite the best efforts of his followers to reprimand me, to shame me, and to do the same to others like me who have dared to express their opinions. You can lecture me, you can tell me how ignorant and foolish you think I am, but I know that I will continue to be vindicated. At nearly every speech and interview he gives, Stallman continues to dig his own grave...he continues to say things which portray him ever more as a radical, and ever more as someone who is genuinely deserving of the marginalisation that must inevitably come to him.

It is time for Richard Stallman to go.

Re:How I really feel (1)

bfree (113420) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350393)

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

Now to more serious matters, what is your agenda? Your post states that RMS is radical (and a fraud) and therefore should go away. You seem to only offer the idea that FSF/Stallman alienate people from Linux as a reason for it but why is people's alienation (or lack of it) from Linux important enough to you to suggest that someone should be silenced? Are you as extreme a Linu[xs] fan as the FSF/Gnu followers you denegrate (more impressionable souls).

Finally I would suggest that if you really feel you have something important to say try not to sound like a flamebaiting troll ("uncompromising, radical, neo-Bolshevik extremist").

Re:How I really feel (4, Insightful)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350453)

Okay, no.

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

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

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

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

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

Still feel that Linux doesn't need the GNU project or the FSF? Well, fine. Just don't call me an "uncompromising, radical, neo-Bolshevik extremist" anymore.

Re:How I really feel (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 7 years ago | (#16352405)

RMS has been villified in this way almost from the beginning. The one striking thing I notice, though, is that whenever I hear him speak, or read (verbatim) his writing, his words seem logical and reasonable to me. The villification apparently is always based on some misunderstanding or distortion of his ideas.

This seems to be one more chapter in the saga. I've been hearing buzzing about how horrible the GPLv3 is, and then when I actually look closely at the details, it appears perfectly innocuous. If I understand correctly, it just says that the keys necessary to run a program on its intended target device are considered to be part of the source code for the software. Well, duh. Could this possibly be more reasonable?

Entirely missing the point of the GPL (5, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16349837)

does the GPLv3 ... truly inhibit your control as a developer over your device?

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

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

You've missed the point. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16350363)

But many customers expect you, as the vendor, to still service that device, even after they've fucked it up by installing some unsupported firmware hacked together by a few college students who had little clue as to what they were doing.

Now, you could always refuse to offer such service, due to their modifications. But then they'll likely turn around and badmouth your company as often as is possible, saying that you refused to fix their broken device. Of course, they probably won't mention that it was their unsupported modification that caused the breakage. People do tend to ignore facts that hurt their egos. In the end, your company will get a bad reputation, even though you make your device accessible to customer modification.

The easiest thing to do may be to prevent said situation by disallowing for user modifications of the device you produce. The GPLv2 (and possibly GPLv3) may cause problems with doing this.

Question of authenticity (1)

cpuffer_hammer (31542) | more than 7 years ago | (#16350441)

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

The idea would be that voting machines, medical devices, and other items where the authenticity of the software is critical could indicate the authentcity of the software, while not preventing the software from running.

Would people argue that not being able to control the indicator with the users own software violated the GPL3?

What do you care about? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351387)

In my opinion, whether to stay with GPLv2 or move to GPLv3 boils down to the same thing as the question of whether to stay with a BSD license or move to the GPL: what things do you care about?

  1. Do you have a problem with a company taking your code, adding their patented methods to it, and using patent enforcement to block anybody from modifying and redistributing the patent-containing version, while they distribute it and make money off it?
  2. Do you care whether a hardware manufacturer takes your code, uses it in the firmware of their device, then prevents anyone else from modifying the firmware and using it in the device (think the Linksys Linux-based routers and the enhanced firmware for them)?
  3. Are you making a Web-delivered application, including "get the source code" functionality and want to prevent anyone from removing that functionality while still keeping your program under the GPL?
  4. Do you want to add any of the restrictions the GPLv3 talks about, without making your program non-GPL?
If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then you probably want to look at the GPLv3 because it may suit your needs better than GPLv2. If you answered "no" to all of them, GPLv2 will probably suit you just fine.

In the end it boils down to a question of what exactly you want to do with your program, and what things you want to allow or prevent. Once you know that, you look for the license that most closely matches those.

Note that this applies only to code you wrote yourself, when dealing with modifications to code somebody else wrote there's always the added constraint of what license terms they applied to their code. If they put it under GPLv3, you don't have a choice but to put your modified version under GPLv3 (or any later version, if they included that language). Similarly if they put their code under GPLv2 without the "or any later version" language.

The question is FUD (2, Interesting)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16351977)

The GPL3 does not, as I understand it require that you release your personal (or company) private key.

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

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

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

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