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Tech Writers Spreading FUD About GPLv3

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the spreading-something-but-it-sure-ain't-fud dept.

GNU is Not Unix 411

Tookis writes "Tech writers are spreading FUD about GPLv3 because they fear its take up will slow the adoption of Linux, according to this open source writer. "A large number of tech writers — I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession — are fearful that the license will slow adoption of Linux in the workplace. And that would lead to a lessening of their own importance and influence."" So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.

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411 comments

I wouldn't worry about sullying your profession (4, Funny)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875507)

Journalism is well beyond being unsullied these days.

stockmarket journalism sells, but is always wrong (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875741)

Examples

Meteor to destroy all human life in one weeks time, Put your kids in schools in another country because the exchange rate is good - followed up two years later - country economy is in trouble, too expensive.

Trusting a journalist is foolhardy.

The there is this Groklaw Comment in response! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876163)

Groklaw had a thing to say... and the author of the article then retracted some of his errors (but not all in the Corrections part of the thread).

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200707131 92403106 [groklaw.net]

There was a comment following this that was interesting regarding the author still not liking GPLv3 - that concludes that all that GPLv3 does is make software pure as math (the same as the UK Court of Appeal, th UK high court, has done by outlawing software patents)!

see: http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&si d=20070713192403106&title=Dear+David+-+RE%3A+your+ comment+%26quot%3Bperipheral+to+my+opinion+that+th e+GPLv3+may+do+long-term+harm%26quot%3B...&type=ar ticle&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=594620#c594677 [groklaw.net]

Why does Slashdot run FUD that is incorrect? It really should not see the light of day in the first place?

Re:I wouldn't worry about sullying your profession (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876373)

"A large number of tech writers - I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession"
Where is the concern about sullying the reputation of real technical writers, of which I am one? You know, the kind that produce documentation that actually helps people understand concepts and accomplish tasks. Perhaps the author is unaware of the difference? I prefer not to be lumped in with every opinionated attention-seeking semi-literate gadget-obsessed blogger-for-hire out there. Let me see... Journalists...reputation...media... Any way I can work in a FOX News or Conrad Black joke here?

It's Us or Them (5, Funny)

LimpGuppy (161354) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875517)

Remember, if you are not for GPLv3 then you are for the terrorists, or something...

Re:It's Us or Them (5, Funny)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875665)

The GNU/Prophet, holiness on his name, has decreed and the GNU/Word of GNU, There is But One GOD, GNU is its Name and Stallman is its Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him.

The GNU/Word of GNU/God is GPL3. Stallman has declared GNU/FUDwah on the heretic Linus for crimes against the GNU/Faith:

  • For not changing his name to GNU/Linus and likewise naming his baby, GNU/Linux
  • For not adopting GPL3
  • For actually working for a living and participating in the evil capitalist system

Face Berkeley, kneel, and pray.

GNU/Holiness to GNU/God. GNU/Peace to the GNU/Prophet. GNU/Terminate to the Disbelievers, GPL2 Apostates, Other-Than-GPL Open License Perverts, Intellectual Property Holders, Copyright Defenders, Capitalists, for they have given themselves over to be the Children of the Greater and Lesser Closed Satans, Bill Gates and the U.S.A., respectively.

Re:It's Us or Them (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875877)

Mocking Islam, how original of you!

Re:It's Us or Them (4, Insightful)

aerthling (796790) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875907)

Stallman's request for systems that use both the Linux kernel and GNU software to be called GNU/Linux does not sound that unreasonable to me. Take away either one and you're not going to be able to do much.

I just don't get the outrage.

Re:It's Us or Them (3, Interesting)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876149)

I don't call my laptop OS Microsoft/Adobe/Sun/Macromedia/Mozilla/Blizzard/In tuit/Windows; it's just Windows. I don't call my home system GNU/Linux; it's just Linux.

Re:It's Us or Them (4, Insightful)

aerthling (796790) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876259)

That may be true, but none of the software made by Adobe, Blizzard, etc., is an integral part of the operating system. Removing Photoshop or WoW or whatever is not going to render your system totally useless. Taking away the GNU tools from a Linux-based system would.

It is trivial, but he does have a point.

Re:It's Us or Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876387)

NO HE DOESN'T!

Re:It's Us or Them (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876431)

There are third-party products (especially at work) that, if removed, would in fact render my system totally useless. In Linux, the difference between the OS and the tool-chain is grayer than anywhere. Let's say I've got an nVidia card on my system; if I want to use x.org, yet another vendor's tool-chain becomes necessary for me to use the system. Do I now need to call it GNU/nVidia/Linux? Where's the line?

Re:It's Us or Them (4, Informative)

aerthling (796790) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876715)

OK, I'll have one more go. :)

The GNU core utilities form a significant portion of the operating system. There are no real alternatives, and they're not optional, or required in only some systems as nVidia's drivers are (excepting embedded systems, perhaps) - every single Linux system needs them. Without them, a computer running Linux is useless, not just for your work-specific requirements, but for everything. Without them, the operating system wouldn't operate.

Re:It's Us or Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876735)

Yup.

infact, I am reading this comment with GNU/Firefox/OO/X11/Linux right now.....

fuckwit. RMS is a fat, bearded faggot. Ignore what he says.

Re:It's Us or Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876293)

Question from the audience: In the church of emacs, is using vi a sin?

RMS: No, it's a penance.


(Don't believe RMS has a sense of humour? See here [stallman.org] and here [stallman.org].)

Re:It's Us or Them (0, Flamebait)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875881)

Actually, that is pretty accurate. The terrorists inside of
the US, you know, the ones running the government, are
definitely anti-GPL, and anti-freedom.

You are an idiot (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876119)

Simply because you are being even worse than the government or media at overusing the word terrorist. For fuck sake people, everyone you dislike is NOT a terrorist. There's nothing wrong with being pissed at the government, especially our current one, but calling them terrorists is the height of stupidity and is to buy in to the very crap they are selling.

You're wrong (3, Funny)

benhocking (724439) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876169)

...and is to buy in to the very crap they are selling.

Nah, it's a different flavor. This one has peanuts in it!

(I should've resisted the urge to post this, but for some reason I find compelled to foist this unpleasant analogy onto Slashdot.)

Not fear but Loathing.. (2)

AltEnergy_try_Sunrei (1121435) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876159)

This where a strange world if one could coerce others to enter into an 'agreement'. On the face of it the Fear argument is warped. Perhaps it is more the Loathing for the restrictions of the new GPL and the implicit commercial motivation that keep some from adopting it.

Tech Writers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875523)

Uuuuh? Tech writers? That's the worst pseudonym for blogger I've ever heard ;-)

(and sorry, Sam - I like you, but that's one one of the worst written articles linked off the slashdot frontpage [and you have some of competition {I love nested parenthesis}]).

Strange.. (3, Interesting)

Square Snow Man (985909) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875537)

Sometimes, I wonder if people even know what GPLv3 is. How is it possible for this license to slow adoption of GNU/Linux in any way possible?

Re:Strange.. (1)

ninevoltz (910404) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875601)

Sometimes I wonder if people even know what Linux is, let alone the GPL

Re:Strange.. (1, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875829)

Sometimes I wonder if people even know what Linux is, let alone the GPL

That's GNU3/Linux. Please get it right.

Re:Strange.. (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875769)

By kicking up a FUD storm around it and scaring people off better than microsoft could ever manage?

Re:Strange.. (4, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875835)

Seriously?

When you have one of the most influential people in Open Source refuse to accept the license you have written in favour of an incompatible prior version, you have already automatically created a division between idealists and pragmatists, with both technically working on the same codebase.

When your developers can't even decide between them how they want their code used, I can't see any situation where it could help.

He doesn't accept an EULA-style one either (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875953)

but I don't see that one going out of fashion.

Linus may have the goal to see his baby widespread, RMS, the FSF and the license they use don't need to win a popularity contest. As long as there is "free code" (in the Nelson Mandela sense) the license is doing its job. If people don't want to agree to the ideals, then write your own license. RMS won't say you can't, although it looks like the people against the GPL3 want to control what license you're allowed to write or use.

hypocrites

Re:Strange.. (4, Interesting)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876511)

I believe Linus just does not like the part about hardware in the license. He could always take the GPL 3 license and take that part out or whatever he wants to do, but the patent issue worries me for the Linux project. What if people start putting patented code into the kernel and launch a massive legal assault?

My projects are web applications so I decided to switch them over to GPL3 because of better internationalization in the license. I did not want someone from another country nit-picking the GPL2 license for mis-understood translations of the document in a foreign courtroom so I switched the license.

I understand both Linus's and the FSF point of view on controlling the hardware but since that part of the license doesn't effect my projects at all I do not see the point of letting a better worded license go to waste!

I think a lot of projects don't need to care about this hardware issue and hardware companies could always ask the copyright holder for permission anyway. I see a few problems with Linus's thinking.

1) Is it so hard for Motorola for example to just send an email off to the copyright holder.. "Hey mind if you put your stuff in our phone and not let anyone run the modifications? Could you send us that in writing? Thanks!"
2) How do we know these companies (example Motorola) are contributing back what they are putting into their linux smart phone? What is to stop them from giving out the pretend source code before they made modifications and then keeping the real code in house?

If it can happen it will happen and they can just claim thats stuff they wrote that runs on top no one will know any differently.

I don't really agree with anyones point of view on the hardware issue but you have to admit that there are unanswered questions with regard to Linus's thoughts on the matter.

Several ways (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876109)

One is simply causing confusion. Previously, the GPL seemed to universally mean GPLv2. It was well understood what it meant for something to be GPL'd. People grasped the concept and what rights and restrictions were involved, and thus it was fairly easy to make a informed choice of if it was acceptable in a given situation or not. Now things are confusing. Is it old GPL or new GPL? How does this affect things? This confuses non tech savvy managers, make lawyers scared, and makes it harder for tech people to sell to their bosses.

Another is that the GPLv3 IS more restrictive. I appreciate that the reason for it is to try and give the public more freedom, however for companies making use of it, its more restrictive. It is possible that those companies will find it unacceptable and thus dump Linux. Don't think they can't do it either, Linksys dumped Linux for vxWorks on its routers (allegedly for memory reasons). There are other options out there, and those options will get used if companies decide, rightly or wrongly, that the license on Linux makes it unusable for them.

Yet another would be by creating a perceived problem with OSS. We've seen a real giant (Linus) come out and blast the GPLv3. While that doesn't mean anything ultimately, it can to companies. Now there's concern about a coming divide and what could happen. The "But you've got the code!" argument doesn't hold any water for places that don't have many/any programmers. They want a product that works and is supported. Now while this isn't actually likely to change that, it can create concern that it will.

Mostly it is just a perception thing. Confusion and disagreements are never good, especially if you are the little guy. It makes PHB types nervous and they are the ones who ultimately make the decisions. You can scream till you are blue in the face that it shouldn't be like that, but that is how it is and we have to deal with that reality.

Re:Strange.. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876265)

Sometimes, I wonder if people even know what an "operating system" is. How is it possible for Vista to pick up so quickly[1] when most people can't even articulate the difference between it and XP?

[1] Yeah, I know the sales of Vista by itself are slow compared to what MS expected. I was speaking in absolute terms though: it's still a high number for something as mundane as an operating system.

All of Our Brains Are Broke (3, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875571)

So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.
If your brain is broken, it's probably because you tried to read this article!

I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession
If you are a journalist, I think that implies that you have a high standard in how you report news. I hate to say it but not only is your formatting terrible and your grammar lacking in places, your piece is possibly just as one-sided as the "FUD" spreaders you speak of. On top of that, you present very few facts or examples to back up your argument.

Detractors - the fear squad - would, of course, say that he's on one side of the equation.

True.

That doesn't mean that his arguments don't have merit.
It certainly doesn't, but just because these 'tech bloggers' are the other side of the equation and they have a pay check at stake doesn't mean that their argument isn't equally as valid--does it?

I've never even heard the arguments and underpinnings against the GPLv3 concerning the adoption of Linux! Perhaps you should include both sides of the discussion in your article if you wish for me to consider you a journalist.

If I ever saw FUD of FUD, this is it.

Re:All of Our Brains Are Broke (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875595)

If I ever saw FUD of FUD, this is it.

Yup; and the layout of this obvious bastion of quality journalism gave me a headache too.

Re:All of Our Brains Are Broke (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875887)

The idea that journalists would be "sullied" by being called a tech writer is pretty amusing. You need significantly more training to be a good tech writer, and you're significantly more likely to have a deep understanding of the issues involved in the tech world. The author of this article needs to step back and consider if the people he's slandering might just have a point.

Re:All of Our Brains Are Broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876607)

OK, how many tech writers have won the Pulitzer prize? Not many. Like it or not, a "journalist" is held in higher esteem than a "tech writer" who can be right on 100% of the time but is still regarded as a hack. Deal with it.

The word of the NY Times is law. The word of Wired is shit. Deal with it.

Re:All of Our Brains Are Broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875909)

Fud of Fud?

Are you thinking of the "+1 Fud of Recursivness" or "+5 Fud of Redundant Fud 10' radius"

Sorry. Been readin old DnD books.

Failure is strong with this one... (1)

Lord of Hyphens (975895) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876037)

The failure is strong with this [article?]; it's yet another "Scrap the Firehose!" argument builder. Honestly, serious revision--nay, heavy-handed edits--is what this piece of tripe simply begs for. The average /. post is better-written than the [article?]. Any points the author though s/he could have made have been lost to his/her inepititude concerning grammar.

Profitt is one who looks behind the obvious and analyses things before he commits finger to keyboard.
Could you have learned something from him, mayhaps made judicious use of the "Preview" button?
To quote Star Trek (TOS, "Patterns of Force"):

His words make no logical sense... random phrases strung together.

Re:All of Our Brains Are Broke (1)

rumblin'rabbit (711865) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876057)

If I every say FUD of FUD, this is it.
I wrote a rant about the term FUD on slashdot once. I saved it in my journal. [slashdot.org]

I was duly rewarded with not being able to post for a couple of months. Thankfully the term FUD is quickly falling out of vogue. It's so last century.

Re:All of Our Brains Are Broke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876399)

If your brain is broken, it's probably because you tried to read this article!

IINM those were CmdrTaco's words, not Tookis'. Taco is a fine upstanding nerd who I often agree with. Uh, that didn't come out right... My brain is broke, too. But it never has any money.

I hate to say it but not only is your formatting terrible and your grammar lacking in places, your piece is possibly just as one-sided as the "FUD" spreaders you speak of.

I agree, IF Tookis' meatspace name is in fact Sam Varghese (who wrote TFA). That's not a given. In fact, the use of quotes in the blurb ("A large number of tech writers -- I wouldn't call them journalists...") would seem to indicate that Tookis is not in fact Sam Varghese. Of course, there has been no shortage of tech writers who have blown their own horns at /. under a pseudonym, so you could be right. I'm just saying it isn't a given.

-mcgrew [slashdot.org] (AKA Three-eyes) [slashdot.org]

this is a news story? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875579)

This is a rumor, not a story. Who are these journalists, and why is it FUD if they opine that GPLv3 is a bad idea?

Re:this is a news story? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875689)

Didn't you know? "Somebody said something I don't like" is the same as "FUD", or if you're on Slashdot "Troll". Talking about your own experiences, that's "Flamebait" these days.

Re:this is a news story? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876041)

Who are these journalists, and why is it FUD if they opine that GPLv3 is a bad idea?
Who are the journalists who think the GPL3 won't slow Linux adoption?

The one article he cites (by Brian Profitt, the managing editor of Linux Today) does nothing to support his premise. It's a short put-down of Microsoft and their not-so-open Open XML format.

His other citation is a 1 hr 22 minute video that 99% of people aren't going to watch.

TFA broke my brain.

Re:this is a news story? (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876137)

His other citation is a 1 hr 22 minute video that 99% of people aren't going to watch.

Reguardless of your opinion of the author of the article, you should take the time to watch Moglen's speech in Scotland (as linked to in the article). It's worth the time, just to understand why a Columbia University law professor like Moglen would dedicate a year of his life to the FSF.

Spreading FUD about FUD (1)

cribb (632424) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875591)

So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.
No, you're just following the GNU principle, recurse ...

On behalf of Linux-using technical writers, (2)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875599)

I'd like to complain about the implied slur on our profession. Heck, I'd far prefer writing man pages for APIs to the sort of "this is the mouse/hello computer" writing that is usually associated with "tech writers." Bleh.

Of course, with many of my fellow writers bearing a closer resemblance to "Tina" from Dilbert than technophiles, maybe I'm speaking for the small minority.

FUD about what? (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875617)

So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.

Well, only if you're afraid that the news might slow down the take up of Tech Writers. But frankly, I think that by this time the brand is well enough established as to be pretty much bullet proof.

Of course, that may not apply to the forthcoming release of Tech Writers 2.0, but as far as I remember, that's still in the discussion phase, so it's too early to say anything for definite.

Get off my lawn (4, Informative)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875619)

A large number of tech writers -- I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession

But sullying mine isn't a problem, huh? Technical writer == someone who writes technical documentation, e.g. product manuals. Technical writer != FUD-spreading blogger.

--
hcdejong
(technical writer)

Re:Get off my lawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876307)

Hear, Hear.

(another technical writer)

Inaccuracy awards: Informationweek wins again! (5, Informative)

Rmorph (692035) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875631)

http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/ 2007/07/open_source_is_1.html [informationweek.com]

In support of TFA: the above Iweek story really takes the cake for "most clueless" author on the subject of the GPL. One can take it as evidence that the GPL3 has become such a buzzword in the community that tech writers feel forced to comment even before they have even the slightest clue what the fuss is all about.

PJ over at groklaw politely stomped the author into the ground as one can see here:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200707131 92403106 [groklaw.net]
Whle always a fan, I admire her tact here: she did it a lot less painfully than some in comments section of the original article ;-)

tech writers (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875639)

You, sir, submitter of this "story" are an idiot.

You should have said "tech pundits", not "tech writers". There is an entire profession known as "Technical Writing", sometimes referred to as "tech writing", which has NOTHING to do with self-proclaimed journalists who write about the technical industry.

Get it straight, please. The title of your story shows that you are almost as ignorant as they are.

Re:tech writers (0)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876427)

You, sir, submitter of this "story" are an idiot.

You should have said "tech pundits", not "tech writers".


You, sir, commented are also -beep-*.

It's "bloggers" what all of you wanted to say. Yea, "bloggers". Why torture your sweet little heads calling it otherwise than it is. And in that perspective, the internet is full of people, aka bloggers, talking about everything and spewing garbage in all directions 24/7.

Why is it news that someone's freaked about GPL3. Hell, why is it news that someone is freaked about someone else being freaked about GPL3. Holy recursive Batman.

PS: That's not self-censorship, it's an actual neo-curse word. Now leave me the -beep- alone.

Personally... (3, Interesting)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875673)

...I don't agree with the new clauses in GPLv3 as opposed to GPLv2 and although my current licenses contain the "or higher" clause, I am going to be removing that in the coming weeks and leaving the code at GPLv2 only.

I'm paricularly against the "Tivoization" clause and cannot for the life of me see what benefits it gives to the copyright holder or user of the code. All it seems to do as far as I can see is take away the freedom to use my code in the way I originally granted.

Bob

Re:Personally... (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875875)

I'm paricularly against the "Tivoization" clause and cannot for the life of me see what benefits it gives to the copyright holder or user of the code. All it seems to do as far as I can see is take away the freedom to use my code in the way I originally granted.
It is designed so that large companies like Microsoft can still earn a living. I heard of at least one embedded Linux platform that is feverishly planning to switch from Linux to Windows because of the Samba's decision to adopt v3.

-Em

Re:Personally... (4, Insightful)

orzetto (545509) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876103)

I'm paricularly against the "Tivoization" clause and cannot for the life of me see what benefits it gives to the copyright holder or user of the code.

In the case of your software (i.e. a Sudoku for mobile phones [sourceforge.net]), the GPLv3 guarantees the user the four freedoms [gnu.org] (use, modify, distribute, improve), making it impossible to circumvent the GPLv2 with hardware devices. What could happen in your specific case is that a telco takes your code and starts offering it as for-pay download to their user's mobile phones—only that users cannot share it because there is some sort of hardware lock in place.

If you do not like the GPLv3, chances are you never liked the GPLv2 either. The GPLv3 is not a revolution of the GPL concept, it is just exactly the same ideas adapted to a world where it has become possible to circumvent version 2 by methods unforeseen when it was written. If you are alright with people taking your code and not contributing back, by all means use BSD instead.

Re:Personally... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876211)

Actually, this is not entirely accurate. Under GPLv2, if a phone company modified the program and then distributed it, they are required to distribute the source as well. If they institute a lock in their phone (presumably in hardware), that will only allow versions of the program with a particular hash or MAC to run, they are under no obligation to provide details or source, nor should they be required to do so.

You see, the problem with the GPL in general but more so with v3, is every time it gets modified it becomes more restrictive. For publishing such a "free" license, the GPL is actually rather restrictive. It isn't Free for All software, it is Free the Way RMS wants it to be. Like many groups that started out with good intentions (read up on the travesty that Green Peace has become), the FSF is heading in the same direction with their poor licensing and political statements.

As always, I think RMS is a poor spokesperson for the free-software movement, but most the people who would be better do not have the time to dedicate because of families and/or life. *looks for Bruce to show up*

Re:Personally... (4, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876503)

Interesting that you refer to a (cell)phone that a particular user paid for (either cash outright, or by agreeing to a long-term contract for service with a hefty termination fee) as 'their' (referring to the phone company) phone.

That is the whole point of it, the phone, once paid for, belongs to the user, not the phone company. Why shouldnt the user of a phone, which has GPL3 software running on it, have a right to modify that software, and use the modified copy on the same device?

In any case, regardless of your answer to that question, thats the main thing GPL3 does in that respect - it says that the right to modify software includes the right to run the modified software on any device that it was originally distributed on. And that is (one of) the rights that an author choosing to distribute their work under GPL3 wants their users to have. If you, as a software author, dont want to guarantee your users that right, then so be it.

Re:Personally... (1)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876599)

What could happen in your specific case is that a telco takes your code and starts offering it as for-pay download to their user's mobile phones--only that users cannot share it because there is some sort of hardware lock in place.


That's exactly my point. Why shouldn't they be able to do that? As long as the source is available (which they would still be required to provide - as TiVo are as well) then that seems to me to be the license that I originally gave it.

BTW, I would have been happy with the BSD license. I use the Apache license on some of my other stuff, but my Sudoku program contains a couple of algorithms (to do with generating symmetrical Sudokus) I took from another GPLv2 project and I cannot change the license on those.

Bob

Re:Personally... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876659)

If you do not like the GPLv3, chances are you never liked the GPLv2 either. The GPLv3 is not a revolution of the GPL concept, it is just exactly the same ideas adapted to a world where it has become possible to circumvent version 2 by methods unforeseen when it was written. If you are alright with people taking your code and not contributing back, by all means use BSD instead.

The GPLv3 is at least as different from GPLv2 as GPLv2 is from BSD.

GPLv2 says that the software can't be made non-free. GPLv3 says that the software can't be used in (some) non-free systems. This is a huge difference, and in fact makes the GPLv3 not truly Free.

(The "not truly Free" is because there are now restrictions on what you can do with the software, not just how you distribute it.)

Re:Personally... (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876415)

Personally, I don't see why anyone should ever run into the tivoization clause unless they're trying to implement some ridiculous malicious feature like hardware-enforced DRM. Seriously... why put in *extra hardware* to prevent users from voiding the warranty on their appliance?

Ludicrous. (4, Insightful)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875679)

Anyone who's installed Feisty Fawn side by side with Vista will tell you quickly, that if FOSS is going anywhere, and Ubuntu and Linux in particular, it's on MORE hard drives than less. I've had less problems finding drivers and getting things up and running in Ubuntu on several machines now, and I've been a die hard Windows user for the last decade.

FUD isn't going to do anything when FOSS is rapidly becoming the easier, cheaper, faster, and better choice for John Q. Public.

What is this crap? (3, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875681)

What a useless article, he dismisses people who criticize GPLv3 as people spreading FUD, but offers no rebuttal to their claims. I really have no strong feelings one way or the other about GPLv3, but if you want to convince your readers that the anti-GPLv3 people are wrong, you have to explain why you think that.

It's possible they just think it's a bad idea (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875707)

How does the reasoning work? GPL3 may be adopted by Linux. This may slow adoption of Linux in the workplace (although I have no idea why - very few people will be affected by the licence, except perhaps a few hardware developers). Somehow this lessens their importance.

These people are tech writers. They write about all sorts of technology. The GPL is just one of many subjects of interest.

questions for the author (3, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875727)

Mr. Varghese,

You spend some time in your article attacking various unnamed tech writers for their work on GPLv3, and hold up Brian Profitt of Linux Magazine, and Eben Moglen, as examples of good writing on the topic.

Can you identify a specific column that you disagree with? Or a specific author? Or at least something more specific than the general doom-and-gloom nonspecific "end of FOSS" warning that you quote?

I am far from expert on GPLv3 (haven't even read it), but it strikes me that a large number of the people concerned about version 3 aren't exactly slouches, unless you're prepared to call Torvalds a hack. I'd like a concrete example of a claim you're trying to debunk.

Oh, and while we're at it: when you're looking down your nose at other tech writers that you deem unworthy of the title "journalist," you should probably start trying to observe some fairly basic journalistic principles yourself. For example: Eben Moglen, whom you correctly identify as having worked for the Free Software Foundation, is a co-author of the GPLv3 draft [internetnews.com] , which doesn't exactly position him as an unbiased observer.

Re:questions for the author (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876523)

"I am far from expert on GPLv3 (haven't even read it), but it strikes me...."

Remarkable how lack of an informed opinion can get "insightful" mod points on /.

A variety of tech-pop rags are providing venue for just such ill-informed or uninformed results of random synapse firings, you could easily find and enjoy them on your own for entertainment. Googling "Open Source Debate Turns Nasty" would allow you to be presented with just such output, have a ball.

"Eben Moglen, whom you correctly identify as having worked for the Free Software Foundation, is a co-author of the GPLv3 draft, which doesn't exactly position him as an unbiased observer."

In Eben's own (earlier) words: "Since 1994 I have served pro bono publico as General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation." The latin phrase "pro bono publico" has a specific meaning; look it up to decide what bias his observations might have. He might be biased toward thinking that he's trying to provide maximum benefit to the public while preserving the rights of the original authors of software to their work. That might not be a bad thing, independent of your implication of his "observations" being "biased".

As for the GPL in any of its revisions, fearing that it will slow the adoption of Linux is an absurd statement. As a copyright work, there is no means by which an instance of Linux could be provided to the public or to any private or public entity other than by some permission of the authors or copyright holder, this is simply copyright law. For the recipient of those instances of the work, there are no further implications or restrictions imposed and there is allowance for adaptation of the work to their needs and for further redistribution to others if they so desire. There's really nothing difficult or scary about this. If by "adoption" the tech-pop press actually means "co-option" or "conversion", then that's not permitted; too bad.

Print Version, incoherency (3, Informative)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875735)

Another '2-page' article (you're welcome for the ad revenue, mate)

So here's the print version
http://www.itwire.com.au/index2.php?option=com_con tent&task=view&id=13525&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=1090 [itwire.com.au]

I'm not sure what "you'll won't" is supposed to mean.. in "You'll won't have much success in convincing them - play has to go in one direction for them to move forward". Must be Aussie. Then again, the article is incoherent overall.
I'm not entirely sure what the article is about;

is it about the misunderstandings of the GPLv3?
If so - then why doesn't it list and address these misunderstandings? He links to a talk by Moglen in the end and recommends listening to it - but doesn't say why beyond saying that Moglen is a demi-god and by jove you should listen to him.

is it about the purported FUD being spread by other 'tech authors'?
If so - then why doesn't it give examples of this FUD?

is it about the reasonings behind this purported FUD-spreading - namely that the tech authors feel that they would become less relevant if GPLv3 were to become a 'success' in that it would slow adoption of the GPLv3 (huh?) ?
if so - then maybe he could explain -why- he thinks those 'tech authors' are using these reasonings, and how they are flawed in them?

The whole article reads like a bad blog posting.

But goob job on Slashdot for making it front-page material.. must be that 'GPLv3' keyword.

Re:Print Version, incoherency (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876113)

"You'll won't" is is shorthand for 'you will will not'. This technique is known known among us authors and English enthusiasts as 'repetition repetition'. It helps emphasize a particular point point, although I'm not completely sure what what point he is trying to emphasize here. Must be important important.

Small favor (2)

friedman101 (618627) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875755)

Could someone explain the key differences between GPLv2 and GLPv3? I'd appreciate it and I'm sure many other non-lawyer types would as well. Thanks in advance scholarly slashdotter...

"Don't get cute with the wording" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876181)

That is the short of it.

Tivo got cute with the wording because although you can argue effectively that if THEY can install or remove programs from your Tivo, why can't you, you'd actually have to argue.

MS got cute with the wording by saying "we aren't licensing, we're just saying we won't sue if you pay us" (the NotADuck conundrum).

These both are there in the GPL2 (all information to create the binary: but you haven't the signature changes the binary, and look it looks like a license, you pay like a license and you have to agree to things like a license. It's a license) the GPL just spelled it out clearly.

The GPL3 also got rid of many parochialisms from the GPL2, where terms and references were US-centric. These give options to weasel out of the obligations for foreign countries.

Re:Small favor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876587)

Could someone explain the key differences between GPLv2 and GLPv3?

Sure. GPLv2 was written by people on crack [wikipedia.org], while GPLv3 was written by people who huff kittens [uncyclopedia.org].

-Steve Ballmer

We Know Drama (1)

EvilNight (11001) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875779)

What a load of bullshit. It smells exactly the same as the bullshit about BSD.

It's a license. There are a lot of them. Now you have the choice if you want it that allows you to prevent people from locking your code into proprietary hardware, or prevent people from taking over your project with patents. What's the big fucking deal? Is a legal license written in plain English rather than lawyerese really that difficult to understand? Are people really that pissed off that some aging hippie's flowery software philosophy has a new incarnation? I never knew that the idea of "once you buy it, you own it, and may do whatever you want to it" was so controversial. Last time I checked it was the law.

Too complicated (3, Interesting)

hey (83763) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875787)

I listened to a talk [fsf.org] RMS gave about the GPLv3. It was long and painful. Basically he added clause after clause to take care of cases that he had not thought of before (eg Tivo). But to me it makes it far less elegant and basically impossible to understand by the masses. I think it would be better to keep GPLv2 which can be understood. Sure some Tivo-ish companies may abuse the spirit of it be its better to keep it simple. In RMS's talk he said they changed some wording to make it more international and defined all the terms better. I am OK with that. So lets move to a GPLv2.1 instead of 3.

There are reasons for some push-back on GPLv3 (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875807)

Let's take Linus Torvald's opinions for one. He, with Stallman, are the two principal (and principle) authors of software covered by the GPL. They could have chosen BSD licensing, and so on if they'd wanted to. The GPL made sense for both. Stallman's leadership and a sense of danger on his part helped evolve the very strict (yet very free) GPLv3 to where it is today. Linus doesn't believe it's necessary at all, and is more purist hubris than actual protection.

I can see both views, and both views make sense given the freedom of the author's to do whatever they please with their code. The GPLv3 makes more sense for me personally, yet others I know think it's potentially highly confining, if 'purist'.

That tech writers think it'll slow down adoption is more of a Microsoft fantasy than reality. That the GPLv3 closes odd loopholes is all the better. I hope that Linus figures out that he actually needs to consider that a GPLv4 needs his input might get him the goals he's seeking. He's going to have to lift his head out of the sand one of these days and help form what he's inadvertenly made (along with Stallman and thousands of others), the most highly viable OS. What was once a ego fantasy is now a reality far beyond anyone's wildest imaginations. There's a maturation point where you're a leader, or a follower of what you've inspired. I hope he picks "leader" and gets off the kernel kick long enough to make corrections suggestions that he can 'lead' with. Simply bashing something (pardon the pun) isn't constructive. It might work in coding, but not when you have to gain consensus.

Grow up! (4, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875847)

FUD isn't slang for something you don't agree with. The article in question might be awful but the story on /. is even worse. It sounds like it was written by a 12 year old involved in a schoolyard scuffle. Any coherent counter argument would have been better than sounding like a goddamned whiny child. If you fight legitimately bad arguments so stupidly it makes your point of view, no matter how valid, sound childish. The person who submitted this story has done GPLv3 no favours.

For goodness sake people. Troll does not mean "I don't agree with him". "Flamebait" is only flamebait if it's written for no other reason than to upset people. FUD is only FUD if it was intended to spread unfounded Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.

Creating or describing? (1, Redundant)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875853)

Are the journalists creating fear, uncertainty and doubt out of whole cloth? Or are they merely describing the fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding a new, untried license which hopes to replace an older version of itself. The GPLv3 is the modern Oedipus.

not tech writers too! (2, Funny)

SABME (524360) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875863)

Tech writers too? Does this mean that, the next time I read a software manual, I'll have to endure an anti-GPLv3 diatribe in between descriptions of items in the Edit>Preferences menu?

It's been *weeks*! (0)

antime (739998) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875901)

Yeah, what is it with you folks? It's been weeks and you still haven't fully read, comprehended, gotten your law department's approval and applied the new license. Sheesh! After all those years it took until the GPLv2 was accepted you'd think it would all still be in fresh memory and thus a quick job, but you lazy fucks haven't even started yet. Weeks!

Geez. (5, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875913)

This article comes from a site called iTWire which I had never heard of before yesterday when the article about Firefox's popularity in Europe [slashdot.org] was posted. Judging from these two articles, I think I would be plenty happy if articles from iTWire never made it to the front page of Slashdot again.


This article decries critics of GPLv3, dismissing their rants as FUD. The author, however, gives no examples of these critics and offers no evidence for why he considers them to be wrong, nor any ideas of why they would choose to spread their FUD. Besides the terrible writing, formatting and grammar of this article it is needlessly split into two pages, annoyingly prompting you to log in if you want to read the second page. Oddly enough though they will provide you with the full text of the article if you click on the links to print it or view it as a PDF (which, by the way, has even worse formatting than the web formatting).


The Firefox article, while an interesting topic, was really just a regurgitation of a study done by another site rewritten so that it was less informative and more difficult to read. Besides that, it included several obvious typos such as the following:

"Although clear market share gains for FF were reported in every single European territory, countries where IE still has not reached 20% market share include Britain, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Norway and Denmark."
Really, there are countries where IE has not yet reached 20% market share? Are you sure you don't mean Firefox?

"Australasia, already a strong FF market..."
Ah yes, the beautiful country of Australasia, I hope I can visit it someday!

Re:Geez. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19875997)

Re:Geez. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876125)

G'day mate! I object to this Australasia nonsense. There's Australia, full of fine upstanding Fosters drinkers like Steve Irwin, Crocadile Dundee and Me. And then there's New Zealand, full of sheep shaggers and hobbits. Big difference. Put another Kiwi on the barbie and pass me a tinnie.

I'm tired of the word FUD (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875923)

Anyone who doesn't share your world view about some stupid fucking technical product is spreading FUD.

I say I'm not all that blown away by the iPhone - I'm a M$fT astroturfer spreading FUD!

I say I'm not planning to move to vista any time soon - I'm spreading more anti-m$ FUD!

I'm not ready to jump up and down about GPLv3 (yes, I do think it will hurt more than it will help), I'm spreading more FUD.

Differing opinions are not FUD. Quit using the fucking acronymn already, it's idiotic. If you want to have a discussion about the pros/cons of GPLv3, or about the lack of integrity in modern journalism, then fine. This is just whining because everybody doesnt share your world view - poor baby.

Now, how about some more iPhone ads?

Technical Writing (3, Informative)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875993)

Technical writers, sometimes called "tech writers," write manuals and help systems and procedures to help make sense of technology. We are unrelated to "technology writers," who depending on which one you encounter, may be people who failed to fill out admission papers correctly at the asylum or intelligent commentators.

Its well founded FUD... (1, Troll)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#19875999)

GPLv3 has a significantly more nasty viral nature than GPLv2, as the Anti-TiVo clause and the Anti-Patent clause, as well as the significant expansion of the term "conveying", makes the GPLv3 much more dangerous for a business to deal with/use.

Thus I would be concerned myself that GPLv3 will reduce the adoption of the open-source code, as it get farther and farther away from the BSD model of "do whatever you want".

The slow adopition isn't caused by FUD (1)

timothycrosley (1128791) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876013)

The slow adoption is caused by incompatibility(anything GPL ver. 2 only is incompatible with GPL ver. 3 and can not be linked together). This means, for instance, that any program using the Qt libraries(all kde based apps) HAVE to be Gpl 2, unless trolltech changes the license. And I'm sure this is just one of many cases.

Um... (4, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876043)

Not trolling here, just being half serious/half funny--

"...they fear its take up will slow the adoption of Linux..."

I started going to LUG meetings over nine years ago. As much I love Linux, I don't think its rate of adoption could go much slower than it already is.

Re:Um... (2, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876241)

I started going to LUG meetings over nine years ago. As much I love Linux, I don't think its rate of adoption could go much slower than it already is.

That will change very soon--I heard it's almost ready for the desktop!

The way to answer FUD (1)

ttnb (1121411) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876051)

The way to answer FUD is to provide specific information debunking the FUD's vague claims. This applies equally to those who want to answer FUD criticism of GPLv3 and to those who want to answer this article which in fact is FUD about criticism of GPLv3.

This does not change the fact that it is wrong to provide a forum to FUDsters.

dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19876055)

"So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain."

You've got a very fragile brain.

A question I have about GPL v3 (5, Insightful)

pem (1013437) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876229)

Now, IANAL, and there's probably something really basic I'm missing that would prevent this hack from working, but I'll throw it out there as food for thought:

Some universities have a lot of patents and some of them offer free mirrors for things like kernel.org and sourceforge.net projects. It may be that the act of offering a mirror is protected under the DMCA safe harbor, but if copyright license law is as powerful as some GPLv3 proponents claim, it's not even clear that the DMCA safe harbor would override section 10 of the GPL. In any case, some mirrors work by pulling code rather than letting code be pushed, so that seems like an affirmative act of copying the software and then creating and giving copies to the general public, so an entity operating a mirror might be "conveying" under the GPL.

So, for example, if MIT has a patent I want to use, maybe all I have to do is get committer rights to some relevant project, code up something which infringes the patent, get the patch accepted (never mentioning the patent, of course), and it gets distributed to all the mirrors, including MIT's.

I download it from MIT, and voila! I have a license to use that patent inside that program (and apparently inside any GPLed derivatives I make of that program. Being the proprietary sort of guy I am, I wrap the GPL project's code with another completely proprietary program which controls it and lets the GPLed code do the patented dirty work.

I don't know whether this would work or not, but I'm starting to understand why companies are now marketing "open source" license scrubbers.

The FSF is certainly free to do this with the GPL. But while the consequences of just distributing source under v2 might have been intended to convey patents in this same way, a lot of people didn't realize that because the wording there is not as clear, and the remedies don't appear to be as onerous. V3 section 10 seems to make it very clear that if you convey code which implements a patented invention, you cannot sue anybody over using that invention in that code, and that "convey" would cover the act of proactively operating a mirror site.

This should give pause to a lot of people, not just Microsoft. Right now, "everybody knows" that GPL2 is a safe license, in the same category as BSD, well away from the category of any proprietary license, for being able to freely redistribute source code.

Those who assume the same about GPLv3 do so at their own peril, perhaps to their own detriment. It appears that, for an entity with a valuable patent, inadvertently distributing one copy of GPLv3 software could easily be much more costly than inadvertently distributing a few hundred copies of a Microsoft product.

The way universities work, it is unlikely that the legal counsel stays on top of things like kernel.org mirrors, but it seems that anybody with a patent portfolio who is running a free software mirror of any type ought to take a serious look at their policies and at the terms of GPLv3.

Perhaps one valid component of licensing strategy would be to repudiate GPL v3 (and any similar licenses which purport to appropriate your own patents), just like Microsoft has done. That would basically be a public announcement that, if anybody catches you distributing GPL v3 code, please let you know right away because it is not your intention to ever do so and you will stop distributing immediately, and if anybody thinks they're getting one of your patents out of the deal, you plan on fighting it every inch of the way.

Too Late (3, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876677)

Stallman's ranting and MS's FUD have already made Open Source persona non grata in a big part of the business community.

Proof (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#19876695)

Well, of course it will. Duh. Proof? Will entity X be *more* likely do adopt Linux because of GPL v3? I think the answer to that it clearly 'no'. Are there entities that will shy away from Linux if GPL v3 gains a foothold? I think the answer is clearly 'yes'. Therefore, GPL v3 will slow Linux adoption. QED.

The question is whether the *rate* of slowing really matters that much.

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