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FSF Releases Third Draft of GPLv3

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the complaining-to-the-right-people dept.

Software 390

johnsu01 writes "The Free Software Foundation has announced publication of the third discussion draft of the GNU General Public License Version 3. Because quite a few changes have been made since the previous draft and important new issues have surfaced, the drafting process has been extended and revised to encourage more feedback. The most significant changes in this draft include refinements in the "tivoization" provisions to eliminate unwanted side effects, revision of the patent provisions to prevent end-runs around the license, and further steps toward compatibility with other free software licenses. The FSF has also explicitly asked the community whether the new patent provisions should apply retroactively to the Microsoft-Novell deal."

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I thought it was out already?! (0, Redundant)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517027)

I thought GPL3 had been out for ages at this point. You mean it's still just a draft? Talk about the glacial speed and progress of committees. How long has GPL3 taken so far - and it's still not completed?

Re:I thought it was out already?! (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517151)

> I thought GPL3 had been out for ages at this point. You mean it's still just a draft? Talk about the glacial speed and progress of committees. How long has GPL3 taken so far - and it's still not completed?

Hey, release early, release often.

(Which seems as good a time as any to link to the UPS Debugger Song, better known as "Just one more hack and then I'll put it on the 'net" [kent.ac.uk] .)

Re:I thought it was out already?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517209)

No doubt you have misconceptions about a lot of things if all your knowledge comes from speedreading slashdot before a first post.

Re:I thought it was out already?! (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517327)

hmm: "Seumas (6865)"

You're kidding, right?

Re:I thought it was out already?! (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517441)

hmm: "Seumas (6865)"
You're kidding, right?


So? does a low slashdot id equate to a knowledgeable, reasoned poster? I think not.

Anyway, not everything on Slashdot is worth reading by everybody. Each person has his own areas of interest. As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy with the GPLv2 and I've decided to stick with it for my personal software releases, so I'm not really following what's happening with GPLv3. As a result, just like the GP, I didn't know it was still a draft either, and I too think it's surprising it's still not complete.

Re:I thought it was out already?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517457)

What's your point? That a low slashdot account number makes you a god? That 4-digit account numbers means you are incapable of interpreting things shallowly?

Re:I thought it was out already?! (4, Informative)

cronius (813431) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517319)

This is a not a program you can change if it's broken, this is a license that could possibly have far reaching effect on the nature of free software. The last license was released over 15 years ago, you want to make it right so that v3 can last another 15 years or more. The license is complicated, and quite political, there are no easy answers.

Pluss, they want to take their time so that anyone who wants can voice their oppinion and be heard. Why rush it? Let them take their time and make it right, the first time.

Re:I thought it was out already?! (0, Troll)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517543)

You mean, make it right, the third time...?

fdp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517033)

firs^H^H^H^H third draft post!

-ac

Re:fdp (1)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517067)

Well, a daft post anyway -- but certainly not the first.

would a retroactive change hold up in court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517043)

I kind of doubt it, but I'm no shyster.

There is no "retroactive" change (4, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517183)

There is no "retroactive" change. That comment refers to the last setence of the 2nd last paragraph of section 11. That sentence, which is in square brackets, would make the ban only apply to deals that are made starting from today, so that deal by Novell and MS would not trigger the ban on distributing the software.

So the public are asked: should Novell be banned from distributing GPLv3'd software?

And, imlicitly, I guess, Novell are asked: What assurances can you give us to win our trust so that giving you this exception is justified?

Re:There is no "retroactive" change (4, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517333)

Maybe, to assure everyone, Novell could adopt the slogan "Do No Evil". You people fell pretty hard for that one last time.

MOD PARENT UP! Insightful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517525)

OTOH, Apple are open bastardos, and they get away with everything too. Just try to critizise them and watch your karma go down faster than Ted Haggard on a rentboy.

Re:There is no "retroactive" change (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517797)

Your simplistic ideals about the way corporations should act will inevitably cause you to consider all of them "evil". This useless opinion does not mean that the rest of us have been fooled in some way; it means that you have no sense of proportion. Let me give you some examples:

Google tracking cookie: provably useful in search engine research, which Google needs to do. Privacy implications; evil rating 2.
Google choosing to do business in a country with inferior laws: Google doesn't control foreign laws, and doesn't have the option to go break them, but perhaps it can still offer a useful service. Evil rating 4.
Microsoft's open warfare on just about the entire PC software industry throughout the '90s: incredible damage to innovation, and no benefits for customers. Evil rating 90.
Apple ignoring geeks and bloggers in the design and pricing of its products: evil rating -2.
Iraq war: evil rating 3 billion.

Re:There is no "retroactive" change (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517945)

You imbecile, I've worked for Blackwater, so pretend to school me in proportion all you like while I stare out the window.

For the record, I don't think Google is evil. I don't think Microsoft is. Or even the recording industry. "You people", since you weren't paying attention during Ross Perot's campaign for President, means "everyone not like me".

And while I fully expect Google to further its business interests in any way it can inside the bounds of its attorney's interpretation of the law, many many Slashdotters seem to think that if a corporation doesn't stand up on its hind legs and fight for everyone's right to distribute copyrighted content as if it were their own, then they are evil.

Re:would a retroactive change hold up in court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517963)

Short Answer: NO

Long Answer: NO

Heads up their asses... (1, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517055)

The FSF has also explicitly asked the community whether the new patent provisions should apply retroactively to the Microsoft-Novell deal.


Apparently completely neglecting the fact that they have no legal basis on which to do that...

Somebody needs to remind Richard Stallman that Free stands for Freedom. He seems to have forgotten.

"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (4, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517123)

GPLv3 cannot be retroactive.

The question asked is whether the provisions that prevent deals such as the MS-Novell deal should have an explicit exclusion for that deal by Novell. i.e. such deals will be blocked in future, but should people who've already made such deals be prohibited from distributing GPLv3'd software?

That's the question asked.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

jcheezem (96097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517199)

They should be prevented for distributing updates to their existing distribution that are covered by GPLv3. In essence their distribution will be locked at the current level.

That is, of course, unless they want to dissolve their evil alliance...

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517355)


They should be prevented for distributing updates to their existing distribution that are covered by GPLv3. In essence their distribution will be locked at the current level.


Bzzzzzt.

Wrong, but thanks for playing.

In essence their distribution will be forked at the current level.

It will be interesting to see which fork is more vigorous. The commercially viable GPLv2 fork, or the pure-but-commercially-useless GPLv3 fork. No company (not Microsoft, not Novell, not IBM, probably not even RedHat) is going to be able to live with GPLv3.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (3, Informative)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517513)

I'm sure back in 1991, the GPLv2 looked like some commercially useless hippie fantasy also. Let's hope in 2020, we're not all enjoying a trusted platform world where we can't effectively modify the GPLv2 underpinning.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517275)

.e. such deals will be blocked in future, but should people who've already made such deals be prohibited from distributing GPLv3'd software?


That's *not* what it says, again because there is no legal grounds for that anywhere.

The provisions in section 11 say, essentially, that you can't transfer the grant of patent license to your customers when distributing GPL v3 software. That simply means that if the software violates the patent, then end user, not the distributor, is always responsible for the infringement. Not only is it completely counter to what they are trying to accomplish, but it wouldn't stand up and it couldn't prevent un-written guarantees of indemnity. It's part of the (seemingly unintentional due to short-sightedness) complete disregard for the user's freedoms in exchange for developer's freedoms.

It's ridiculous. If it were a Slashdot comment it would be moderated (-1, Troll).

slight correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517523)

>The provisions in section 11 say, essentially, that you can't transfer the grant of patent license to your customers when distributing GPL v3 software. That simply means that if the software violates the patent, then end user, not the distributor, is always responsible for the infringement.

Not so, it says that you cannot redistribute it in those cases.

The draft is more problematic in this area because any cross license that you signed that may include a patent in a GPL'd code base could prohibit you from redistributing the code base if you know about it.

Company A has 50 cross licenses with other companies and also is a linux distributor.
Company B has a cross license with A and relations turn sour between the two companies.
Company B informs 'unknowing' Company A that Company B's cross licensed Patent 999 is included in linux, thus forcing 'knowing' company A to either cease its redistribution operations or drop the cross license.

Company A could then attempt to quit the license agreement but that brings on a new set of problems.

Anyone feel free to correct this interpretation if you have a better one.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517571)

The provisions in section 11 say, essentially, that you can't transfer the grant of patent license to your customers when distributing GPL v3 software.

You don't have that right. You can transfer a patent license to your users as long as you do so to everyone. The point is that you can't create privileged groups like "people who have paid lots of money for protection" who have more rights than others.

I don't see how this is anti-user. It's an attempt to assure that everyone has a right to run the program.

Bruce

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (4, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517791)

You don't have that right. You can transfer a patent license to your users as long as you do so to everyone.


The fact of the matter is that under a deal like the Microsoft/Novell deal, the distributor of the GPLed software doesn't have the right to grant the protection to everyone. Thus the clause means they can't grant it to anybody. The only loser is the end-user of the software who has no hope of protection from patent suits if they want to use GPLv3 software.

I don't see how this is anti-user. It's an attempt to assure that everyone has a right to run the program.


It's an attempt, sure. It's a noble effort even, and I'm as opposed to software patents as the next developer who works on GPLed software for a living. But I think that it is a failed attempt.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (5, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518041)

It's an attempt, sure. It's a noble effort even, and I'm as opposed to software patents as the next developer who works on GPLed software for a living. But I think that it is a failed attempt.

It's based on the principle: we must all hang together or we will surely hang separately.

Bruce

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (3, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518087)

'The fact of the matter is that under a deal like the Microsoft/Novell deal, the distributor of the GPLed software doesn't have the right to grant the protection to everyone.'

True. That is the point.

'Thus the clause means they can't grant it to anybody. The only loser is the end-user of the software who has no hope of protection from patent suits if they want to use GPLv3 software.'

You make it sound like the result would be users open to litigation. The distributor can't just distribute the software to users anyway, they lose their right to distribute under the GPLv3. There will be no unprotected users because the patent encumbered modified version is barred from distribution to users. Rather than some users being protected and downstream users being screwed, there will be no users unless the vendor removes patent encumbered code or negotiates a deal that DOES allow them to pass patent protections downstream.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517977)

Incidentally, my comment about "freedom" was more in regards to the "anti-tivoization" clause than the patent stuff. It seems very much like a DRM mentality.

DRM is usually used to prevent users from running some software or using some data on open systems. This new language is designed to prevent users from using GPL software on closed systems. It may be the opposite result, but it's the same tactic. As long as the source is available I don't see what the big deal is about building closed devices with free software. The license doesn't place similar restrictions on systems built on other closed software (assuming that they are properly decoupled), which is an odd double standard. It seems to me like somebody is simply rubbed the wrong way by attempts to prevent them from re-purposing a loss-leader device.

To me, wanting your software to be free (as in freedom) and wanting to be able to limit how it is used at the same time seems like wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518113)

'The license doesn't place similar restrictions on systems built on other closed software (assuming that they are properly decoupled), which is an odd double standard.'

Yes it does. The new 'Installation Info' requirements would require the distributor to provide all the prerequisites including access to the closed software a modified open program would need to operate.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (0)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517379)

If that's what they meant, then obviously Novell really does have some say in the GPL 3 discussion. You don't spend years writing a new license with clauses to prevent certain types of agreements and then grandfather in a particular situation. The fact that they even asked this suggests the process is being infiltrated by folks with a contrary agenda, or being run by people who still don't "get it".

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (0)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517427)

the process is being infiltrated by folks with a contrary agenda, or being run by people who still don't "get it".


Oh, they "get it". It's just that you need to know what 'it' is. The GPLv3 is useless without adoption. If they don't make any concessions the GPLv3 will be still-born, and none of the author's agendas will be pushed. The GPLv3 (even more so than the GPLv2) is a cleverly worded attempt to control how users use GPLed software. It's just like DRM, but instead of technical measures they are using purely legal measures.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517531)

The GPLv3 (even more so than the GPLv2) is a cleverly worded attempt to control how users use GPLed software. It's just like DRM, but instead of technical measures they are using purely legal measures.

Could you back that up please?

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

init100 (915886) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517645)

The GPLv3 is useless without adoption. If they don't make any concessions the GPLv3 will be still-born, and none of the author's agendas will be pushed.

It will at least be adopted by the entire GNU project. If that still counts as being stillborn by your definition, I don't know.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517829)

Well that depends. How much of the GNU project will be forked at that time, and how many of the developers will follow the GPLv2 branches? Will the adoption rate of the new GPLv3 GNU projects be on par with the adoption rate of HURD?

This could be ok if Novell worked with FSF (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517545)

That question does not exist in isolation.

Maybe there is a way out of this where Novell could repent, make a promise which would nullify the harms it created, and then we could go back to working together.

Fixing the patent situation is necessary, but it is worth asking for suggestions for the most productive way of doing this.

This also answer feranick's question, below. Maybe Novell, or Novell+MS could make a 2nd deal which would make things ok again.

So FSF is looking for some inspiration, a little creative thinking. If you have any, they're asking for your comments.

Adoption? (5, Insightful)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517803)

I don't think they have to worry about adoption. They have all of the FSF-owned software going to GPL3, which means that you can't really make a distribution without accepting GPL3. And most likely things like Samba, MySQL, Solaris and other Sun offerings, essentially anything owned by people who don't want the trick that Novell and Microsoft pulled to apply to them. I think that will be a lot of people. In the end, it might even be the kernel team. But that will take 1 to 2 years to play out.

Bruce

True meaning of :"retroactively" (2, Insightful)

feranick (858651) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517397)

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

This means that the program you write is also covered by GPL3, as soon as it's out. I guess that is what retroactive means in this contest

Re:True meaning of :"retroactively" (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517749)

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

the issue is IF the [[ ]] portion is included Then yes when GPLv3 comes out all copies upgrade to v3 automatically
so we have 3 possible outcomes
1 the [[ ]] section is included -- the effective license becomes GPL v3
2 the next version comes out and changes the wording to the new GPL v3 version (change log entry license updated to gpl v 3 ...)
3 the [[ ]] section is not present -- license remains gpl 2 (most commonly with a date stamp)

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517665)

Well explained.

For those too lazy to read the entire current draft, here is the "Microsoft-Novell" paragraph:

You may not convey a covered work if you are a party to an arrangement with a third party that is in the business of distributing software, under which you make payment to the third party based on the extent of your activity of conveying the work, and under which the third party grants, to any of the parties who would receive the covered work from you, a patent license (a) in connection with copies of the covered work conveyed by you, and/or copies made from those, or (b) primarily for and in connection with specific products or compilations that contain the covered work, which license does not cover, prohibits the exercise of, or is conditioned on the non-exercise of any of the rights that are specifically granted to recipients of the covered work under this License[, unless you entered into that arrangement, or that patent license was granted, prior to March 28, 2007].

The bold part - my emphasis - is the 'retroactive, or not?' clause. As mentioned, 'retroactive' may mislead some people. Hopefully the explicit text will be of help. Basically, the GPL3 will prevent deals like the Microsoft-Novell one; the question is whether to grant Novell a specific exemption, by ignoring previous such deals. Novell would want that clause, I am guessing most of the Free Software community would not. My bet - the exemption won't be included.

Also worth reading is the "Tivoization" section (end of section 6), sometimes misleadingly referred to as the "DRM" section. The current language changed a lot since I last read a GPL3 draft, current terms include "User Product" and "Installation Information" - and it makes a lot more sense now, I think. Nice improvement.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517771)

It is retroactive where copyright holders have granted the right to licensees to apply a later version of the GPL if they so wish. For example, this is a commonly copied piece of boiler plate:

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


Suppose you have included this boilerplate in your code, then you look at the text of GPL3 and say "oh shit, I don't like that." You can strip this out if you like, but can you retroactively revoke permission from downstream recipients to use GPL3 if it so suits them? I think not. Not to what they got under the assurance they could use GPL3.

Since GPL 3 plugs loopholes, the worst case situation looks like this:

A: creates software, distributes under GPL2
B: modifies/incoprorates A's software and redistributes under GPL2
C: modifies/incorporates A and B's software but uses a GPL2 loophole to avoid further distribution. ...
B: Doesn't like what C is doing, so switches to GPL3.
A: Thinks what C is doing is OK, so eliminates option to distribute except under GPL2.
B: Cannot receive updates from A anymore, so maintains what he's received so far and distributes it under GPL3.
A: Cannot merge B's changes into his project anymore without accepting GPL3.
C: Maintains what he got from B under GPL2; may or may not be able to use some of A's patches.

The end result here is that A's work is in three code bases either way, but after B opts for GPL3 the code bases cannot share changes as freely without special arrangements.

Overall, this doesn't seem too horrible to me. I think the honorable thing to do is to do your best to comply with the creator's wishes; however I don't think people should be bound by a rule change after they made the decision.

Re:"retroactively" was just a bad choice of word (1)

Anthracks (532185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518117)

_Completely_ OT, but you have my new favorite Slashdot nickname. H4x0r Jim Duggan? Genius :)

Re:Heads up their asses...RMS (0, Troll)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517743)

RMS never understood what real freedom was all about in the first place. GNU Freedom is apparently freedom with a number of terms and conditions and is viral in nature. That my friend, is an oxymoron because freedom cannot have terms and conditions given that freedom is the lack of rules and regulations. I think hippies like RMS have confused "rights" with freedoms. The former is something that is granted by authority with or without limits whereas the latter springs out of a lack of regulation.

3rd-party Analysis? (3, Insightful)

Erioll (229536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517061)

Are there any articles about this from 3rd-party sources, and not the FSF themselves? I'd really like some analysis that isn't from those that produced it.

Re:3rd-party Analysis? (0, Offtopic)

duplicate-nickname (87112) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517129)

Here are some comments on the changes related to the MS/Novell deal:

http://www.madison.com/wsj/mad/top/index.php?ntid= 126454 [madison.com]

Re:3rd-party Analysis? (2, Informative)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517609)

Link [groklaw.net]

Read it over and over for the next 3 days.

Re:3rd-party Analysis? (3, Informative)

AlexGr (1054296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518095)

By Peter Galli (eWeek)
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2108409,00.as p [eweek.com]
The Free Software Foundation just published this morning a new draft of the last version of the General Public License, GPL3. This version takes aim specifically at the Microsoft and Novell agreement and seeks to prevent future similar agreements. Peter Galli/eWEEK reported on the news questioning if this new version will forever doom the license. "The draft has evolved over time, but GPLv3 is still clearly designed to build unscalable walls between open-source and proprietary software.

Can they do that? (5, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517083)

The FSF has also explicitly asked the community whether the new patent provisions should apply retroactively to the Microsoft-Novell deal

Is that really an option? Wouldn't that be changing the terms of the license (v2) after it was distributed and agreed to? I don't understand how they can affect the Novell deal without going through the trouble of upgrading Linux to GPLv3-- and even then Novell should be able to use old Linux released under GPLv2, no?

Re:Can they do that? (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517213)

> Wouldn't that be changing the terms of the license (v2) after it
> was distributed and agreed to?

GPL v2 has a clause that the licensed code (or whatever) is aviable on GPL v2 basis or any further version of GPL. Linux uses GPL v2 without this clause.

> I don't understand how they can affect the Novell deal without
> going through the trouble of upgrading Linux to GPLv3

Linus specificaly stated that he is against using GPL v3 in its current form. Also it would be hard to change Linux license since it does not contain the clause about next version. But Novell not only uses the kernel. The kernel would be nowhere without the GNU libc (basic C library), GNU gcc (compiler), GNU utils (basic utilities) and few others. And for all this GNU stuff FSF really owns it. So it would be hard (close to impossible - economically) for Novell to change all that (or fork from pre GPLv3 versions).

> and even then Novell should be able to use old Linux released under GPLv2, no?

As I've written above - Novell does not only use Linux, they use various other components to make a working system which openSUSE is.

Re:Can they do that? (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517629)

Linus specificaly stated that he is against using GPL v3 in its current form.

Actually, he probably meant draft-2 form. The current form didn't exist when he said that :-) .

Besides, specific objections are more helpful. Like he is against some DRM-related terms. I have gone over some of those terms here [technocrat.net] , you might find that useful.

Bruce

Re:Can they do that? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517251)

Yes. This will only apply to new software. Anything that Novell have rights to use will coninue to be licenced to them. They simply will not have the rights to redistibute anything that was distributed to them under GPL v3

Re:Can they do that? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517277)

'Is that really an option?'

Yes

'Wouldn't that be changing the terms of the license (v2) after it was distributed and agreed to?'

No. Novell would still be able to work with GPLv2 stuff. Just not GPLv3 stuff.

'I don't understand how they can affect the Novell deal without going through the trouble of upgrading Linux to GPLv3-'

Why? Nobody is really concerned about Novell borrowing patented Microsoft concepts to include into the Operating System. The areas of concern of Novell's contributions to projects like Samba, Wine, OpenOffice.org, etc. Basically anywhere that Novell contributes to something that interfaces with Microsoft protocols and formats. Normally Novell would carefully make sure that no functionality they add is patented by Microsoft. After the deal there is a good chance that Novell won't be so careful because they no longer have to fear legal action.

'even then Novell should be able to use old Linux released under GPLv2, no?'

As far as I know Linus intends to continue to use the GPLv2 anyway.

Re:Can they do that? (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517395)

You missed the part about "upgrading Linux to GPL3". Some people out there think Linus controls the license to all of what goes into a distribution, not just the kernel.

Everybody: Linux is just the kernel. Linus does not control anything else, and has less than absolute control over that.

Bruce

No, there's nothing retrospective (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517329)

No, retrospective changes are not an option, and no, FSF is not trying to do any. "Retrospective" was just a bad choice of words.

The decision is whether the patent deal provisions should apply to all such patent deals, including the Novell-MS one, or only patent deals that are made from now on.

So the question to the community is: Do Novell deserve to be let off?

And the question to Novell is: What promise can you make to earn the communities trust so that they could justify letting you off?

(I've also clarified this above.)

Re:Can they do that? (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517357)

Yes. What RMS was asking for was whether GPL3 code should include pernicious terms, from the start, that apply to people who had already committed a deal like the Novell-Microsoft one on GPL2 code but not yet on GPL3 code. The other option is to wait until said scoundrels commit the same deal on GPL3 code.

Bruce

Re:Can they do that? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517929)

Allowing exceptions is opening pandora's box. The unintended consequences could potentially be much worse than just the Micosoft/Novell deal. For instance, what happens if Novell gets bought out by IBM? What if they were bought out by someone like SCO?

Better not to make any specific grandfather clause in the license. If someone doesn't want to follow the license, they just don't use any of those applications/libraries.

So I no longer have to give up my private keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517095)

First off, a public service. The actual draft is located here [fsf.org] - it's linked as "comment on the GPLv3 draft" but it turns out it's the actual draft itself. (Apparently it's a weird web 2.0 interface to post and read comments, but it's the text of the draft.)

Secondly, does any know if this removes the provision that I have to give up my private encryption keys if I use GPLv3 software?

And finally, it's sad to note that the GPLv3 is now about as full of legalese as your typical Microsoft EULA. I have no idea what it's saying any more. Kind of sad that he live in such an age that licenses that the end-user can understand can't be used because lawyers will poke them full of holes.

Re:So I no longer have to give up my private keys? (4, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517259)

You never had to give up your keys. That's just FUD. I've written a longer explanation here [technocrat.net] .

Bruce

Oops, wrong URL. (3, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517297)

Oh darn, sorry wrong URL. Try here [technocrat.net]

Re:So I no longer have to give up my private keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517287)

I think it is kind of sad that all that legalese has been added mostly to limit the freedom of others, by an organization named Free Software Foundation, headed by a guy who claims to love freedom.

False flagging hippocrites.

Re:So I no longer have to give up my private keys? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517317)

Secondly, does any know if this removes the provision that I have to give up my private encryption keys if I use GPLv3 software?
No, as such a provision never existed.

Re:So I no longer have to give up my private keys? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517343)

'Secondly, does any know if this removes the provision that I have to give up my private encryption keys if I use GPLv3 software?'

If by 'my private encryption keys' you mean encyption keys used to restrict the software that can be run on an operating system or embedded device then I hope not. As far as I know those are the only keys that any draft of the GPLv3 ever required disclosed.

My question is this... (1)

robyannetta (820243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517107)

Do we REALLY need a GPL v3?

Why GPL v3? (4, Insightful)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517215)

Do we REALLY need a GPL v3?
Probably - v2 was written in a time in which the scenario of the GPL being tested in court was rather more remote. One of the important reasons for v3 is to further lawyer-proof the license.

The question most people seem to be wondering about with v3 is whether it's too ambitious - seeking to prevent abuses of the license in ways some disagree with. Personally, I haven't made up my mind, exactly. I think the underlying premise of the GPL is great - that it is a license that allows free usage in a way that encourages more free usage - and GPL3 is taking that further, by trying to keep people from taking advantage of free software while simultaneously using patents against it, by trying to prevent people from using free software to create devices that restrict users' freedom (the idea being, that if someone wants a big DRM box, they can write the code themselves)

The flip side, of course, is at some point free software has to be something you give. At some point you need to let go, and let people use the stuff. That's why you wrote it, right? So people would use it. This is the sticking point for me - I like what GPLv3 is trying to accomplish - I even want to support what it's trying to accomplish - but sometimes, if you want your gift of software to be really useful, you need to stop attaching quite so many strings to it.

But all that aside, the real problem with the GPL v3 is that new clause that RMS will personally strangle a kitten every time someone uses GPLv3 code in a DRM box. We've got to see about getting that clause removed.

Re:Why GPL v3? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517661)

but sometimes, if you want your gift of software to be really useful, you need to stop attaching quite so many strings to it.

Exactly, and that's what other licenses are for. The GPL is definitely positioned as the Free as in "Stays Free" license; less restrictive licenses are necessary for many situations, but that doesn't mean that something as strong as the GPL isn't needed (especially for a lot of end-user software).

Isn't that whole mantra of Free software: choice?

Re:My question is this... (1)

bukzor (1080121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517239)

Silly question. There's always room for improvements, and the FSF is just following up on the improvements that they can see. Although people are focusing on the tivoisation and Novell things, the main thrust of the upgrade is to make the language clearer and more applicable internationally, as far as i can tell. IANAL Do we REALLY need a Linux 2.7?

Re:My question is this... (0, Flamebait)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518077)

Answer: If you're anti-Microsoft and anti-corporation, yes.

If you just want to have linux as it is now, available to everyone, no.

GPLV3 is slowly becoming "Stallman's opinions on everything" and it seems to be that he's not the person to write GPLs as he is on the extreme end of most things.

Retroactively? (4, Insightful)

Mr.Ned (79679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517165)

"The FSF has also explicitly asked the community whether the new patent provisions should apply retroactively to the Microsoft-Novell deal."

I didn't see that in any of TFAs; does anyone have a link?

Re:Retroactively? (1)

roscivs (923777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517351)

Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing that any license could do to prevent the following scenario:

1) Microsoft asserts that Linux violates its patents
2) Microsoft fails to provide any evidence or back up this claim in court
3) Microsoft signs an agreement with Novell stating that they covenant not to sue any users of Novell's brand of Linux

This sort of evil FUD will work pretty much no matter what, and it's pretty much what's happening now. There's absolutely nothing that I can think of that would legally stop this.

Re:Retroactively? (2, Informative)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517499)

While you can't prevent Microsoft from doing this, you can use terms of your license to prevent Microsoft and its partners from distributing your software once they do this. And in this case, MS has a written covenant to the Novell customer, which is ample evidence to show a judge. In addition, the actual terms of the agreement will come out with the 10-Q report for Novell, and that's evidence too.

Bruce

Re:Retroactively? (1)

roscivs (923777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517747)

While you can't prevent Microsoft from doing this, you can use terms of your license to prevent Microsoft and its partners from distributing your software once they do this. And in this case, MS has a written covenant to the Novell customer, which is ample evidence to show a judge. In addition, the actual terms of the agreement will come out with the 10-Q report for Novell, and that's evidence too.


I disagree. The terms of the license might be able to prevent Microsoft from distributing your software, but they can't put any restrictions on the benefactor of Microsoft's covenant without devolving into silliness.

For example, Microsoft could then say, "Ok, we covenant to not sue any RedHat Linux users." And then RedHat would be suddenly unable to distribute GPLv3 code?! This seems more than a little ridiculous.

How can you prevent one without preventing the other? You could say that it's different because the covenant was part of an agreement that Novell signed, but that's certainly not necessary to the business deal. Microsoft could simply covenant not to sue Novell Linux users without Novell ever signing anything, and the FUD factor against Linux would be the same as it is today.

Re:Retroactively? (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517991)

I disagree. The terms of the license might be able to prevent Microsoft from distributing your software, but they can't put any restrictions on the benefactor of Microsoft's covenant without devolving into silliness.

Actually, they really could, as long as there is a contract or agrement to shield users between the party making the covenant to users and the partner who is doing the distribution of GPL3 software.

But in this case it's even more clear, since Microsoft is distributing coupons that can be redeemed specifically for a copy of the software. That involves Microsoft directly in distribution. They made a legal goof there.

Bruce

Re:Retroactively? (1)

roscivs (923777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518131)

Actually, they really could, as long as there is a contract or agrement to shield users between the party making the covenant to users and the partner who is doing the distribution of GPL3 software.

What's the purpose if it happens to block the means of the current shadiness, but there are plenty of other means left unblocked that will achieve the same ends? In other words, once the GPLv3 is released, Microsoft can just stop doing any distribution themselves (that hardly affects their position), and make the covenant not to sue without Novell being a signatory to it. Their position isn't affected at all. What's the use in that?

It seems to me that the current language of the GPL ("if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program") is sufficient for purposes of protecting the freedom of GPL'd code.

(Thanks for the responses, by the way. It's good to get more information on these questions I've had.)

preventing distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517901)

>While you can't prevent Microsoft from doing this, you can use terms of your license to prevent Microsoft and its partners from distributing your software once they do this.

What about the following scenario?

Company D has 100000 patents and knows that they can stick it to MS.
Company D therefore knows that they can at low risk indemnify their Linux customer base if MS were to assert patents.

This indemnification would be in effect functioning similarly to an agreement not to enforce. But I do not see any indemnification clause (prohibiting distribution) in the draft (nor do I know if the ramifications of including such an indemnification clause would be prohibitive)

"For purposes of the following three paragraphs, a "patent license" means a patent license, a covenant not to bring suit for patent infringement, or any other express agreement or commitment, however denominated, not to enforce a patent."

Sadly... (2, Funny)

Infinityis (807294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517191)

I remember when freedom wasn't quite so complicated and obfuscated. With things getting so verbose and convoluted, more people will probably eschew things like GPLv3 just to keep things unpretentious.

Re:Sadly... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517359)

Freedom under the GPL has always been complicated, because it means free-as-in-FSF. As I've observed before, that isn't the same as "free" by any English language definition, which would be more akin to a BSD-style licence.

The problem we're now seeing is that the FSF is redefining its own concept of free to match whatever behaviour it currently perceives to be in conflict with the ethics of those driving it. They're welcome to do that, of course, but it's beyond me why anyone else (including those who distribute their code under GPL2) would care, unless their personal ethics happen to match the FSF's exactly. Then again, I also rather suspect that a lot of people who distribute their code under the GPL do so because it's trendy in certain circles rather than because they've ever read the fine print anyway, so I'm already doomed to unhealthy karma oblivion. ;-)

Re:Sadly... (1)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517581)

> FSF is redefining its own concept of free to match whatever behaviour it currently perceives to be in conflict with the ethics of those driving it.

Well put. I think I'm going to use that as my sig.

How h FSF-free changed meaning? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517903)

Look at the four essential freedoms. They are ALL about USER freedoms. The programmer who wrote the code has all the freedoms they need: choose the license you want.

What other license looks for the users' freedoms? None. This has not changed. Just YOUR perception of what "FSF-free" means. You thought it meant YOUR freedom with someone else's code. Now you know different.

Good for lawyers (2, Funny)

kroepoek (1078915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517201)

With such a long license, and so many companies now using free software in their products, I bet some will follow these simple steps:

1. Open a law firm
2. Interpret the GNU GPLv3
3...Profit!

simplicity is good for everyone, and v3 is simpler (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517405)

Clarity is good for everyone. The text is longer than v2, but it is more explicit and should be clearer. If you see a way to make it clearer, please submit a comment.

Here's some suggestions for how to increase simplicity [fsfe.org] .

Re:simplicity is good for everyone, and v3 is simp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517663)

Do you have any suggestions for how to make it actually allow more freedom than v2, rather than the less it currently allows?


You and Bruce seem to have hit this submission fast and hard. Out there doing the GPL v3 promo leg work. Consider that if the changes to the license were to make it legally stronger, or more clearly define its provisions, you wouldn't have to be doing this. Everyone in the community would accept it as an improvement. As it is, the thing is just progessing more and more toward handcuffing users to Stallman's personal social agendas.

Good for you guys. I'm just happy I was able to use this software and contribute where I could while it was actually about freedom and furthering the advancement of computer software, in the days before you drove it all into the ground. Now that it is all about restricting who does what with what I think I'll just go somewhere else.

BSD never looked so good.

This is great news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517205)


the drafting process has been extended and revised


It should be ready in time for the Hurd.

What happened to web apps? (3, Insightful)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517263)

I only skimmed the draft, but it seems in this whole Novel-Microsoft thing, the part about web-apps has been lost. There was talk about getting this base covered.

Right now if I write some code and GPL it someone can take that code, use it in the regular ways that is permitted by the GPL, but then instead of distributing it, they turn it into a web-app and charge people to use the code. Since they are not technically distributing the binaries, they don't have to release the code, whether they've modified it or not.

Re:What happened to web apps? (4, Insightful)

cyclop (780354) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517535)

And I've never understood why this is bad.

A web app on a website is a source code usage, not distribution. The code runs on the web server and never leaves it. So why should I bother about it? In what sense it's different from me modifying a GPL program on my machine only and having my friends using it on my machine?

Re:What happened to web apps? (1)

MajroMax (112652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517763)

A web app on a website is a source code usage, not distribution. The code runs on the web server and never leaves it.

There's little difference between running a binary on your computer and interacting with it and running a binary on someone else's computer and interacting with it. A web-app is no different than an app displayed through remote X-Windows. If you want to get legalistic, I could argue that putting the web app on the website isn't usage so much as performance.

In addition, the latest drafts that I'd seen only require source-code downloading if the original software had a comparable feature. This isn't putting new requirements on web-apps, it's preventing people from taking away rights that the original author had granted to the viewer.

Re:What happened to web apps? (3, Interesting)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518145)

"A web app on a website is a source code usage, not distribution."

What's the real difference? Think of it as "virtual" distribution via the Web.
GPL was written before the rise of web apps, but as web apps have become more and more used, GPL must change with the times. Imagine that in the next 5 years, 80% of apps are web apps, and GPL doesn't cover them. GPL is pretty much useless then. Imagine that in the future, Microsoft makes a web version of Office. There'd be nothing preventing them from using GPL code in their product without releasing their own code. Hell, Google is probably doing this as we speak. (I know you probably don't care about Google violating the spirit of GPL, but the Microsoft scenario should convince you that this should be fixed.)

Re:What happened to web apps? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517539)

The web application issue is still being addressed, but with a different strategy. Section 13 in the latest draft makes reference to version 2 of the Affero GPL. This isn't out yet; we're planning on publicly drafting it as we have with all our other licenses, and we're hoping to announce more concrete plans soon. The Affero GPL will address web applications as it always has, and the new clause allows for some compatibility between GPL and the Affero GPL, once they're both released.

Hope this helps,

-- Brett Smith, FSF Licensing Compliance Engineer

Agenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517269)

The FSF has taken the Novell/M$ deal and created a way for those who hate M$(which includes Stallman and the FSF) and are trying to assert their dominance in the penis envy race because companies like Novell and TiVo have the unmitigated gall to find ways around the "spirit" of the current version of the GPL, v2, which has served us well for the last 15+ years. While the FSF and Stallman have helped create the systems we have now, their hatred of the fact that they are no longer in control will be the downfall of a lot of systems if this idiotic draft is allowed to stand with these provisions. Thanx for nothing new FSF!

But... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517393)

In Soviet russia, the source licenses the developer.

Reaction to GPLv3 (5, Interesting)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517517)

I'm curious how the adoption of GPLv3 will play out. The kernel is going to stay at v2 for the foreseeable future, so the new version will mostly apply to the GNU tool chain. There are enough companies out there who like the loopholes of v2 (TiVo, SuSE, etc.), will they maintain a fork of the code that stays licensed under v2, perhaps individually, perhaps as a collective effort amongst those with reason to balk at v3? Another possibility is to just keep on using versions of the code that were released under v2. Some things, like /bin/ls, really don't change enough that everyone will feel compelled to step up to the latest version. On the other hand, if the GNU software the company depends on is gcc, staying at a particular release and not having support for new processor technologies in your compiler would start to become problematic after a while.

So, how do you guys think the companies for whom adopting GPLv3 would eliminate loopholes will react to the new license? Somehow, I don't think they will just all go, "Oh, so that's how you intended Free Software to be used. We will play nicely from now on."

Re:Reaction to GPLv3 (3, Interesting)

Bruce Perens (3872) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517737)

Tivo could live with a GPL3 kernel if they wanted to. I've explained how here [technocrat.net] . Novell? The big problems for them will be GNU LIBC, which everything uses, Samba, and many other programs. They run the risk of either falling behind or having their expenses jump significantly. But I hear the Linux business is up for sale, anyway, and that they will eventually break the company into several pieces. That's why it's called SuSE now, instead of "Novell Linux".

Bruce

Quick issues (3, Interesting)

gclef (96311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517637)

A few thoughts from a *very* quick read of it:
  * They mention you need to supply "Corresponding Source" (eg, signing keys for Tivo-ization) to all "User Products" but defined "user Products" to basically mean anything that goes in the home. So business-style rack appliances that are not designed for the home can Tivo-ize at their leisure. This is apparently intentional, according to the rationale pdf. This seems....messy, and a huge potential hole.

  * Moving away from calling out specific parts of the US code for the anti-DMCA parts and over to calling out the WIPO is a bit better for international users of the GPL, but they then call out US code again in the definition of a home device. This is problematic. Defining a for-the-home product in other countries will be difficult. (What do we do for this license in countries that have no such distinction?) They seem to acknowledge this in the rationale PDF, and say that they're evaluating it.

(Personally, I think these two issues are just the beginning of the uglyness with the anti-tivo-ization stuff, and they'll eventually be forced to drop these clauses in the name of sanity, but that's just me.)

  * The anti-Novell portion is *incredibly* confusing. There has to be a better way to say that. It seems to be written just to target Novell and the specific thing Novell is doing, which I think invites problems. For example, what if the third party you make a deal with isn't in the business of distributing software? (such as the patent/IP houses that exist all over the place) Is a "we won't sue your customers" deal okay then? This section needs a *lot* more thought.

SHOUTING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517739)

It's interesting that the all-caps warranty section has been restored, Moglen said in earlier draft discussions that they were going to leave that out as there was no reason in U.S. law for warranty sections being in all-caps, they've sort of just always been that way.

I wonder what changed their minds.

Freedom Means People Do Things You Don't Like (2, Interesting)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18517865)

My freedom ends at the tip of your nose. Stallman's intentions for greater freedom may be good. But I have the feeling he wants to control the behavior of other people.

Real freedom is allowing people to use free software for good or ill.

where are my royalties .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518025)

'My freedom ends at the tip of your nose'

How would you feel if I demanded royalty payments for your Linux desktop that you didn't buy from me.

go,4t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18517887)

dev3lopers [goat.cx]

Too complex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18518001)

There's a reason there were only 10 commandments. This draft is unclear and difficult to think through, I support the intent here but would not be applying this to my code in it's current form.

Take the termination clause for example; why make a special case for first infringements? The GPL is about compliance, we expect compliance. The copyright holder should positively renew a GPL license that has been rendered void through infringement, we don't need special conditions in the license text. System libs are another grey area that this draft makes a mess trying to clarify.

In the meantime, ffmpeg violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18518073)

http://lists.mplayerhq.hu/pipermail/ffmpeg-devel/2 007-March/026102.html [mplayerhq.hu]

It seems that these fellows (http://www.mp4converter.net/dvd-to-appletv-conver ter-mac.html), took ffmpef, renamed it to avc, put it in a nice box and are making money on the work of others without even giving credit where it's due.

Quick summary of the changes (1)

theendlessnow (516149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518109)

1. This license can be applied except in circumstances where:

a. Your company's name starts with 'N' and/or ends in 'll' (e.g. Novell).

b. Your company is a gross misspelling of the word "novel" (e.g. Novell).

c. Your company's logo is a single letter (e.g. a red 'N').

d. An agent of your company has been within 20 feet of anyone working for a company within a 10 mile radius of Seattle, WA (e.g. Redmond).

e. Half of your employees do not remember the name of your current CEO.

You may apply for a special exemption specifically from Richard Stallman of the FSF, but only if he's wearing a disk platter on his head at the time of the application.

2. If you own a patent, deal with patents, or can even spell the word patent, you may not use this license at all, in fact you are not to read it... stop reading here.... (thanks).

3. If you use cryptography, encryption or anything else related to digital rights management, you cannot use the terms of this license unless you give us the keys for your access.

4. XEmacs sucks. It just does. They used my code without permission. They're evil. Don't use it.
Note: #4 may be the most controversial part of GPLv3.
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