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FSF Releases Fourth and Final Draft of GPLv3

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the wading-through-legalese dept.

GNU is Not Unix 237

An anonymous reader writes "The most notable changes found in this latest draft include making GPLv3 compatible with version 2.0 of the Apache license, ensuring that distributors who make discriminatory patent deals after March 28 may not convey software under GPLv3, adding terms to clarify how users can contract for private modification of free software or for a data center to run it for them, and replacing the previous reference to a U.S. consumer protection statute with explicit criteria for greater clarity outside the United States. The draft also does not prohibit Novell from distributing software under GPLv3 'because the patent protection they arranged with Microsoft last November can be turned against Microsoft to the community's benefit,' FSF executive director Peter Brown said."

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Key event in the Microsoft-Linux war (4, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349745)

GPLv3 is a key event in Microsoft's war to divide and conquer the Free Software / Open Source community [digitalmajority.org] . Most of the Linux industry seems to be betting on GPLv3 to put an end to Microsoft's patent claims. My question is simply: is Microsoft sitting around scratching its head, or has it already started on the next level of play...? Are we going to see those 235 patents handed over to the community, or are we instead going to see "IP Bridges" as the next great Product to come out of Redmond?

Re:Key event in the Microsoft-Linux war (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349771)

If "IP bridges" is anything like M$ Minesweeper I'm getting Vista...

But in seriousness I think you have a point...
Even if this stops a great number of attacks by Microsoft they'll just either figure out a loophole, or just try screw us over another way

That pessimism isn't justified (3, Insightful)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350419)

I don't see the justification for that sort of pessimism. Of course they'll fight back as we continue to eat their lunch. That doesn't mean we haven't eaten anything or that we should stop eating now.

Re:Key event in the Microsoft-Linux war (3, Insightful)

HoosierPeschke (887362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349799)

I don't think the "IP Bridges" is plausible. As most have said, if Microsoft were to validly claim IP infringement, most if not all projects would revamp and/or code around the infringement.

Maybe a bit too optimistic (3, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350465)

That can work sometimes, but not always.

If we have an application with round buttons and they turn out to be patented, we just make ours square. That's ok because having round buttons is not the purpose of the application. But if we have an application whose purpose is to read and edit MS Word documents, and a patent says we are not allowed to do that, then that application is kaput.

Here are some good explanations of how the patent problem plays out and what we can and can't do about it: http://fsfe.org/transcripts#patents [fsfe.org] .

"IP Bridges" (2, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349857)

Which, like that of Stevens, cost a lot without exactly going anywhere useful, no doubt.

War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349913)

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:War (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349991)

Pronunciation: 'wor
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English werre, from Anglo-French werre, guerre, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German werra strife; akin to Old High German werran to confuse
1 a (1) : a state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations (2) : a period of such armed conflict (3) : STATE OF WAR b : the art or science of warfare c (1) obsolete : weapons and equipment for war (2) archaic : soldiers armed and equipped for war
2 a : a state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism b : a struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end c : VARIANCE, ODDS 3

Re:Key event in the Microsoft-Linux war (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350101)

My question is simply: is Microsoft sitting around scratching its head, or has it already started on the next level of play...?


Yes. Microsoft has developed a culture that almost exactly matches that of one of its principle founders, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Bill Gates. As Gates did while playing poker in college, Microsoft always has more than one strategy that it's pursuing. There's almost certainly plan B, and its not going to be pretty.

Are we going to see those 235 patents handed over to the community


No. The '235 patents' are far more valuable if they aren't revealed than if they are. Microsoft knows that if these patents were listed, then various groups including the FSF, EFF, PubPat and others will be challenging the validity of those patents in court. The FAT patent is just the start...

or are we instead going to see "IP Bridges" as the next great Product to come out of Redmond?


The 'next great product' to come out of Redmond will almost certainly be something to either further discredit Free Software / Open Source / Linux. Anything to drive people to Windows and away from Linux and GPL software in particular.

Re:Key event in the Microsoft-Linux war (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350259)

"As Gates did while playing poker in college, Microsoft always has more than one strategy that it's pursuing. There's almost certainly plan B, and its not going to be pretty."

Microsoft is playing that "You break our patents" game for a lot of time, with less than ideal results... That lets me wondering if there really is a plan B. Maybe there is no other possible plan for choosing now, since if there was one, we could trust Microsoft to find it.

When you try to win against a huge and very adaptative competitor (that is FOSS), you eventualy get out of cards. It is too early to be certain, but Microsotf may be on that situation.

Re:Key event in the Microsoft-Linux war (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350183)

If I recall correctly those 235 patents do not all belong to MS. They just like to throw that number around because it sounds scary to people who have to worry about their company getting sued. My understanding is that a lot of the patents in the 235 are owned by FLOSS friendly companies like IBM.

But, call me cynical, I can't see MS at any point giving up the one's they do have. As other posters have mentioned they are more valuable as FUD material then anything else.

Fingers crossed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349753)

Is the GPL going to play catch-up with all the [il]legal deals that the big bad companies make? I hope not.

It will do its job (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350517)

Only when doing so it necessary in order for the GPL to do it's job.

That's fishy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349763)

Ok, so it's not worded specifically towards the MS-Novell deal, but the date is in there to exempt that deal because it can be turned against Microsoft if it is allowed. That's bad. The GPLv3 is going to be with us for decades. It doesn't feel right to have that one-off thinking in there.

Can Someone Clarify? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349767)

'because the patent protection they arranged with Microsoft last November can be turned against Microsoft to the community's benefit,'
This is true in many cases, but didn't the "protection" assurance Microsoft gave Novell explicitly deny protection for competing technology (ergo OpenOffice, OpenXchange, I would guess Thunderbird and Firefox too possibly?) Now while I understand that the Mozilla products are under the Mozilla license, doesn't that mean that both OpenXchange, OpenOffice are still in the "legal grey area"?

I am not clear what they are talking about, being able to turn these protections around to the FOSS movement's advantage? Frankly, so long as OpenOffice is at risk, I would say there is still quite a bit of risk, since most end users are more concerned with being able to use office/e-mail then about network backends (such as Novell netware).

Can anyone give some clarification?

Bleh (3, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349769)

More politics.. Who really need it? Really don't people have anything better to to? Like, ACTUALLY writtig software?

"Politics" are a necessary evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349807)

People want guarantees that their software is not closed up by someone else; in other words, that it stays open and that all descendant software stays open too. For that people need a certain amount of regulation. Some people choose to call that politics, but regardless of its name, it's a necessity nonetheless. A bit like the way it's impossible to maintain a free society without some form of government. Everyone hates it, but nonetheless agrees we need it.

Re:Bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349827)

They probably would if politics (read patents) wasn't in the way. Who would write software that no one will be able to legally use? Who would write software and then have to pay a heavy fine on top?

Re:Bleh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349845)

Yes, lawyers have other things to do, like hunting down programmers who violate one of Microsoft patents.

Of course, we can ignore this and go back to coding. Until we're all put in jail that is.

Re:Bleh (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349895)

Programmers hate politics like this. The recent emphasis on it is simply an attempt to make it go away. Sadly, that never works and instead only gets the participants mired in politics for the rest of their lives.

I used to be extremely anti-GPL. Now I'm just slightly anti-GPL, and actually like the LGPL. In a politics-free world, BSD is pretty much the 'obvious' license for a FOSS project. It's just too bad that that'll never be the way the world works.

RMS is far from being my hero, but his tactics and efforts are necessary to balance out a world that has been overrun with greed. There's no other way to explain taking someone else's work and using it for your own ends without even giving credit. (Greed isn't just about money, it's about having things, including fame.)

And because I can't resist, I've reworded your post:

More whinging.. Who really need it? Really don't people have anything better to to? Like, ACTUALLY doing something?

Re:Bleh (2, Insightful)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350175)

In a politics-free world, BSD is pretty much the 'obvious' license for a FOSS project.

In a politics-free world, there wouldn't be any licenses because there would be no copyright law to make them enforcable.

Which, of course, boils down to a BSD-like situation except it's unclear how much more secrecy this would lead to. I'm guessing not much.

Disagree (1)

Peaker (72084) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350739)

It boils down to all software being BSD-like in its distribution restrictions (i.e: No restrictions). However the situation will be much closer to a GPL world one, because the incentive to create closed software that you cannot sell will approximate nil. Closed-source's single advantage over opensource - its ability to raise disproportionate funds for its development will disappear and opensource software will simply outachieve it.

Re:Disagree (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350839)

It boils down to all software being BSD-like in its distribution restrictions (i.e: No restrictions). However the situation will be much closer to a GPL world one, because the incentive to create closed software that you cannot sell will approximate nil.

The single most interesting distinction between GPL and BSD (imo) is that with GPL you cannot distribute a modified binary without also offering your modified source. With this in mind, a copyright-free world would be BSD-like in that someone could withhold their source. This would probably see some (possibly niche) use in people adding useful-but-not-obvious algorithms to common software and then milking these proprietary additions for the weeks, months or years it would take open source to catch up.

Of course, I'm really splitting hairs here :-)

Re:Bleh (1)

perturbed1 (1086477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350631)

I agree with you. I am a BSD-supporter and used to be anti-GPL since thought it was motivated by paranoi. But now, sadly I see that it is almost a necessary means to protect the FOSS environment. What I am wondering is how fast GPLv3 will be adopted by large players. Any ideas? Will Torvalds embrace it immediately? I hope so...

Re:Bleh (4, Insightful)

ArwynH (883499) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350009)

Considering the people writing the GPL3 are mostly lawyers, no, they don't.

And they can leave the Software writing to us Programmers, thank you.

Re:Bleh (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350665)

Like BSD? They didn't about legal issues, just steamed ahead and coded.. They were stuck in legal limbo for years, and the FUD lingered for years after that.

How to scare away business (2, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349819)

So, the draft removes the right to prosecute someone for cracking protected content? Businesses will love that extra complication for prosecuting hackers or disgruntled employees.

The patent thing is going to backfire big time. It's going to scare away businesses who would either stand to lose huge amounts of money or because they're unsure about whether it would invalidate patents they already have (what if the software is designed specifically to perform a piece of CAM in a way that's patented? Would that patent become invalid because of this licence? Would patented business practices that use OSS be threatened? Why risk losing millions in licence fees when you could spend a few hundred thousand and fit your systems with software you know doesn't rob you these rights?

For a licence that was supposed to be simple and easy to understand, section 11 makes for a hard read, even for geeks and I imagine lawyers will love the the potential vague nature of those terms. God knows what a layperson would think when reading it.

Re:How to scare away business (2, Interesting)

the_enigma_1983 (742079) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349879)

So, the draft removes the right to prosecute someone for cracking protected content? Businesses will love that extra complication for prosecuting hackers or disgruntled employees.
The way I see it, they can no longer prosecute for simply cracking protected content. I see this as being akin to not being able to prosecute for jimmying open a lock. You can still be prosecuted for breaking and entering, for trespassing, for stealing. So these hackers, or disgruntled employees, can no longer be prosecuted for cracking protected content, but surely they can be prosecuted for the cyber equivalent of breaking and entering/trespassing/stealing? I'm no lawyer. Hell, I'm not even American so I have no idea how your legal system works, or what the exact laws are. This is just how I see the interpretation.

Re:How to scare away business (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349939)

There are laws to prevent unauthorised access in most countries, however there's also a lot of things which rely on the fact that a file is encrypted for legal protection as the file has to be publically available for a system to work. Actually using this information (say if it's user/pass combinations or some privacy data on it's users) to do something would be illegal but if you've removed all the protections against the content through the GPLv3, I could see if being possible to post any info from cracked files on a website with it being a legal grey area.

GPL's goal is freedom, not business friendlyness (4, Informative)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350055)

The goal of the GPL, the GNU project, and the FSF has always been software freedom, first and foremost. If a business finds no value in making changes to the way they do things to reap the benefits that Free Software brings, then they are free to not use any GPL'ed software. It's as simple as that.

That said, most of the big businesses currently interested in Free Software, including some which have HUGE patent stores, like IBM have actually participated in the drafting of the GPLv3.

Re:GPL's goal is freedom, not business friendlynes (0)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350177)

The trouble is, you need business to be on board. There's no way a group of separated individuals working in their own time would be able to produce a large project that rivals something produced by dedicated teams from Microsoft, Adobe or any other large corporation. At some point all the large major OSS applications have had the input and time from a big business to improve on them, particularly in the case of simple user interfaces which are all too often a stumbling block for OSS.

Re:GPL's goal is freedom, not business friendlynes (5, Informative)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350343)

business *is* on board. IBM, Nokia, Sun, and many others participated in the drafting of the GPLv3. They probably don't care much about the whole "freedom" aspect, but they find that Free Software is great for their bottom line.

My point is that the authors of the license care more about end-user freedom than about whether XYZ inc. will like the license or not. And that is as it should be.

Re:GPL's goal is freedom, not business friendlynes (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19351029)

If I had point, I'd mod you up.

It's important for people to realize that the GPL3 wasn't drafted in isolation. It was open and had a wide variety of participants, several with immense legal resources that helped guide the drafting.

Re:How to scare away business (1)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350119)

what if the software is designed specifically to perform a piece of CAM in a way that's patented? Would that patent become invalid because of this licence?

No. What would happen would be that the party in question could not legally use the GPLv3 as an excuse to use GPL software and so might be in breach of copyright. This is something they would have to dish out with whoever owns the copyright on the sofware in question (FSF or whoever). The most obvious approach for the infringer (if they're in love with their patents) would be to toss out the GPL software and write/purchase/obtain a replacement.

Re:How to scare away business (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19351063)

Actually, if they were the owner of the patent, then by releasing GPL3'd code that implements it, they would be granting a patent license to use the patented method in the code or in derivations of the code.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:How to scare away business (4, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350479)

what if the software is designed specifically to perform a piece of CAM in a way that's patented? Would that patent become invalid because of this licence?

The licence doesn't render your patents invalid. It simply prevents you from suing anyone for patent infringement if the code that infringes your patent was published by you.

This makes a lot of sense - why would you publish the source code for something if you didn't want people to be able to use it? If you are publishing the source code which does something you've patented and you don't protect people then there really is no point publishing the code in the first place since it is illegal for someone to use it.

Why risk losing millions in licence fees when you could spend a few hundred thousand and fit your systems with software you know doesn't rob you these rights?

Why publish source code which could give your competetors an advantage? Clearly publishing code works because you gain an advantage too. Whilest you are potentially helping your competetors, any improvements they make to the code will come back to benefit you.

This is a very difficult balancing act - on the one hand it's very good for the customers since it forces all the vendors to continually improve their offerings. It's also very good for the vendors since they effectively get thousands of man-hours of work without directly paying for those developers. But on the other hand, it means that the vendor has to put a lot of resources into the project in order to continually improve it - they are never going to get into a situation where they have cornered the market and can lock everyone else out and relax like Microsoft has done over the past few years.

So to answer your question - you can risk losing millions in licence fees because in return for that risk you might also get licenses from other people worth millions.

Yay freedom! (0, Flamebait)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349847)

It's good that RMS is now telling everyone what are morally acceptable uses of software. I thought the idea of freedom was the freedom to do whatever you wanted with the software, so long as you shared the work. Apparently freedom doesn't matter quite so much when you have a chance to take shots at "ideologically impure" groups and start a pissing war with Microsoft.

This is all really, really sad.

Re:Yay freedom! (5, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349905)

What is really, really sad is when people deliberately (or ignorantly) confuse freedom to make life better with freedom to make it worse.

Freedom of expression does not extend to harassment of minorities.

Freedom of movement does not extend to other people's bathrooms.

Freedom of software does not extend to patent ambushes.

Microsoft is cynically exploiting fear of patent infringement to ambush the work done by millions. This is no "pissing war", it is a fight for survival, at least a fight for survival according to the old rules. If Microsoft were respecting the free software community, or even just ignoring it, that'd be fine. But what it's doing is saying, "nice business you have here, Guv, pity you've gone and installed that free stuff everywhere, cause it infringes on our [unspecified] patents, and it'd be a real shame to see a lawsuit happen here..."

Linux is now mainstream, and Microsoft wants to own it. That is what is going on here.

Re:Yay freedom! (0)

Rydia (556444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350021)

Freedom is freedom. You can't say "oh, well, this is good freedom, so it's all right. That's bad freedom, so we don't like that." If you want real freedom, you have to give freedom, not select uses that are "good freedom." If you want people to do something different, convince them not to. Or convince everyone else to ignore them or force their hand. Taking that freedom away is a horribly inept way to deal with it.

On the other hand, everyone is convinced that an indemnity agreement is a hostile takeover. There doesn't appear to be any evidence of this, other than the fact that MS does not like linux. Not liking Linux does not mean they have legal tools to wreck Linux, especially as part of an agreement to cover future infringement.

And that's really the catch- people don't want to admit that linux would ever, ever infringe on Microsoft's patents. Because of this ideology, they're angry and lash out, albeit with nearly no substance. Novell is worried about that possibility, so they've made an agreement to cover themselves just in case their fears are realized. I'm skeptical of the strategy. You and others seem to think it is some sort of trojan horse. Novell doesn't, however, and they can. Because that sort of freedom is important.

Re:Yay freedom! (4, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350103)

Freedom is freedom.

Except when it isn't. The problem with freedom is it's an inane word with very little meaning. Ultimately we look to it as an ideal rather than as a goal, because it's very difficult to give everyone absolute freedom when one person can use their's to oppress another, removing the freedom from that second group. Perhaps in a hundred years, when we all have virtual reality, we can have "absolute freedom" within that, with everyone free to do whatever they want to their own words without impacting on anyone else's, but until then others have the right to consider curtailing your freedom the moment your actions involve anyone else.

And that's really the catch- people don't want to admit that linux would ever, ever infringe on Microsoft's patents.

You probably haven't been reading much from those criticizing the use of patents within the community. The reality is that we know full well that it's very, very, likely Linux and other GNU components violate numerous Microsoft patents. We know that it's unfair, because those violations for the most part cover independently invented methods, or code implemented for the purpose of interoperability. Which is why we're (the Free Software community) looking for ways to neutralize deals like Novell's. It's not the notion that Microsoft has patents covering GNU/Linux that bothers us, it's the idea that Microsoft should be allowed to enforce them.

Re:Yay freedom! (1, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350391)

Freedom is freedom.
Except when it isn't. The problem with freedom is it's an inane word with very little meaning. Ultimately we look to it as an ideal rather than as a goal, because it's very difficult to give everyone absolute freedom when one person can use their's to oppress another, removing the freedom from that second group. Perhaps in a hundred years, when we all have virtual reality, we can have "absolute freedom" within that, with everyone free to do whatever they want to their own words without impacting on anyone else's, but until then others have the right to consider curtailing your freedom the moment your actions involve anyone else.
How Orwellian of you. Freedom is an inane word with little meaning? You're almost there. A little further and you can argue that the word Freedom actually means its opposite, Slavery.

Also, I love your 100 years in the future time frame for achieving some promised land of absolute freedom. I suppose until then, we can have the FSF be the dictatorship of the proletariat to safeguard the revolution.

Freedom of expression is an inalienable right, meaning it is immoral to suppress it by force. To protect one groups right to free expression by limiting free expression is a contradiction.

Freedom of movement is bound by common sense rules. Your freedom to flail your arms about ends where my body begins. Even more basically, your freedom of movement is bound by physics. Your body cannot occupy the same space as other solids. Thus, despite your inherent right to freedom of movement, you cannot walk thru walls. Now, just because your freedom of movement is limited by either common sense or the laws of physics doesn't mean you can turn around and say, "see? freedom is meaningless".

Basically, I am very suspicious of anyone that wants to protect my freedom by limiting it. When you then justify the limitation by saying it doesn't really exist or is meaningless, I'm going to be downright scornful.

Re:Yay freedom! (4, Insightful)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350151)

Freedom is freedom. You can't say "oh, well, this is good freedom, so it's all right. That's bad freedom, so we don't like that."

Unless the above is a call for anarchy, then that is exactly what you have to do. This happens to be why we have developed a system of ethics, so that we can judge "good" and "bad" behaviour in a sensible manner.

I don't particularly want anyone to have the freedom to enslave me, so I will tend to campaign to remove the freedom to enslave people. Many people seem to think like me and so, in a largely democratic society, that's the way we tend to go.

If you don't like it, get into politics :-)

Re:Yay freedom! (2, Insightful)

honkycat (249849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350679)

Freedom is freedom. You can't say "oh, well, this is good freedom, so it's all right. That's bad freedom, so we don't like that." If you want real freedom, you have to give freedom, not select uses that are "good freedom." If you want people to do something different, convince them not to. Or convince everyone else to ignore them or force their hand. Taking that freedom away is a horribly inept way to deal with it.
That's just silly. Do you really think folks want "freedom to steal" and "freedom to murder" just because they want real freedom? People who actually want complete, absolute freedom are rare, and that anarchistic view is so harmful to social order that it's just not a very good argument against the GPL. "Your right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins," and all that business...

The FSF's view is that locking software away to prevent users from modifying it is a harmful, unethical practice. They, and everyone who uses the GPL, believe it is better not to help people who want to lock their code away. The idea is to encourage more people to contribute to the library of free software by enticing them with the right to reuse some GPL code. This goal is more important than preserving the ethically questionable "freedom" to use software in a way that's harmful.

Re:Yay freedom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19350221)

What you are trying to say is :

my rights end when your rights begin.

Re:Yay freedom! (1)

qute (78334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350223)

THANK YOU.

Very well written. Couldn't agree more. I don't see why people think that just because you want freedom for people doesn't mean that those people are free to do ANYTHING. That's just crazy talk.
So what _I_ consider freedom some people would not. And that's really the point. It isn't an absolute thing.

Good thing about the patents. So what if evil companies doesn't want to use free software? Do we really need them? Look how far we have come without them.

Re:Yay freedom! (1)

Valtor (34080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350689)

Linux is now mainstream, and Microsoft wants to own it. That is what is going on here.
If you can't beat them... But they can't join or own OSS, so they must destroy it. Goog luck to them...

Re:Yay freedom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19351049)

What is really, really sad is when people deliberately (or ignorantly) confuse freedom to make life better with freedom to make it worse.

Freedom of expression does not extend to harassment of minorities.
Every restriction on freedom of expression is justified by someone deeming that particular form of expression to make life worse.

Re:Yay freedom! (0, Flamebait)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350077)

Does it surprise you that freedom doesn't matter to RMS? Look at the whole thing with linux where he insists on calling it GNU linux, and won't interact with you unless you do to. The real thing that is sad is that so many good people have gotten sucked in and waste their time promoting the cult of RMS, when they could be working to for what he only pretends to represent.

Re:Yay freedom! (1)

arose (644256) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350201)

How dare he make use of his freedom of association!

Re:Yay freedom! (1)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350515)

Way to pull out the logical fallicy. What's next emacs is the best cause the Pope says so.

And to save you the response, I am not challenging your freedom of speach, I'm just challenging the merit of what you spoke freely.

Re:Yay freedom! (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350519)

You're free to call it BonerOS if you want, but he doesn't have to come speak at your BonerOS User Group if he doesn't want to. He wants credit for developing most of the GNU operating system.

He won't give interviews to people who use the term "intellectual property" because it has little meaning, and the meaning it seems to have is deceptive. Information is not property because your possession of information does not diminish my possession, and the categories of copyright, patents, trademarks, geographical indicators, and industrial designs have very little in common, except restricting the expression of certain pieces of information artificially.

Re:Yay freedom! (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350189)

See this: Freedom or Power [gnu.org] .

Re:Yay freedom! (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350563)

It's good that RMS is now telling everyone what are morally acceptable uses of software. I thought the idea of freedom was the freedom to do whatever you wanted with the software, so long as you shared the work.

The author of a piece of software is not being forced into publishing under this licence - the FSF is simply producing a number of different licences and leaving it up to the author to choose one. Sounds like freedom to me.

As the author of a piece of software, you might choose not to use GPL3 - that's your right.

However, as the author of a piece of software, maybe you want to be secure in the knowledge that any 3rd party improvements you receive and integrate into your project are not going to result in the 3rd party suing the users of your software for patent infringement - in this case it would be appropriate for you to licence it using the GPL3. But it's your choice, if you are happy for people to freely submit improvements to your project without protecting you and your project's users then that's fine, just don't publish under GPL3.

i m miss hanane (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349871)

Currently I seek any work, me thank you

Re:i m miss hanane (1)

FST777 (913657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349981)

I heard Microsoft is looking for someone to sort out their patent archive... 235 are missing, you see...

A wake up call (0, Troll)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349875)

the GPL3 fiasco should serve as a wake up call to companies which are trying to shift to GPL software either for development or use. The fact is you can't make a business model based around the current GPL version because once you switch to GPL software you become the bitch of the FSF. What is to say the FSF will not add other restrictions on the software you use? It is entirely usage clause will be added that limits what you can do with GPL software. In addition when there is a licence change like this eveyone needs to get legal involvd again to make sure GPL software is still usable. The parts where GPL infects patent deals is really disturbing. As each day goes by it really does seem like MS might have a point about the GPL being a viral licence. In this case it has mutated to infect unrelated areas of business after entering the host.

This has got me seriously looking at BSD instead of GPL stuff. At least BSD will not change on you like this. We will probably shift to Macs at work. I see the release of GPL3 as the beginning of the end.

Re:A wake up call (0)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349899)

I see the release of GPL3 as the beginning of the end.
Agreed 100%, been looking at BSD for a while now.

Re:A wake up call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349953)

BSD is so slow you'll keep looking forever.

Re:A wake up call (2, Interesting)

fbjon (692006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350053)

The difference in freedom between BSD and GPL:

BSD is amphetamine, giving you instant gratification. GPL is vegetables, tiresome to eat, but provides benefit into the future.

Eat your veggies.

Re:A wake up call (2, Informative)

Peter La Casse (3992) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350187)

The difference in freedom between BSD and GPL:
BSD is amphetamine, giving you instant gratification. GPL is vegetables, tiresome to eat, but provides benefit into the future.

No, it's more like they're both cars with a replication bit that can be set to true or false. If the replication bit is true, then you can replicate an unlimited number of copies of the car and give or sell them to other people. With the GPL, all copies of the car must leave the replication bit set to true. With the BSD license, you can change the replication bit on copies of the car.

Re:A wake up call (3, Insightful)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350691)

Even simpler explanation:

MS EULA => Sharing is stealing.
BSD => Sharing is not stealing.
GPL => Not sharing is stealing.

The GPL protects freedom for users in the future by limiting certain actions which are deemed harmful to freedom now.

In a society where the ownership of slaves is permitted, you might think a person has more freedom than in a society where owning slaves is not permitted. However, it's more likely in the former society, especially if slavery is practised actively and widely, that the average level of freedom will be lower, since a slave has considerably less freedom than a person who has only been banned from owning slaves.

IMHO it is worth giving up the right to own slaves (or the right to make software non-free) in order to protect the rights of those who might otherwise be enslaved (or made to rely on non-free software). The BSD licence unfortunately does not preserve Freedoms One and Three, since it does not ensure continued access to Source Code. Note that a successful decompiler, if it existed, would enable the Taking by Force of Freedoms One and Three, as Freedoms Zero and Two can be taken by Force today.

Re:A wake up call (2, Insightful)

pieterh (196118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349923)

"Fiasco"?

"Infecting patent deals"?

Who's bitch are you, exactly?

Re:A wake up call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349941)

The fact is you can't make a business model based around the current GPL version because once you switch to GPL software you become the bitch of the FSF.
Unlike when you base your business model around, say, Microsoft products. They've never changed the rules of the game midstream.

Re:A wake up call (1)

FST777 (913657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349999)

There are more than two choices you know...

Re:A wake up call (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350995)

well, it seems the slashbot group think only sees GPL and MS. Lets ignore Macs and the BSDs. Even though i explicitly mention that as my other choice.

Re:A wake up call (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349973)

GPLv3 to call a fiasco, it's neglecting what true fiasco really means - e.g. the US invasion in Iraq is a fiasco, it gets worse everyday, and the one responsible is a dumb ass.

Now, GPLv3 is exactly the opposite, the first draft was reviewed, and heavily critized, and the critics was HEARD and actually CONSIDERED. This is HOW YOU AVOID a fiasco, are you listening?

This process is what a consensus is made of, how a process would applied in other areas of social life like politics would be a true remedy. The fact GPL goes into v3 is that it is evolutionary, and alive.

I use (Free)BSD a lot, and I like its license, but it has no potential to change, it's set, because it gives the most freedom. GPL limits the freedom by forcing you to act alike as you received the freedom, pass-it-on - nice too, and I find it even more nice to see such vivid interest in v3 of GPL, going into the details where freedom is limited and how and how to prevent within the license, this license lives from the update, from the learning, from the input of many.

Wake up!

PS: I'm AC because I hardly post on /. and I'm fine with AC

Re:A wake up call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349985)

GPL - A license with an EULA.

An EULA with restrictions and limitations, what a joke! How's this any better than say MS?
This is not what Free, Open Source is/was meant to be; Linux might still be considered 'open source', with the exception of some non-open stuff in Linux, because of NDA's signed by some stupid developers and no thanks, no help, from a useless leader/developer... Having an EULA and NDA'd code in Linux means it is NOT free and most certainly, not true open source! Now that's a scary thought!

Until Linux is truly free (of NDA's, Restrictions, Limitations, etc.) and open source, we won't be using GPL'd code any time soon - there are much better alternatives out there, I agree!

Re:A wake up call (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19350167)

GPL - A license with an EULA.

No it isn't. I'd explain, but you're too stupid to understand.

Re:A wake up call (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350219)

with the exception of some non-open stuff in Linux, because of NDA's signed by some stupid developers

As far as I understand this, the NDAs are only for the documentation used to produce the code, not for the code itself (that would be a contradiction to the GPL). It's not a perfect situation, but the code is free anyway: You are allowed to look at it, change it and give it to others any way you please. What you don't have access to is the manuals of the hardware, but then, were those drivers not written at all, you'd not have those manuals anyway, and worse, you'd not even have working code from which you can (legally!) reverse-engineer how to interface to the hardware. Note that the hardware manuals are completely separate from the code, therefore the fact that the hardware manuals are not free (as unfortunate as this may be) doesn't mean that the software written using those manuals isn't free either.

Maybe a good analogy is the following: There's some lock (the hardware), which can be opened with a key (used with a driver). The inner working of the lock is secret. However someone gets the permission to make a key for the lock (write a driver for the hardware), and moreover tell everyone how to make his own key (i.e. open source the driver), as long as he doesn't tell anyone how the lock works (the NDA). Now, anyone can open the lock (access the hardware), although no one but the maker really knows how it works (although they may guess from the nature of the key).

Re:A wake up call (5, Insightful)

bentcd (690786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350089)

What is to say the FSF will not add other restrictions on the software you use?

They cannot retroactively add restrictions on their software. It is released under the license it is released under. On the other hand, the usual "GPL v2 or later" wording of the license allows you to adopt later changes should you wish to.

In this case it has mutated to infect unrelated areas of business after entering the host.

No one who is currently using GPLv2 software will see this mutation that you speak of - unless they choose to. People who start to use GPLv3 software will have it marked as GPLv3 when they introduce it so the mutation effect seems somewhat fictional.

Re:A wake up call (1)

VanessaE (970834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350117)

If you had read the entire license, you'd have seen the part near the end where it says that you can simply state which version(s) of the GPL, past present or future, that you wish to use. I.e. something like "(C) 2007 Joe Q. Schmoe - Licensed under version 2 of the GNU General Public License" would be sufficient, under the GPL's terms, to avoid even touching GPLv3.

Re:A wake up call (1)

Ian_Bailey (469273) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350261)

Hey, you know the part of the license that talks about versions? The part that goes:

"If the Program specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU General Public License or any later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that numbered version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation." (from the v3 draft)

This means that if you release it under GPLv2, people only have to look at the v2 restrictions. If someone wants to fork the code, and it doesn't break some other law, you could create a code base under the v3 license, but you don't have to, and that's key. No one's forcing you to use v3. That's why Linus has been criticizing parts of the GPLv3, and saying Linux might not switch to it.

anti-copyleft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349885)

There is non-copyleft, like BSD: it's free, you might make it non-free or copyleft or keep it like it is.

There is copyleft: It's free and you may not make it non-free.

And there is anti-copyleft: It is free but you are allowed to make it non-free (by imposing the condistions of the Affero GPL for example) but you may not restrict the possibility to make it non-free.

FSF tries to be relevant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19349917)

Does anyone else find that FSF appear to struggle to remain relevant? Really, what does GPL v3 really offer? GPL v2 was a political manifest, while GPL v3 is a declaration of war. I'm really turned off by this, I'm becoming anti-GPL; even against v2. For me it's now the LGPL or BSD license... or public domain.

I hope that the GPL/FSF cult dies soon, it's becoming really annoying. The FSF should get stuff done and stop bitching... for example, where the fuck is HURD? Even Duke Nukem Forever is less vapourware than HURD.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19350005)

The FSF should get stuff done and stop bitching... for example, where the fuck is HURD? Even Duke Nukem Forever is less vapourware than HURD.
Every time FSF-haters start their rants, I always see someone drag out this tired old reference to the HURD kernel that was never completed. How is this relevant at all to the topic at hand? *Gasp* there were failed or abandoned projects under the FSF banner. I guess in the amazing world of perfect software in which you live, all projects are great successes.

As for the FSF getting stuff done, I am happy to use corutils and all the other tools that have been written and maintaned by the FSF. If you are trying to make the argument that the FSF hasn't actually contributed any significant code to the community, you are going to have to try a little harder.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19350047)

GPL v2 was a political manifest, while GPL v3 is a declaration of war.
Of war against whom? Business? Not a chance, BSD and PD don't protect the businesses that contribute - they enable another business to come along and cherry pick the hard work of the original business and then add their own proprietary features, thus using the original company's own work to compete with it. No business worried about competition would choose to release under BSD or as Public Domain.

The FSF should get stuff done and stop bitching... for example, where the fuck is HURD? Even Duke Nukem Forever is less vapourware than HURD.
HURD isn't needed, linux has filled the void. But we still need a compilers, thus gcc continues to be developed, as do the rest of the gnu binutils and gdb.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350083)

You're obviously trolling but I'll bite. The FSF is now more relevant than ever. Version 3 of the GPL is just trying to close loopholes. If you don't like it, don't use it.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350105)

No.

The BSD is nice and simple, but it's only of use if you're happy to basically work for free for some random corporation.

Look at NetBSD for example. It's stagnated to the point of irrelevance, while Linux keeps getting more and more polished and more and more popular.

If anything, the BSD will the one that will die, when people realize that corporations have no concept of playing nice or gratitude.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19350409)

The BSD is nice and simple, but it's only of use if you're happy to basically work for free for some random corporation.


If you mind working for free, why are you writing free software in the first place? The BSD license doesn't just help one corporation - it is just as easy for everyone to incorporate and thus increases competition. Increasing competition helps everyone. Monopolies are the real evil and if it weren't for BSD licensed code there wouldn't be any competition to Microsoft at all - and Microsoft's own code probably still wouldn't work.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (2, Interesting)

fotbr (855184) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350555)

This argument is funny. What it translates to is: "I want to write 'free' software, but I don't want anyone else to make money off my work" -- Or more directly, "I want to be greedy but not appear to be"

The BSD license will be around for a long time, since there are plenty of people that code for fun, or to do something they needed done, and don't give a damn about being paid for it, regardless of what others do with their code. As for NetBSD - I'd venture to guess its stagnated for the same reason most large projects do: Bad or NO leadership, combined with other projects doing similar things (FreeBSD, OpenBSD).

Likewise, the GPL will be around for a long time, as it fills the need for others who want some sort of control over their software.

I guess I don't see why one license has to "win" over the other. Use what you like. Just don't bash other stuff.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 7 years ago | (#19351039)

Absolutely not. I'm fine with them making money off it. I'm not fine with them taking it and not giving back. I absolutely hate the idea of that something I write might one day end up in a Tivo-like device, where nobody can improve it further.

For instance, IBM benefits from contributions to the Linux kernel. This is fine, IBM returns the favor by then releasing their own code. If I write say, a driver, then IBM finds a bug and fixes it, they'll have to release the source if they plan to distribute. This is how I like it.

On the other hand, I don't ever plan to contribute anything substantial to a BSD licensed project, unless I'm being paid for it. Did BSD ever see any improvements to the code used by MS? I bet they haven't.

Incidentally, one of the reasons of NetBSD's stagnation was exactly that, the license. If you don't believe it, there was an article on slashdot about it. Wasabi Systems, one company that uses NetBSD, hired NetBSD developers. Of course since under the BSD they have no obligation to open anything, from then on that developer started working on Wasabi's proprietary branch, and NetBSD never saw any of it. That sort of thing happening for long enough can easily drain a project of good developers.

Now look at Linux, does that happen there? Hell, no. There are plenty paid kernel developers, and their contributions still get into the main branch.

Re:FSF tries to be relevant (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350559)

Look at NetBSD for example. It's stagnated to the point of irrelevance, while Linux keeps getting more and more polished and more and more popular.

If anything, the BSD will the one that will die . . .
Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah. I've seen it before:

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying
One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save *BSD from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

anti-DRM clause (3, Informative)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19349989)

I had a look. The controversial anti-DRM clause seems to be in part #3 of the license:

No covered work shall be deemed part of an effective technological measure under any applicable law fulfilling obligations under article 11 of the WIPO copyright treaty adopted on 20 December 1996, or similar laws prohibiting or restricting circumvention of such measures.

When you convey a covered work, you waive any legal power to forbid circumvention of technical measures to the extent such circumvention is effected by exercising rights under this License with respect to the covered work, and you disclaim any intention to limit operation or modification of the work as a means of enforcing, against the work's users, your or third parties' legal rights to forbid circumvention of technical measures.


The definition of "convey":
To "convey" a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or receive copies, excluding sublicensing. Mere interaction with a user through a computer network, with no transfer of a copy, is not conveying.

getting to the end (2, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350033)

It's good to read that the GPLv3 will finally be out the door in about three weeks time. It's been a long wait, but I think worth it. I'm looking forward to changing the license boilerplate on all my projects.

One practical issue: it will be nice if somebody (Debian?) could write a script that makes it easy to scan source hierarchies for GPLv2 comments so they can be replaced consistently with GPLv3. The last time the FSF changed its address, it was a pain to check and change all the boilerplates.

Re:getting to the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19350233)

Great for you, but we actually don't care about your projects if you can't even make a String replace in your own code....

Re:getting to the end (1)

The Mysterious X (903554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350321)

cat /path/to/file | sed s/old/new/ > /path/to/file

Don't like GPLv3? Run MSFT software. (-1, Troll)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350109)

All you fools pissing and moaning about the "evils" of RMS and the GPLv3 are free to simply use proprietary software. Microsoft makes tons of it that you will love.

The rest of us who recognize what the real issues are in the software industry will speed by you, and wave as we pass.

Free Software is the future. Proprietary software innovation is dead.

Re:Don't like GPLv3? Run MSFT software. (2, Insightful)

The Mysterious X (903554) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350197)

I choose neither. BSD anyone?

BSD isn't using any GNU tools? (1)

mw13068 (834804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350393)

BSD isn't using any GNU tools these days?

Re:Don't like GPLv3? Run MSFT software. (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350227)

Or they could, you know, use a BSD.

Re:Don't like GPLv3? Run MSFT software. (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350529)

No, you're wrong. We're free to use and create proprietary software and GPL 2, BSD, etc., etc. We're even free to create our own open source software licenses if we want. You're the one with the all or nothing mentality that borders on following a cult.

Open Source represents both a social revolution and a mutation of capitalism. It's not going to be a vehicle towards RMS's Socialist revolution (note the difference between social revolution and Socialist revolution). If anything, open source represents the anarchist form of socialist revolution; RMS seeks to impose control over that revolution. He wants centralized control over it. GPL 3 moves us towards a collectivized proprietary license, which brings to mind "in with the new boss, same as the old boss".

So, go ahead and limit your choices and allow RMS to protect you by limiting those choices. There are plenty of other licenses for the rest of us. We'll be enjoying interoperability while you languish in your walled garden.

Correct me if I'm wrong... (3, Insightful)

starseeker (141897) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350225)

But don't the anti-patent provisions in GPLv3 only prevent war WITHIN the open source community? In effect, they will stop the Trojan Horse of patented open source code being used to extort money.

What they DON'T stop is someone without ties to GPLv3 code taking patents and launching an attack. I always thought that IF such an attack would come (at least on a large scale), it would be far more likely to come from someone like Microsoft who would be untouched by any GPLv3 conditions. Small scale bullying might (and in some cases apparently has already) take place, but a large scale "destroy the free software ecosystem" attack I always thought was more likely from someone who had no financial incentive to see free software exist. After all, even patent trolls need someone to attack, and if they kill the free software world there will be nothing left for them to prey on except people who can afford lawyers to fight back. Admittedly they would survive, but I doubt they would be institutionally committed to the destruction of free software.

I admit it might make a repeat of the SCO fiasco with patent claims instead of contract and copyright laws somewhat less likely, and that's beyond question a good thing, but it doesn't reduce the large scale threat in any important way I can see. It's still a patent version of the MAD directive that's holding things in check, and (like the real Cold War) if anyone starts shooting the whole works (commercial AND open source) could go down the drain (in the US at least, and I am regrettably certain at least a few large corporate interests and US lawmakers will do their best to make the consequences felt elsewhere, if only to avoid competition getting an edge by not having to fork over for lawyers to fight patent issues.

What we REALLY need is software patent DISARMAMENT. Reform. What have you. I don't doubt ingenious folk in the commercial world will look for some other way to achieve the same end (as some insightful person said - "the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing") but at least this particular gambit will be over.

The ideal case from our side would be to have protection for software that is given away at no cost (with source code) to the benefit of society. Of course the whole "limited monopoly to promote innovation that is publicly disclosed" bit would need to be debated, but at least we would be HAVING the debate. Software patents are just a manifestation of one view of how society should function. There are other views, and I would much prefer to see the debate take place on a societal level in a serious way than to drain the industry's resources fighting legal skirmishes. Life is too short for that, and there's too much code to write.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

ubuwalker31 (1009137) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350819)

I believe you are correct that this will not prevent non-parties or third party benificiaries to the GPL from suing for patent violations. However, I don't see the GPL restricting internecine patent warfare within the open-source community because I *can't* imagine an American judge enforcing this provision of the contract which restricts lawsuits: "You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. For example....you may not initiate litigation (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that any patent claim is infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the Program or any portion of it."

American courts are loathe to restrict anyones right to go to court, simply for the reason that if you have a legal right, you should have a remedy under law or the principles of fairness. I am shocked and horrified that RMS took a page from the radical conservative republican legal theorists playbook with this clause in the GPL.

(Edit: I could see a court enforcing this provision AGAINST large corporations, since they should know what they are getting into, and have huge legal departments, but not enforcing it against smaller corporations and naive individual coders who want to sue for violations of patent rights)

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350831)

Of course; a mere copyright license can't put any restrictions on what some completely unrelated third party does with its patents.

That said, Microsoft purchased SuSE vouchers from Novell in the recent deal, and it has been selling them on (to Dell, for one), and they don't have an expiration date. According to Eben Moglen, if anybody with such a voucher turns it in for a copy of SuSE after part of the software in SuSE is covered by the GPL3 - then Microsoft will have distributed GPL3 software.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19350885)

What they DON'T stop is someone without ties to GPLv3 code taking patents and launching an attack.
Yes, you're right. However at least the GPL3 prevents Novell-deals where one part of the community tries to "have their cake and eat it too" by making a deal with a patent-holder (e.g. Microsoft) so that they are immune to the upcoming threats.

Basically the GPLv3 forces the entire GPL community to stand united. This means that any patent threats will threaten everyone, from the "small players" to the "big players" (Red Hat, Novell, IBM, etc.). You can be sure that if the big players are threatened, they will respond with a legal force that even Microsoft cannot overcome.

Links to the draft, rationale, the Why-to, etc. (4, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350243)

Would it have killed them to link to the actual draft and documents? Here are the links:

FSF tag lines (0, Flamebait)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350293)

Kids remember to look for the Free brand label. Free brand software it's the selfrighteousiest! There is no free but Free. Oh wait, that's right a lot of the open source GPL using world won't be going to GPLv3, because a lot of those projects don't require divestiture of copyright. And probably even some of the projects managed by FSF won't be able to go to it, because they maintain a lot of projects that were started by other people and don't neccesarily have copyright providence over all the code they inherited. Oops.

Novell (1)

z0M6 (1103593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350337)

Turning the patent protection agreement into a benefit for the community is nice and all, but I was really hoping for a big "GTFO Novell". Oh well...

Not sure I buy the Novell comment (4, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350485)

From the summary:

The draft also does not prohibit Novell from distributing software under GPLv3 'because the patent protection they arranged with Microsoft last November can be turned against Microsoft to the community's benefit,' FSF executive director Peter Brown said."
Quite correct. But that doesn't quite work if the deal with Microsoft says "this agreement is exclusive". In that case, the only way Novell can abide by that is to distribute nothing under GPLv3, and very possibly nothing under "GPLv2 or later".

I can't see any other reading of this. Which raises the question: what were Novell smoking when they signed the deal? If Microsoft predicted this kind of clause in GPLv3 (which you can be fairly sure they did), they essentially tricked Novell into signing a contract saying "We're going to stop distributing the very software which is core to our business" and Novell went on record saying how great this contract is.

I have a lot of trouble believing that. In which case, exactly what patent protection does this contract provide?

Did all this go on with GPLv2? (3, Interesting)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19350597)

I'm curious whether all this back-and-forth went on when the GPL v2 was written. Is there anyone here who remembers that process?
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