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FSF Compliance Lab Addresses GPLv3 Questions

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the yes-you-in-the-back dept.

GNU is Not Unix 127

GeekyBodhi writes "Brett Smith, the licensing compliance engineer at FSF's Free Software Licensing and Compliance Lab held a public question and answer session in an IRC meeting last night. At the meeting Smith addressed questions regarding various sections of GPLv3 (Linux.com shares a corporate overlord with Slashdot) including Section 7 (additional rights), and Section 11 (patents and patent protection), and explained how the incompatibility between GPLv2 and GPLv3 doesn't rule out any interaction between differently licensed programs."

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Like Vista (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21129391)

GPLv3 is like Vista: Dead on Arrival.

Re:Like Vista (3, Informative)

raitchison (734047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129565)

Not quite in either case, though it's fair to say that neither have seen the adoption rates that their respective creators expected or wanted. Furthermore a lack of adoption presents a real (though relatively small) threat to each's (is each's a word?) near-monopoly/de-facto standard (Windows in Desktop Operating Systems and GPL in Open Source Licenses)

In the end when the smoke clears I think that both will ultimately succeed (for better or for worse) but you will end up with a slightly larger percentage of Desktops running non-Microsoft operating systems and a slightly larger percentage of open source projects released under a non GPL license.

Re:Like Vista (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21129737)

In the end when the smoke clears I think that both will ultimately succeed (for better or for worse) but you will end up with a slightly larger percentage of Desktops running non-Microsoft operating systems and a slightly larger percentage of open source projects released under a non GPL license.
The difference being that any usage of a non-Microsoft product will be considered a loss by Microsoft, whereas the FLOSS community doesn't mind non-GPL open-source licenses as long as they maintain code freedom.

It's important to remember that the FLOSS camp has no particular attachment to a particular license. They want freedom (via source code). Any license that fills that role makes them happy. In the FLOSS world, a project using GPLv3 is a win, but so is a project using GPLv2, apache, etc.

Re:Like Vista (1)

afroborg (677708) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129911)

Stallman doesn't appear to see it that way, although I guess it has to be said that he represent the - shall we say, more hardline end of the spectrum

Re:Like Vista (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130399)

I can't stand Stallman. I attended a "talk" given by this guy, he looked and smelled like the guy who lives under the bridge and comes out to bum money. During his "talk" which was more a Fidel Castro like inquisition, he habitually kept picking things out of his beard and popping them in his mouth. Due to these distractions, I couldn't concentrate on a word he sputtered. I do know he kept pounding his fist on the podium like Stalin.

Re:Like Vista (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135231)

Given the fact that Stallman is not above making "forced advocacy" a part of the free speech he wants to associate with Free Software..... See my latest journal entry for details.

This is an occupational hazard of a conflict mentality, and Stallman's view of Freedom is no different from the Bush Administration's.

Re:Like Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21129615)

FTFA

When asked if the FSF believed that anti-Free Software companies are behind all the FUD, Smith said, "I don't personally have any opinions about whether this is part of a coordinated effort.
Are you feeling coordinated, punk?

Re:Like Vista (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135241)

Yeah, I noticed that.

How many people immediately get the impression that this is like watching Fox News?

"Why do they hate freedom?"

Re:Like Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21129647)

GPLv3 is like Vista: Dead on Arrival.
The only difference is that GPLv3 was already horridly smelly even before it started decomposing.

Is the complexity worth it? (2, Insightful)

Dlugar (124619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129723)

Unfortunately they didn't answer the big question I have:

Why do they think all the additional complexity of the GPLv3 is needed? After all, wasn't that one of the biggest complaints about the GPLv2, that it was too complex to understand? And now you have all this extra language and extra penalties and extra permissions that, in my estimation, don't give you a better license. It doesn't prevent Tivo-ization (and I don't think you really can without even worse side effects), it doesn't prevent Microsoft/Novell-type deals, it doesn't prevent software patent FUD against Free Software ... what really do third-party developers gain from licensing their software GPLv3 over v2? Nothing but a bunch of headache, in my opinion.

Dlugar

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (2, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129845)

Exactly, it seems like the GPLV3 was made in effort to stop Tivo and MS and Novell. That is it, add in a few things about patents and that is the GPLV3, it seems to be a "temporary" licence, one that only is any good in 2007-2008 when it will need rewritten again. While the GPL2 was a solid licence meant to defend code freedom rather then stop a few companies from exploiting flaws in the previous GPL.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (3, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130137)

As new threats to freedom are identified, we should try to defend against them. Switching to a new licence is a hassle, but would you rather ignore the problem?

The GPL's goal is to make sure the software is free for all its users (not just free for some of them depending on whether the vendor deigned to give them the needed hardware keys or patent licences). That simple goal has not changed. If the licence text has become more complex, that is because the threats it needs to overcome have become more complex.

As long as you licence your code under 'GPLv3 or later', there won't be a big problem when the next attack on freedom comes and GPLv4 becomes necessary.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130487)

The big problem is that we don't all agree that these things are threats.

If I release GPL'ed code and I own a patent on my algrothm, I expect to be able to enforce it. As the legal system stands now copyright on software is next to useless when it comes court time, and patents are the only viable option to protect certain kinds of assets.

From a business standpoint, it makes the GPL less adoptable.

Note: We currently have an idea that we are considering patenting and implementing in GPL, with the express intention being that people that don't want to agree to the GPL cannot use our idea without paying us a reasonable commercial fee. There is no legally solid way to stop reverse engineering except this (I personally believe the idea is good enough that other people will be attempting to copy us after we make a viable solution, and copyright can't stop that at all).

It matters not if you agree with software patents, as long as they are the only way to stop clean-room lookalike products, they are the only legally tractable solution to protecting yourself from instant clones when you make a good product that the "big guys" will want to copy. I would really like it if copyright did this, but that is not the current legal state of affairs in the US.

Sean

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130761)

We currently have an idea that we are considering patenting and implementing in GPL, with the express intention being that people that don't want to agree to the GPL cannot use our idea without paying us a reasonable commercial fee.

Isn't this perfectly fine under the GPL?

As I understand it, GPLv3 tries (for better or worse) to prevent discriminatory patent license deals, I don't think it changes the way that regular patent licenses are dealt with.

While I disagree with you about patents.... (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131395)

For example, the inclusion of such clauses by the Apache Software License does not seem to make businesses less eager to donate code there....

However, the general argument still stands. In particular, there are sections in the GPL v3 which seem to me to be lawyerbombs or litigation magnets in that they appear to any reasonable reading to make license compatibility an open question, In particular, go read section 7, paragraph 2 of the GPL v3 and ask yourself if it can be applied to BSD-licensed software where the license grant must be reproduced exactly for covered copyrights (BSDL is not copyleft because it *only* follows copyrights licensed under that license and does not provide restrictions on licensing other copyrights added for derivative works).

I would argue that the MIT license is incompatible for the same reason. Namely because one cannot take BSD or MIT-licensed copyrights and change the terms on them later because the author grants these rights to all downstream users. The only answers that I have been able to get from Mr Moglen seem to be that it doesn't matter because you could get such a suit dismissed for reasons of standing, but that ought to make people nervous.

Re:While I disagree with you about patents.... (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131679)

I would argue that the MIT license is incompatible for the same reason. Namely because one cannot take BSD or MIT-licensed copyrights and change the terms on them later because the author grants these rights to all downstream users. The only answers that I have been able to get from Mr Moglen seem to be that it doesn't matter because you could get such a suit dismissed for reasons of standing, but that ought to make people nervous.
...Did he say what those reasons would be? Does a suit maybe have to wait until someone actually *does* remove the permissions like they've been told they can, or something?

Re:While I disagree with you about patents.... (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131813)

THe logic appears to be that if someone removes the "additional permissions" afforded by the BSDL, until they have their own valid copyrights in the work they don't have standing to sue for copyright infringement.

IANAL, but the problem I see here is that licenses are interpreted by the courts as contracts. This leaves open a large number of questions on contract theory which I would rather not ask a court.

Heck, I would rather keep my software under the GPL v2 when required libraries move (and hence that libraries are no different than referenced sources in an anthology and hence the use of libraries constitutes a collective work rather than a derivative one) than I would get into those questions.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

bob.appleyard (1030756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133493)

A software patent won't protect you against the grown ups, because if your program is non-trivial then, considering that these guys have thousands of patents of their own, and considering technologies implemented in software are incremental and not discrete, you will probably be infringing one of theirs. You can be forced to choose between a cross-licensing deal or years in court.

The result is, patent or no patent, if the big boys want to use your algorithm and compete with you, they will.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21134981)

Grown ups tend to not want to invalidate their patents, so they try to keep them out of court.

Also, they do lose, just about as often as they win.

Howso? (3, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131943)

If you distribute GPL v2 software and then sue for patent infrignement while you still are distributing the software, you are violating the authors' copyrights.

Furthermore, under the GPL v3 I can do a lot of things I couldn't under the GPL v2:
1) Release beta versions of software under NDA's provided that the contract also stipulates that they are receiving the software solely for the purpose of providing QA services for me by testing their own software against mine.

2) Use hypervisors and aggregated updates (for components in other VM's) to prevent updated software from doing anything (the software isn't interfered with in any way, but everything that it needs to talk to is missing if you provide your own update!)

3) Use hypervisors and other VMs to create DRM which can't be circumvented by accessing the source code of the kernel (because the decryption/hardware interfaces occur in another VM).

Seems like a lot of work to go to for not a lot more freedom of the end user.....

Re:Howso? (1)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133617)

If you distribute GPL v2 software and then sue for patent infrignement while you still are distributing the software, you are violating the authors' copyrights.
Care to substantiate this? I'm under the impression that the GPL v2 allows this.

Re:Howso? (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134205)

The relevant portion of the GPL v2 is:

If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot
distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this
License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you
may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent
license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by
all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then
the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to
refrain entirely from distribution of the Program.
[emphasis mine]
Basically, if you can't allow royalty-free redistribution of the Program, then you can't distribute it, and any such activity is copyright infringement.

Re:Howso? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134281)

You don't have to go through the trouble of using VMs and Hypervisors to get the same effect. Just make sure that something important like Drive access or video display and network access isn't touching the GPLed software and it is your own or licenses propriatary drivers and you can do exactly what Tivo is doing today while using GPLv3 software. You could even use GPLv3 licenses software in connections to the GPLv3 covered works.

Contrary to popular opinion, the anti Tivo clauses aren't as strong as people want to think. They will cause some switching around but won't stop what they are intended to stop. Actually, they made a good deal of things worse with the GPLv3.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21133521)

I don't trust GPL v3 advocates to protect me anymore than I trust Bush & Co. I will never include 'or later' again... I feel kinda betrayed.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131745)

by that logic, Windows with no security updates installed is better than windows with the security updates installed. i dont think you've thought it through. sure it's more complex, but it has to be to account for the holes it used to have.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133403)

At the same time, "flaws in the GPL" isn't as trivial as you make it sound. When a for-profit company chooses to contribute code under the GPL, they'll very carefully inspect what they're licensing and what it may be used for. If they were reviewing a proprietary license, they'd probably add another page of legal mumbo-jumbo to cover any flaws they might find, but the GPL is very much a "take it or leave it" license, a license that is almost but slightly more restricted than the GPL wouldn't make any sense.

They have responsbilities to the company and to the shareholders not to throw money into the coffers of other companies - that could have meant licensing income. One thing is distros that actually provide service and support as a value-added service - another would be companies that simply profit on tivoizing and patent indemnities. Of course it's practically impossible to estimate how much code is not being licensed because of such concerns, but undoubtably it happens.

Also, it's like a chink in the armor - the hostile companies will poke and pry at it - can they make a flaw into a crack, a crack into a break that brings the whole GPL tumbling down? No, you can't invalidate the GPL but what would be even worse was if someone found a way to technically comply while not really complying at all. While not everyone likes RMS' ideas, like Linus which tend to prefer the letter of the GPLv2, the GPLv3 is trying to be even clearer, even more detailed. It's a big "don't fuck with what we meant" license. While I think it might be premature and excessive, if the GPLv3 needs to be rewritten again it's because the GPLv2 has been fucked to all hell and not even the improvements in GPLv3 helped.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

a.d.trick (894813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134001)

The GPL 3 was fleshed out well before the MS and Novell agreement. Nice troll.

Also, if your in a house, and the roof has a leak, you're better of patching it than fretting that it might spring another leak. It's not like the GPL is fundamentally broken. Even version 2 is a pretty good license, it just has a few loopholes.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135275)

If your roof has a leak, then you fix the leak. You don't board up the windows, lock the doors, and fill up the house with concrete. Version 2 has loopholes. Version 3 also has loopholes. Every version will have loopholes, but there will be a progressive loss of liberties in the name of preserving freedom. What started as a suggestion to share your code (in an era when few people did) turned into bizarre statements about dynamic linking and an attempt at controlling hardware.

GPL2 isn't fundamentally broken. That's why the GPL 3 is a mistake.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129895)

Why do they think all the additional complexity of the GPLv3 is needed?
I'm not sure you can blame the complexity on the GPLv3 per se. The GPL is a legal document, and any legal document I've ever read has been extremely detailed and complex. The nature of the law (as it is currently practiced) requires that level of detail. In fact, many of the changes from v2 to v3 where a matter of cleaning up language and changing things so that they are robust with regard to modern legal interpretations.

And now you have all this extra language and extra penalties and extra permissions that, in my estimation, don't give you a better license.
Well, of course if you don't agree that the license is any better, then the additional complexity seems a waste. However I'm certainly convinced that software patents are a major threat to software (and open-source software doubly so), and the GPLv2 doesn't completely address patent issues. One purpose of GPLv3 was to be much more explicit about these patent issues, and to prevent people from using GPL code but then preventing others from also using the code via patent threats. Whether or not GPLv3 succeeds in that aim is a question I cannot answer (IANAL), but the objective of countering software patents is an important one, in my opinion.

So, in short, the complexity of the GPL is a necessary evil to the extent that it is a legal document attempting to prevent freedoms from being denied.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

augustz (18082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130039)

Kebes,

Are you a lawyer? I've contracted significant amounts of work out to actual lawyers, and this idea that documents have to detailed and complex to be legal is obviously bogus in my experience. Can you point to some specific examples of your theory?

I'd suggest reading one of the many very interesting studies of legal documents that have been done. Things like plain language redrafting etc.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130191)

Are you a lawyer?
As I said in my previous post, I am certainly not a lawyer, so I may be way off-base here.

Actually, I wasn't so much trying to say that legalese has to be impenetrable and incomprehensible, but that it is generally carefully-written and detailed (such that is must be read equally carefully). I was pointing out that the GPLv3 (in my estimation) is no more "complex" than any other legal document I've had occasion to read (tenant agreements, loan agreements, software license agreements, etc.). In fact, the GPL has a very readable preamble which states quite clearly what the intention of the license is--something which not all contracts/licenses do. I was responding to the statement that the GPLv3 was "complex."

In any case, if any legal experts in the crowd can comment on whether the GPL is more or less complex than the status quo in the field, I'd be very interested.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? - Agreed (2, Informative)

augustz (18082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21129963)

Yep.

One of the things that really made GPLv2 approachable was it's directness and simplicity. I think it also gave it it's strength.

GPLv3 is one of those lawyer sounding licenses. They try to specify everything (ie, instead of saying all colors, they'll write all colors including red, orange, green, blue and any other generally considered colors not named).

But reading it over, I'm not sure it buys much, and it certainly makes it much harder to understand. And that's a real shame.

And the Tivoization issue is a bit of a red herring I think. Tivo should be required to distribute the software, so others could create a Tivo device themselves. I'm not sure it fits the original principals to force tivo to open their hardware box. It's interesting, by trying to restrict it you get all sorts of ugly side effects.

I'm looking forward to a simple 2-3 page license again in the future.

On Tivoization (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130381)

Whether or not Tivoization matters depends on the principals you start with.

One set says that you may do whatever you wish with the code, bu you must also share the code in return.

The other set, and the set that has *always* been Stallman's goal, says that you may do whatever you wish, as long as you do not interfere with another's ability to do whatever they wish.

For developer's who want to do the first, the GPL is pretty airtight (slight patent issues, though nobody has instituted a destructive exploit along the lines of the MS/Novell patent deal yet, and deserving of a GPL 2.1 more than a GPL 3)

For the second goal, the GPL3 *is* a big deal, because it means protecting the end user from being locked down when they buy a cell phone/Tivo/Server.

Yes, the GPLv3 has poor adoption, but that's because the GPLv2 had high adoption by people who fell in the first camp, when the GPLv2 had always been meant for the purposes of the second philosophy.

Re:On Tivoization (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130745)

Except that GPL V3 has so many holes, I'm not sure it even accomplishes it's stated goals.

Off the top of my head:

1) Tivoisation is totally okay in certain arenas...like products not intended for use in the home. Example: Cisco just moved the ASA firewall to Linux in version ASA version 8...since ASA's are not devices intended for use in the home, Cisco can include, and Tivo-ise, as much GPLv3 software as they like.

2) Patent deals a la Novell/MS are totally fine in the GPLv3, as long as the group you're making the deal with isn't in the business of publishing software. So, patent deals with Patent troll companies are totally fine under GPLv3. Patent deals only become a problem if the deal is between people who publish software. If you do nothing but handle patents, that clause doesn't apply to you.

From my understanding of the discussions leading up to GPLv3, these holes are intentional (due to requests from various parties), but they're still holes. v3 is not the bullet-proof fix that it's supporters seem to think. It was intentionally hobbled in some areas, which I think greatly weakens it.

Re:On Tivoization (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132583)

The Anti-Tivolization clause, yes, has some pretty significant holes. It reaks of 'who can we piss off and who can we not'. It really feels like RMS went after the more vulnerable companies (that have high profile toys that average supports would want) while steering clear of companies that hold some sway.

Companies like Tivo are pretty nitch, few and far between.... RMS can risk alienating them. But could you imagine a clause like 'you must supply the back-end code to anyone who connects to your website'?

Re:On Tivoization (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134363)

My understanding was that they attempted to do that. If you hosted GPLed software that ran on your server, it was considered the same as distributing it in the first draft. Some could say they still have this intention with the wording convey.

But even the Anti Tivo clauses won't stop Tivo from doing what it is doing. They might have to change a few things but you can still see locked down tivos with GPLv3 licenses code in it.

Re:On Tivoization (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134683)

*nods* and if they had pushed that intention, GPL code would be pretty much absent from many, many websites and companies and much of the FUD one hears would actually be true.

And yep, this will not stop Tivo (since the kernel is still v2), at least not for now. Though sooner or later _something_ critical that an embedded developer might with to sign will go v3 and that will be a problem.

They have already pretty much ruled out GPLv3 on electronic voting machines (with the FSF justifying it with a flippant 'we don't believe in electronic voting anyway' remark)

Re:On Tivoization (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135293)

Not really.

There is no reason that Tivo can't change methods so that they can comply with the letter of the GPL v3. Now, Linux may be GPL v2, but something else could become GPL v3. As long as they provide sufficient instructions to get the software installed and without being actively interfered with, there is no reason why the box once updated has to have the same capabilities. All the stuff interfacing with the hardware could be gone, leaving you with a nice paperweight which is, in fact, executing the software in a vacuum. THis is made quite simply via the use of hypervisors (and is allowed under the mere aggregation clause of the GPL v3).

Think of it this way. The GPL v3 states that the modified software must be allowed to run on the hardware. It does *not* require that any other software is required to be present as well. Yes, you can speak in the auditorium, but nobody will be there to listen....

What makes you think the GPL v3 stops Tivoization? (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134459)

The GPL v3 basically says that for certain classes of devices, one must:
1) Provide installation instructions
2) Not interfere with the execution of a modified binary.

However, it still allows for aggregation in distribution, and so there is no reason why one can't require that a full aggregate of software (the full system image including hypervisor and all vm's) gets installed at once and that this collective or aggregate work must be signed as a whole. It thus allows unrestricted execution of a binary in a vacuum which more or less deprives it of any useful input or output because components on the other ends of pipes are simply not there.

"You may not interfere with so-and-so's ability to speak in a given auditorium" does not preclude making sure nobody *else* is in that auditorium.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? - Agreed (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130845)

One of the things that really made GPLv2 approachable was it's directness and simplicity. I think it also gave it it's strength.
Well, compared to GPLv3 maybe... the GPLv2 was also constantly called complex and filled with "legalese" (Google gives some apropos examples [google.pt] ). This doesn't detract from your other points, but the GPL was always "complex" compared to non-copyleft licences.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? - Agreed (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131633)

Tivo does distribute the software. The issue is that they include in their device some chip that checks if the Tivo software has been modified; if it has been modified, the device won't work. This prevents the user from using and modifying the software, rights that he/she should have under the GPL. Version 3 of the GPL prevents this.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? - Agreed (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135351)

rm won't let me delete files that belong to someone else! That's a GPL v3 violation!!!!!!

Re:Is the complexity worth it? - Agreed (2, Interesting)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132745)

One of the things that really made GPLv2 approachable was it's directness and simplicity.
Wow, you've got a funny notion of "directness and simplicity".

~ $ wc /usr/share/common-licenses/BSD
  26 225 1499 /usr/share/common-licenses/BSD
~ $ wc /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL
  339 2968 17987 /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL-2
I've been listening to people complain about the length and complexity of the GPL for years! Frankly, I think once you've gone beyond the point where the average person can easily grasp it (which the GPLv2 was clearly beyond, IMO), there's little point in not going the rest of the way to do things right (which the GPLv3 mostly does, IMO). I particularly like the increased compatibility with other licenses. V3 may be longer, but it still seems pretty straightforward to me.

Bottom line: so many people misunderstand or misinterpret v2 on a regular basis that it's really hard for me to believe that v3 is going to make things noticeably worse. People are still going to be posting about how the GPL means you can't charge money and you're going to be forced to release all of your company's code. Dummies will remain dummies. And I think I grok both versions pretty well, so I really don't see a problem.

Of course, it may just be that I'm old enough to remember the huge controversies and flamewars about v2 when that was new. Kids today seem to accept it as standard and noncontroversial, but it was as despised and reviled in its day as v3 is now.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130053)

what really do third-party developers gain from licensing their software GPLv3 over v2? Nothing but a bunch of headache, in my opinion.
Quite the opposite... if you refuse to use the GPLv3 and decide to use the GPLv2 instead, you'll upset the Apostles of Free Software, bringing upon you the joys of:
A 1068 post thread [marc.info] berating you get you to dual license the code
A 68 post thread [marc.info] indicating a wish to subvert your license with a new license that you didn't choose for the ease of people who chose a license that is deliberately not compatible with yours
etc. Somewhere in there, Alexandre Oliva (board member of the FSFLA) indicated that he could just up and take GPLv2 code and relicense it GPLv3 anyway, regardless of what the actual authors of the code think about it. As a free software developer (my license of choice is still GPLv2), he, and the religious zealots of RMS, has done more to hurt my opinion of the FSF and the GPLv3 than any opponent of free software ever has. They aren't content that you develop free software, it has to be under their current favorite license and preferably donated to the FSF to make them happy.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

Brett Smith (1081153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130263)

I won't deny that GPLv3 is more complex than GPLv2. That's because we live in a more complex world now, where people interact with software in lots of ways besides sitting down in front of a box that runs their code, and some developers want to have all the advantages of freedom with none of the obligations. You can use simple language if all the participants have shared understanding. Unfortunately, not everybody groks freedom yet.

I'm not sure why you say that the additional provisions of GPLv3 don't protect us against recent threats to our freedom. We've already seen great success from some of them. For example, Microsoft recently announced that it will provide its patent assurances to all users of Novell's GNU/Linux distribution, and not just Novell's paying customers. This is exactly the outcome we wanted, and we got it.

A lot of changes are also great features for developers, such as new ways to provide source when you share object code (including BitTorrent support), and compatibility with more licenses like the Apache License 2.0. Adding these features makes the new complexity worth it.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21130339)


Unfortunately you didn't answer the big question I have:

Why should we value your opinion that the GPL3 is too complicated over the opinion of Eben Moglen and the team of lawyers who feel that the additional legalese is needed?

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131263)

While it doesn't prevent Microsoft/Novell deals, it will make them much less likely, because there won't be any way to use the weight of patents to force one. So, is it perfect? No, nothing is. I say it's a damn improvement on something damn good anyway. What's the deal, man?

And some of the answers raise more question (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131291)

The FSF addresses the ability to remove additional permissions and distribute under a more restrictive license. The GPL v3 is written as if this can be done for any piece of a covered work and does *not* suggest that the license reverts when that piece is later extracted. This has lead me to conclude that the GPL v3 is incompatible with permissive licenses such as the BSDL because:

1) The BSDL addresses *all* downstream recipients of covered copyrights and
2) The BSDL itself is an invariant license which follows those covered copyrights.

Thus I argue that these permissive licenses essentially limit the ways in which section 7 paragraph 2 can be meaningfully excersized. One cannot just take some BSD files include them verbatem, and change the license as one desires to do.

Re:And some of the answers raise more question (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135423)

Where it gets interesting if substantial GPLed changes are made to a fork of a BSD codebase. Technically, the BSD bits are still BSD and while one can diff them back out the original BSD code is still available. Practically speaking such a work would have to be treated as GPL. If the BSD license is as you say then proprietary forks aren't legal either. If proprietary forks are okay but involuted arguments mean GPL forks aren't then I have to wonder just "True Freedom" is.

Suppose I did things this way:

BSD codeblock

yadda yadda

#######

GPL portion copyright 1997 domatic

codeblock

yadda yadda

#######

BSD portion resumes here

yadda yadda

What's more, altered BSD lines could just be left BSD to keep this simple. Technically I doubt that even that is necessary but if I'm being carped at by proponents of "True Freedom" (whatever THAT means and they say FSFers are fanatics......) it may be necessary to preserve a modicum of sanity.

Re:And some of the answers raise more question (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135519)

I am not saying that GPL v2 or proprietary folks aren't legal.

The GPLv2 explicitly states that the license only applies when distributing the work as a whole, so if you distribute the BSDL portion separately, it is distributed under its original license. The GPL v3 is the one which ahs the problem.

Basically when MS and others use BSD code, they don't change the license on those specific copyright elements. Instead they add their own copyrighted elements and license those. The problem is that the GPL v3 is written in such a way as to suggest that licenses are compatible *only* if the copyrighted elements (including literal code fragments) can be "relicensed' (in RMS's words) so that the restrictions of the GPL apply to those specific fragments.

Your method is not necessary because the BSDL does not require any sort of statement as to *what* is licensed under it own license. You are adding your own code, so the file can be under whatever license you choose provided that you comply with the BSDL. However, it does *not* grant the ability to change the license of the software merely by making copies. IANAL, but this is pretty much the concensus of all but 1-2 lawyers on the OSI license-discuss list, and this raises serious questions as to whether the GPL v3 (only) has a serious compatibility problem.

Re:And some of the answers raise more question (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135789)

Okay. This makes the rest of your posts seem much more reasonable to me. I think your analysis of the GPLv3 may well be plausible but I'm reserving my opinion of the license until I see what happens with it practically and legally over the course of a year or two. Legalese isn't code after all. The GPLv3 may not even mean what Stallman thinks it means if it ever winds up in court.

I agree with you that my proposed method isn't legally necessary for GPLv2 stuff but it may be practically necessary if the more radical contingent of BSDers get publicly irate every time a bit of BSD code is used in a GPL project.

Re:And some of the answers raise more question (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136125)

I don't think it is ever necessary.

TO satisfy the likes of Theo, why not put a header like:

NOTICE: This file is currently being modified by [authors] and any copyrights they may hold to the file are licensed under the GPL v3.

And then changing this when any substantive changes are made to a full copyright notice. Even THeo would have hard time complaining in a case like this.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (2, Insightful)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131537)

Much (maybe most) of the additional complexity is required for the GPL to be more legally sound in a world-wide market as opposed to just the U.S. Much of the GPLv2 language was legally sound for the U.S., but, somewhat less legally sound in other legal jurisdictions. The GPLv3 attempts to address this by using language that is recognized throughout the world to have very specific legal meanings.

same old whine (0, Offtopic)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132511)

Why do they think all the additional complexity of the GPLv3 is needed?
That's what the BSD folks have been asking about the GPLv2 for years. Personally, I don't see a lot of difference betwixt the two--they're both complex, but not so complex that I can't understand them. I don't think v3 is perfect, but I think it's a huge improvement, especially the optional-compatibility features. I'm not sure what you mean by "third-party developers", but I certainly get no headaches from v3. And hey, if you don't like it, don't use my code (or stick to the stuff I release under a BSD license). That's freedom for ya! :)

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135967)

I refuse to touch any GPLv3 code, that isn't at the minimum dual licensed with something else, even the GPLv3. It's simply too complex of a license for me to understand. If I have to touch some at work, I let my boss make the decision. But outside of work I'm not touching it with a ten foot pole. I'll use (load an execute a binary) the software if I have to, but that's the extent of it.

The GPLv3 is like a friend who has a huge Rottweiler guard dog. He tells me to visit him any time, but until he leashes and chains that dog, I ain't going anywhere near his front door.

Re:Is the complexity worth it? (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135991)

...that isn't at the minimum dual licensed with something else, even the GPLv3
Whoops, I meant "GPLv2".

I trust (1)

buttle2000 (1041826) | more than 6 years ago | (#21130197)

There's a real world out there and I don't know nearly enough of it to begin to compare the two licences so I'm not going to comment.

I just simply trust that the people who are working on the GPL know what they're doing because I am 100% sure that they have _my_ best interest at heart.
They have been proving that now for many years.

Re:I trust (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133021)

For better or worse I don't have the same level of trust. Furthermore, athough the FSF likes to pretend that Free Software is analogous to Free Speech, the fact is that their vision of free speech allows for a form of forced advocacy (given the history of the GFDL). See my latest journal entry for details.

Re:I trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21136043)

Free speech in practice already includes a form of forced advocacy, certain institutions with a total or partial monopoly on a communications medium have been required to provide equal access to competing points of view.

However, what you are calling forced advocacy isn't actually forced advocacy at all, it's conditional non-censorship. If a company charges for their product, they aren't forcing you to pay, they are imposing a condition that you have to pay them before you get the product. If an author requires that you not remove political messages from his novel as a condition of publishing it, he's not forcing advocacy of his political messages, he's merely not allowing you to censor his work. By regarding political speech as a negative quantity which must be censored from speech with a practical use, you are committing the same sins against free speech as you have imagined the FSF to have made. With the kind of creative redefinition of words to distort the truth that you have shown here, I'm not surprised you would place yourself in opposition to someone like RMS, who's known for an emphasis on precise language.

This should be interesting (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131053)

I hope my company sends a few members of its legal team to find out more. We use Linux a lot, and many key Linux system pieces (such as GCC [gnu.org] ) are moving to GPL v3. An email broadcast went out at work, telling us specifically:

Please do not bring software into [company] under the GNU Public License version 3.0 (GPL v. 3.0) without review by the [company] attorney who supports your business unit.

GPL v. 3.0 has been finalized by the Free Software Foundation. It contains some provisions that are at odds with generally accepted practices among high tech companies, and [company] in particular.

It goes on to enumerate those fears. One of the more alarmist-sounding points brought up in the email is: "Ambiguous language that could grant patent rights to other companies, even if [company] only uses the software internally."

I really hope the FSF clarifies the points our lawyers have raised. (I hope and imagine our lawyers have taken it up w/ the FSF.) I can totally see our company not releasing software under GPL v3, nor incorporating GPL v3 software into our products. But banning the use of GPL v3 software entirely? Hopefully these sorts of kinks work their way out. In the meantime, I won't be updating my compiler right away. *sigh*

--Joe

Your company's lawyers (1)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131353)

Indeed your company's lawyers _do_ need to go to some training somewhere. They have obviously been listening to some FUD somewhere. There is _no_ language in GPL3 that even pretends to address use without distribution, beyond the whole "yep, use it however you want", so there can be no "Ambiguous language that could grant patent rights to other companies, even if [company] only uses the software internally."

Among other things, all the patent grants require your company to have granted patent license rights to a select set of recipients while purporting to deny those rights to others. Since a patent holder can not be said to grant licenses to itself, internal use would not be a selective grant. And so on.

Now IANAL, and if you take legal advice from strangers in internet posts, then you are an idiot. Then again, if your lawyers are not competent to understand "patent license", and if they are _that_ susceptible to FUD, then _they_ are idiots and you need to have _them_ replaced.

There is plenty of plain language in the GPL3 that even a non-lawyer can understand that the license kicks and binds you only when you do the things the license grants.

Re:Your company's lawyers (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131519)

I honestly believe our lawyers are being cautious until they can draft very specific procedures for our engineers to follow. The message itself came from managers, not lawyers, and was sent to engineers.

I actually work on our company's patent committee, and in my interactions with our lawyers, I've found them to be a competent and cautious bunch. The punchline of the email was basically "If it says GPL v3, don't do anything just yet without asking one of our lawyers." That does seem prudent.

I just hope they get some new policies and procedures published and tone down the FUD-sounding email coming from management. :-)

--Joe

Re:Your company's lawyers (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132141)

Actually, on further research, I think your lawyers are right.

If someone downloads a copy of the GCC and puts it on a file share, so everyone on the team can use it, that is conveying under the GPL v3, and would seem to imply a grant of patent license.

("If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.")

I believe the intent of the paragraph cited above was to prevent internal distribution from qualifying, but the fact is, that if your team manager asks you to put it on a file share, that seems to me to be an arrangement which grants an implied patent license.

Re:Your company's lawyers (1)

Mr Z (6791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132463)

Well, as an employee of the company, I am able to use my company's patents, within the scope of my employment. If I terminate my employment, though, does that patent grant persist once I leave the company? The company is no longer "conveying" the application to me.

How about outside contractors? We have contractors from many other companies working within our company, using our tools and our network and our file shares. They're permitted to work with our IP in ways outlined in our contracts and NDAs. What is the scope of the patent license there? If XYZ corp has a contractor on our network using GCC, does that grant XYZ corp access to our full patent portfolio for any use, or just patents that pertain to technologies in GCC? Or does the grant (regardless of the breadth of the grant) extend only to that contractor?

I can definitely see a need to either revise the wording, or publish a lawyer approved interpretation of the clause. The breadth of the coverage (patent licenses pertaining only to patents that the covered work may infringe upon) seems relatively clear, but the rest does not.

--Joe

Under the GPL v3 (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132507)

if you stop conveying the software, can you retract your patent license to those whom you conveyed the software too?

Re:Under the GPL v3 (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134473)

No. It is like stopping distributing something that has wording claiming anyone can do so. It is perpetual in this regard whether you do it or not after you initially have done so.

However, a point worth noting it that you have to include whatever is in the software that touches the patent in question. I cannot put it in there and trick you out of it. The GPLv3 actually is worded as something along the lines of the original author gives you certain rights they goes on to say that you as an author cannot use the GPLv3 license for your works if you cannot pass the patent license down to every one blah blah blah.

On the down note, anyone who brings something to the GPLv3 is supposed to be certifying that the patent issues are taken care of. even if they didn't write the code in question. so when they do bring it to the GPLv3 license, they are pointing a big X on themselves when people start looking to sue someone.

Re:Under the GPL v3 (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134611)

The original question was whether internal use within a company was always safe as regards the patent grant. IANAL but I think that is not the case and ceases to be the case where internal distribution occurs. I.e. if everyone downloads the GCC from the GNU web site, that is safe. If one person downloads it and puts it on a file share that is not.

The following paragraph defines "Convey" in the GPL v3:

To "convey" a work means any kind of propagation that enables other parties to make or receive copies. Mere interaction with a user through a computer network, with no transfer of a copy, is not conveying.
1) Is the former conveyance? Yes, but GNU is doing the conveying.
2) Is the latter conveyance? Depends on whether other employees are "other parties," and the company is doing the conveying.

As I will show (IANAL) the entire question hinges on whether separate employees are separate parties to the GPL v3. I would argue that they are for the same reason that an employee and the company could both be held liable of the employee otherwise conveys copyrighted software without permission on work computers.

The next question is whether the contractor clause applies (see section 2, paragraph 2):

You may make, run and propagate covered works that you do not convey, without conditions so long as your license otherwise remains in force. You may convey covered works to others for the sole purpose of having them make modifications exclusively for you, or provide you with facilities for running those works, provided that you comply with the terms of this License in conveying all material for which you do not control copyright. Those thus making or running the covered works for you must do so exclusively on your behalf, under your direction and control, on terms that prohibit them from making any copies of your copyrighted material outside their relationship with you.
The requirements involve making modifications to the software exclusively for you, and that it is limited to your own *copyrights.* In this case the company doesn't own the copyrights to the GCC so this does not apply.

Now let us look at the patent grant section (in section 11, paragraph 6):

If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.
THe requirement is that this relates to a single transaction or arrangement, that it involves conveying or procuring conveyance of the covered work, and that a patent license is granted. All three of these apply.

Is this a single transaction? no. Is it an arrangement? Yes, I would think. So far this applies.

Does it involve conveying? Yes (see above).

Is a patent license gratned to use the software? Yes, the company provides an implied patent license as part of the employment to use company patents solely for the scope fo the employment.

So in this case, it would seem quite possible to argue that at the instant the software is shared internally on a network, the company's patents are essentially granted for the use of that software and all derivative works of it, even if it is only used internally.

IANAL, TINLA, etc.

Re:Your company's lawyers (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132011)

The GP's lawyers are doing what they are paid to do-- prevent the company from going near anything which could even possibly be used to argue things at odds with the company.

The key question is this:

If I download the GCC and put it on a file share, and someone else at the same company installs it from my file share, is that distribution? Does that trigger the patent license grants?

IANAL, but if I read the language closely, the answers would seem to be "yes" and "yes" when one disregards the intent of the license.

However, the problem that you get is that it is the intents of the licensors and licensees that matter, not the intent of the license authors.

IRC? (1)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131077)

Let me get this straight...

In order to attempt to quell the fears of developers and businesses, FSF decided to hold a Q&S in....IRC?

Kind of shows how out of touch with reality the FSF is. The majority of decision-makers don't even know what IRC is....much less the people with the investment capital.

Re:IRC? (1)

hasbeard (982620) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131133)

On the other hand, maybe they chose it because it has cross platform support.

Re:IRC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21131535)

FSF decided to hold a Q&S in....IRC?

Actually, it was worse than that.

The actual Q&S session was in World of Warcraft.
In Barrens general chat [wowwiki.com] , in fact.

On the upside, who knew Stallman knew so much about Chuck Norris? [wikipedia.org]

Re:IRC? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133683)

The majority of decision makers attend third-party meetings themselves?

Transcript please. (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131209)

I'm curious to see if there were any answers about how section 7 interacts with BSD or other licensed dependencies, or how "you can distribute this freely, except that you can't distribute it loaded on to a certain class of device" doesn't infringe freedom to redistribute, or why the patent stuff is so very specific in what kind of deals it affects.

I'm also curious about how "the source is out there, but patented and unusable" is an OK result for the patent issue (as per the article), but "the source is out there, but my device won't run it" is not OK. Or even how it makes sense considered with claims that companies can remove your freedom by making closed-source programs based on an open program. The source is still out there, what freedom's been lost (share-and-share-alike is a good reason for not allowing this, but making it an issue of freedom kinda makes me think WTF)?

Re:Transcript please. (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131475)

As for section 7 I suppose they will say something along these lines, assuming that the problem is with the "people can remove the additional stuff, like BSD licence requisites": GPL Rationale [fsf.org]

Section 7 first explicitly allows added parts covered by terms with additional permissions to be combined with GPL'd code. This codifies our existing practice of regarding such licensing terms as compatible with the GPL. A downstream user of a combined GPL'd work who modifies such an added part may remove the additional permissions, in which case the broader permissions no longer apply to the modified version, and only the terms of the GPL apply to it.
(...)
In its treatment of terms that impose additional requirements, section 7 extends the range of licensing terms with which the GPL is compatible. An added part carrying additional requirements may be combined with GPL'd code, but only if those requirements belong to an set enumerated in section 7. We must, of course, place some limit on the kinds of additional requirements that we will accept, to ensure that enhanced license compatibility does not defeat the broader freedoms advanced by the GPL. Unlike terms that grant additional permissions, terms that impose additional requirements cannot be removed by a downstream user of the combined GPL'd work, because no such user would have the right to do so.
(...)
Section 7 requires a downstream user of a covered work to preserve the non-GPL terms covering the added parts just as they must preserve the GPL, as long as any substantial portion of those parts is present in the user's version.
(...)
And also here [fsf.org]

A GPL licensee may place an additional requirement on code for which the licensee has or can give appropriate copyright permission, but only if that requirement falls within the list given in subsection 7b. Placement of any other kind of additional requirement continues to be a violation of the license. Additional requirements that are in the 7b list may not be removed, but if a user receives GPL'd code that purports to include an additional requirement not in the 7b list, the user may remove that requirement. Here we were particularly concerned to address the problem of program authors who purport to license their works in a misleading and possibly self-contradictory fashion, using the GPL together with unacceptable added restrictions that would make those works non-free software.this article
So, the FSF view on it boils down to: requirements listed in 7b - that include the requirements of MIT/BSD/ISC-type licences - can't be removed by the end user. Anything more than that can be removed and is not even guaranteed to be compatible in the first place (two scenarios here: one can remove a "in alternative you can distribute this under the XXX licence" or take a LGPLv3 file and remove the LGPLv3 specific parts and work with a GPLv3 licence; one can also remove a "also, you must give your first-born in return of using this file").

But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131737)

It states that you can remove additional permissions when you *convey* the software. Conveyance doesn't add copyrights but it requries copyright permission.

The problem is that many of us believe that this is not allowed by permissive licenses in general-- that the permissive license always follows those specific copyrights which are licensed under it and that this is passed on to downstream users. This isn't an issue with the GPL v2 because when you create a derivative work, you add your own copyrights which can be licensed under the GPL v2 (and hence the work as a whole is licensed under the GPL v2 even if certain things could be extracted and used under the BSDL). Same with Microsoft's use of BSDL code-- they haven't changed the license on those specific copyrights, they have only enforced their own copyrights under different terms.

Suppose I license a program under the GPL v3 but also include a 7(b) legal notice which states:

"The author of this software hereby provides permission to all downstream recipients, without regard to the excersize of section 7, paragraph 2 removal of additional permissions, the right to extract the code from the following functions and use in any works under any other licenses provided that this notice is maintained."

Is that a valid section 7(b) legal notice? Is it an additional permission which can be removed? Is it an additional restriction which can be ignored? I believe that the BSDL, MITL, and similar licenses are of a similar nature.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132241)

The problem is that many of us believe that this is not allowed
Again, we have had this discussion many time before. It reached the point were I can't say much more than that there is a difference between the way you read it and the way I - and the authors of the GPL - read it. Nothing wrong with that, but there is little more I can add when all the clarifications from the authors of the GPLv3 go to lenghts to say that section 7 is there to make the GPLv3 *more* compatible with non-copyleft licences.

This isn't an issue with the GPL v2 because when you create a derivative work,
But others have said the exact *opposite*: that the GPlv2 *is not* compatible with the BSD licence *at all* since there is a difference between compatible requirements and "exact" requirements, and that covering the "whole" is not allowed, etc, etc. As I said before, in recent months many different opinions have been voiced regarding what exactely one can and cannot do with a BSD licence.

Suppose I license a program under the GPL v3 but also include a 7(b) legal notice which states: "The author of this software hereby provides permission to all downstream recipients, without regard to the excersize of section 7, paragraph 2 removal of additional permissions, the right to extract the code from the following functions and use in any works under any other licenses provided that this notice is maintained."
Er... again, you seem to think that section 7 allows people to remove the BSD terms, when the exact is true. I'm not sure *why* you would add that, since if those functions are under the BSD licence to begin with people already have those rights in those functions (the whole work is under the GPLv3). The only thing that would make you example "unreasonable" is the fact that it directly tries to undermine an entire section of the licence: even if the effects of not using that would be the same, I don't see that as "reasonable" since you could also say "without regard to the entire GPL you can make what you wish with the code in those functions, the code that uses those functions and any code that shared disk space with the files of those functions".

I can understand that you have a problem with "reasonable legal notices" being somewhat unprecise and not strictly defined, but there is little that can be done to make that point more clear and at the same time remain compatible with the multitude of non-copyleft licences that have those sort of restrictions. In the last case I can imagine that you could go to court with it to define if it's "reasonable" in the light of the licence intention. Were I don't think you have much to stand on is in the insistence that the BSD terms are allowed to be removed, since every single explanation and clarification of the licence says the exact opposite, and the disitnction between the terms is there in the licence.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132387)


So, you must think that if I take, say, MIT Kerberos and change nothing but the license, that this is permissible under the terms of the MITL? So far I have not heard anyone make that argument seriously outside the FSF and Mr Moglen (in fact the SFLC specifically advises against it).

The only thing that would make you example "unreasonable" is the fact that it directly tries to undermine an entire section of the licence: even if the effects of not using that would be the same, I don't see that as "reasonable" since you could also say "without regard to the entire GPL you can make what you wish with the code in those functions, the code that uses those functions and any code that shared disk space with the files of those functions".
Isn't that exactly what the MIT License does when it says that "Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any who receive..." The implied bit is that is without regard to any other licenses or sublicenses (hence in effect MIT License allows sublicensing as a form of legal relationship provided that the sublicense provides terms identical to the MITL itself).

Again, the difference here is that the MIT and BSD licenses only apply to specifically licensed copyrights for certain elements of the software where my example breaks things down on a functional level. This is the only difference.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132609)

So, you must think that if I take, say, MIT Kerberos and change nothing but the license, that this is permissible under the terms of the MITL? So far I have not heard anyone make that argument seriously outside the FSF and Mr Moglen (in fact the SFLC specifically advises against it).
This relates to the GPLv3 and section 7 how? This is another discussion, the one about taking non-copyleft code and stripping the licence away since it's "allowed". I don't think that it's allowed - but I'm open to different views- but this doesn't relate to the GPLv3 since the same doubt occurs with the GPLv2.

Isn't that exactly what the MIT License does when it says that "Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any who receive..." The implied bit is that is without regard to any other licenses or sublicenses (hence in effect MIT License allows sublicensing as a form of legal relationship provided that the sublicense provides terms identical to the MITL itself).
No, not exactly, I said that what *could* be unreasonable is the direct targeting of the licence under which exception you are adding the adittional restrictions under the "reasonable legal notices" umbrella. It wouldn't, as I said, make much difference in pratical terms since the exception is there to allow the MIT licence to be aggregated, as an extra file or with other licences, with the GPlv3 code and make it remain so since nobody can remove it.

Again, the difference here is that the MIT and BSD licenses only apply to specifically licensed copyrights for certain elements of the software where my example breaks things down on a functional level. This is the only difference.
No, the difference is the one I mentioned above, and note that I said "could" be termed unreasonable because of the wording, that's all. I fail to see how your example supports your position since the BSD and MITL are good enough examples of "reasonable legal notices" that are deemed "reasonable" by everyone - including the authors of the GPLv3- and the reason that section 7b exists in the first place is to accomodate them.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132741)

This relates to the GPLv3 and section 7 how? This is another discussion, the one about taking non-copyleft code and stripping the licence away since it's "allowed". I don't think that it's allowed - but I'm open to different views- but this doesn't relate to the GPLv3 since the same doubt occurs with the GPLv2.
Ok, assuming that Kerberos is not classified as a Major Component, then if I release a GPL v3 application which I distribute in binary form (as well as with the Corresponding Source) then I can only do it if and only if the Kerberos that I distribute with it (in this case MIT Kerberos) can have its license *changed* to the GPL v3 since it is now a portion of the Corresponding Source.

No, not exactly, I said that what *could* be unreasonable is the direct targeting of the licence under which exception you are adding the adittional restrictions under the "reasonable legal notices" umbrella. It wouldn't, as I said, make much difference in pratical terms since the exception is there to allow the MIT licence to be aggregated, as an extra file or with other licences, with the GPlv3 code and make it remain so since nobody can remove it.
Would not any legal notice which includes a permission grant such as ".... are permitted providing...." or "Permission is hereby granted" add a restriction on the excersize of Section 7, paragraph 2? For example, until the functions are actually modified sufficiently to qualify as something other than nonliteral copies for the purpose of copyright law, I fail to see how these are actually different.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133101)

Ok, assuming that Kerberos is not classified as a Major Component, then if I release a GPL v3 application which I distribute in binary form (as well as with the Corresponding Source) then I can only do it if and only if the Kerberos that I distribute with it (in this case MIT Kerberos) can have its license *changed* to the GPL v3 since it is now a portion of the Corresponding Source.
Uh? I'm not following your reasoning, not how does it apply to the GPLv3 in particular. You relase a GPLv3 application, if you use MIT Kerberos code you add the MITL licence and appropriate copyright notices and then, well, then nothing, that's it. No offense, but it's almost like you would actually prefer for the GPLv3 to be incompatible with ISC/BSDL/MITL by the way you read it.

Would not any legal notice which includes a permission grant such as ".... are permitted providing...." or "Permission is hereby granted" add a restriction on the excersize of Section 7, paragraph 2? For example, until the functions are actually modified sufficiently to qualify as something other than nonliteral copies for the purpose of copyright law, I fail to see how these are actually different.
You are taking the "permission is hereby granted" as it means something important to justify making it into an "additional permissions". "Permission is hereby granted to use and change the code, provided you pay the author 4500 per changed line and do not disclose your work with no living creature" is not an "additional permissions", and the BSDL and the MITL are, again, not additional permissions since they actually have requirements which are the reason for the "you can't do that with BSD code!" cries. Additional permissions are something entirely different, as refered many times before. Section 7, par. 3 even states "Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, for material you add to a covered work, you may (...) - Requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material or in the Appropriate Legal Notices displayed by works containing. So, notwithstanding anything to the contrary stated in the licence you may require the preservation of reasonable legal notices or author attibutions. You can't remove the reasonable legal notices or author attributions.

Again, the links I provided earlier make a much clearer explanation of this than I can do.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133239)

Ok, in my example, the Corresponding Source must be released under the GPL v3, correct?

The MIT Kerberos implemntation is part of the Corresponding Source, correct?

By including it in the Corresponding Source, the license must be GPL-compatible, correct? This means that it must be possible to convert the MIT License into the GPL with allowed additional restrictions (such as 7b legal notices) only. Even if the library code remains unchanged, correct?

The MIT License addresses *all* downstream recipients, correct?

Thus additional permissions cannot be removed from those libraries prior to alteration. Hence it limits the exercise of 7(2) rights to remove additional permissions.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133325)

I'm going home now and try to understand exactly what you mean - my fault, not yours. What "additional permissions" are you refering though? The MITL is not an additional permission but a non-permissive additional term. You can't remove those while there is code that falls under it, so I'm not quite following you (again, probably my fault).

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134283)

The MIT license provides *all* downstream recipients of the copyrighted elements in question the permission to use according to that license without further restriction. Those permissions don't magically go away because someone decides to incorporate those elements into a work under a more restrictive license, but they are limited to those elements (including but not limited to literal code portions, non-literal elements in selection and ordering of compiled works, graphic design, and storylines in games) which are released under that license. This is why it starts off with "Permission is hereby granted, free of charge...."

Why would you think that a 7b legal notice which starts off with "permission is hereby granted" would not qualify as a permissive additional term?

The argument that the MIT license allows for arbitrary sublicensing (and hence effectively changing the license) is undermined by the fact that it explicitly grants these permissions to all downstream recipients, and that sublicensing tends to be used in this case for different works which, as a whole, require permission to reproduce. Hence if I write a program using some MIT licensed code, I can provide a sublicense for a software publishing house to publish my specific work provided that the MIT License is included in my code so that people know that the original author grants permission to use those licensed portions under more permissive terms.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136395)

The MIT license provides *all* downstream recipients of the copyrighted elements in question the permission to use according to that license without further restriction. Those permissions don't magically go away because someone decides to incorporate those elements into a work under a more restrictive license, but they are limited to those elements (including but not limited to literal code portions, non-literal elements in selection and ordering of compiled works, graphic design, and storylines in games) which are released under that license. This is why it starts off with "Permission is hereby granted, free of charge...."

Why would you think that a 7b legal notice which starts off with "permission is hereby granted" would not qualify as a permissive additional term?
Again, is this a permissive additional term to you (made up by me):

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, for any use, provided that the following conditions are met:
- Maintenance of the present permission notice.
- Refusal to show any change to anyone.
- Abstention from publicly or privately debate about this code.
- The code and any changes can't be incorporated in any derivate work.
It also starts with "Permission is hereby granted", so it must be an additional permission, no? More to the point, you said:

The MIT license provides *all* downstream recipients of the copyrighted elements in question the permission to use according to that license without further restriction.
No, the MIT licence provides downstream recepients the permission to use ("use" in terms of programming, of course) with the restriction that:

(...)The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.(...)
As I said in the other post, without this additional restriction MIT code would not differ from PD code and could be use by anyone udner any licence in any way.

he argument that the MIT license allows for arbitrary sublicensing (and hence effectively changing the license)) ...
That's a different debate. We are not talking about the sublicencing of MIT code as GPL code, but the inclusion of MIT code in GPL projects and if the legal notices that are retained can be removed by recipients under Section 7 of the GPLv3. With disagreement in this point all the rest is pintless to discuss at this point IMO.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132767)

So, you must think that if I take, say, MIT Kerberos and change nothing but the license, that this is permissible under the terms of the MITL? So far I have not heard anyone make that argument seriously outside the FSF and Mr Moglen (in fact the SFLC specifically advises against it).
This relates to the GPLv3 and section 7 how? This is another discussion, the one about taking non-copyleft code and stripping the licence away since it's "allowed". I don't think that it's allowed - but I'm open to different views- but this doesn't relate to the GPLv3 since the same doubt occurs with the GPLv2.
It relates to section 7 because it says "When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of it. [...] Additional terms, permissive or non-permissive, may be stated in the form of a separately written license, or stated as exceptions; the above requirements apply either way.". So you have a dpendency of your GPLv3 work, which is under a separately written license (BSDL). Section 6 says that when distributing compiled versions of your work you have to provide this dependency under GPLv3, which makes it a "covered work" for the quote from section 7 above. So that means that you can remove the BSDL from that dependency when you distribute it, because it grants additional permissions... except that the BSDL doesn't permit this.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132923)

It relates to section 7 because it says "When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of it. [...] Additional terms, permissive or non-permissive, may be stated in the form of a separately written license, or stated as exceptions; the above requirements apply either way.". So you have a dpendency of your GPLv3 work, which is under a separately written license (BSDL). Section 6 says that when distributing compiled versions of your work you have to provide this dependency under GPLv3, which makes it a "covered work" for the quote from section 7 above. So that means that you can remove the BSDL from that dependency when you distribute it, because it grants additional permissions... except that the BSDL doesn't permit this.
It doesn't say that. Again, there is a difference between "additional permissions" and "additional restrictions". It's all quite clear in the quotes and links I replied to you earlier, as is the usage of separete terms in the licence itself. BSDL and MITL are not additional permissions, they can't be removed, they are additional requirements of the BSDL and MITL that are allowed to be conveyed and, again, can't be removed.

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133069)

So, what part of Section 7 confuses you:

Paragraph 2:

When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of it. (Additional permissions may be written to require their own removal in certain cases when you modify the work.) You may place additional permissions on material, added by you to a covered work, for which you have or can give appropriate copyright permission.
Final paragraph:

Additional terms, permissive or non-permissive, may be stated in the form of a separately written license, or stated as exceptions; the above requirements apply either way.
Does this make my position clearer now?

Re:But that isn't what the GPL v3 states (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21133275)

So, what part of Section 7 confuses you:
Removing context doesn't help, but I've already agreed with you in that the wording of it is prone to confusion (which is way removing context makes things harder). Bear in mind this:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this License, for material you add to a covered work, you may (if authorized by the copyright holders of that material) supplement the terms of this License with terms:

- Requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material or in the Appropriate Legal Notices displayed by works containing it;

(...)

And not only that point that bears "requiring", since all the points are considered non-permissive additional terms (... All other non-permissive additional terms are considered "further restrictions" within the meaning of section 10..). Since they are "non-permissive additional terms" they are not "Additional permissions". They, as per your quote, can be conveyed in different ways (...Additional terms, permissive or non-permissive, may be stated in the form of a separately written license, or stated as exceptions; the above requirements apply either way...).

So, the exceptions are "non-permissive additional terms", they are not "additional permissions", they can't be removed and they can be stated in a single file or bundled.

I don't think you understand (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134147)

The license text notice of the MIT License, the BSD License, and the ISC License all provide language offering a grant of certain copyrights. Excersize of section 7(2) restricts those rights which are granted by removing those permissions beyond the scope of the GPL v3.

Note that dependencies can only be used if they are compatible with the GPL v3 by allowing such relicensing provided that binary distribution is done (because when this happens, the dependencies' source must be part of the Corresponding Source and that work must be under the GPL v3.

EIther the BST, MIT, and ISC licenses allow you to change the license on the entire work (for example MIT Kerberos, BIND, PostgreSQL or similar) without adding any copyright-protected elements to the work and hence they are compatible, or the licenses restrict excersize of the grant to remove those additional permissions.

Interestingly, the GPL v2 has no linking clause as the GPL v3 does. Hence I see no reason why a GPL v2 program can't link to a GPL v3 program (this seems safer than getting into arguments about what permission removal means for BSDL dependnecies).

Yes I do... (1)

fsmunoz (267297) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136321)

Actually I do understand; I just disagree with your interpretation.

The license text notice of the MIT License, the BSD License, and the ISC License all provide language offering a grant of certain copyrights. Excersize of section 7(2) restricts those rights which are granted by removing those permissions beyond the scope of the GPL v3.
No it doesn't. Lets take the ISC licence:

Copyright (c) 4-digit year, Company or Person's Name

Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" [etc, etc, etc)
The last part falls within 7-3a) ("...Disclaiming warranty or limiting liability differently from the terms of sections 15 and 16 of this License...), I don't think you disagree with that. The (c) part is goes without saying. All that is left is:

Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies
The licence stipulates that the copyright notice and the permission notice must appear in all copues. This falls under 7-3b( (...requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices or author attributions in that material or in the Appropriate Legal Notices displayed by works containing it...). This is an aditional non-permissive term that as per 7-3 (...Notwithstanding any other provision of this License...) and 7-4 (...All other non-permissive additional terms are considered "further restrictions" within the meaning of section 10...) which can't be removed. If the ISC licence merely said...

Permission to use, copy, modify, and/or distribute this software for any purpose with or without fee is hereby granted.
... then all this would be moot since you could simply take the code and slap any licence you whished on top of it (that's actually what the PD licence says, more or less). The ISC licence is differente because it has that additional restriction. The "grant of certain copyrights" you mentioned isn't by itself something that is guaranteed to be available downstream, it is made that was by the additional restriction (...provided that the above copyright notice and this permission notice appear in all copies...). Without that, those grants wouldn't be a problem in any way since any usage would be allowed.

The rest of your points are secondary if these initial assumption isn't there, so if you disagree with the above I can see how you think that you can't do certain things.

Re:Yes I do... (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21136371)

So, suppose the only change I make is to the license, where I add a note that this is distributed as part of a larger work under the GPL v3, and that the additional permissions have been removed. Is that legal? Legally binding via copyright, contract (when the GPL v3 comes into force), etc?

Don't BAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21131543)

GPL compliance is very easy to understand: Don't BAD (Be A Dick)

You're getting the effort and very hard work of very talented people who would cost way too much to actually hire full time. They contribute their labor of love for the benefit of the community; nay, world. These people aren't interested in making a buck off of you, forcing you to pay to keep what you've already got, or locking you into their vendorship for life; they simply want people to be able to do something. That's it!

So, when you're taking advantage of this generosity, the only thing you need to understand is: Don't Be A Dick (BAD)!

- Don't try to make an unfair profit off of somebody else's work. Sure, you can provide services like custom modifications, technical support, etc. But don't try to compile it up and send it off without the source code ... that's just Being A Dick (BAD).

- Don't try to throw extra locks on it. You took it from the commons, it needs to return to the commons. Mechanical measures of restricting use (Tivoization) or legal measures of restricting use (Software Patents) ... that's just Being A Dick (BAD).

- Don't try to strongarm people into paying you protection money, or else . That's just extortion and ... Being A Dick (BAD).

It's pretty simple: If you give it away, make sure the _end users_ have MORE rights and MORE capabilities than they did when you got it.

Anything else is BAD (BEING A DICK!)

Thank you!

Engineer, huh? (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131571)

"licensing compliance engineer"
Wow. I don't seem to recall that being an option when I was an undergrad looking to choose a particular discipline.

One wonders (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21131861)

if he is a licensed practitioner of law and this is a cosmetic change of name or if I am as competent to speak on these matters as he is.

Re:Engineer, huh? (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134043)

people working to study and evaluate compliance to any kind of rules, regulation, laws, or what have you have existed for like ever, in all fields you can ever imagine... this isn't really anything new. (Heck, the company I work for has as their main product a tool used to analyse and generate report on just that...not with licensing, but still).

Same job with a different set of constraints, nothing new really.

One thing, at least, is simple (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21132969)

People who do advocate the GPL in whatever form are likely going to continue to do so. People who don't, won't.

I used to engage in schizoid ranting about this topic, and admittedly still do, from time to time...but the thing that I've at least tried to realise is that when you're dealing with a cult of the same type as say Amway or the Church of Scientology, (which IMHO the FSF and its' followers are) if you don't agree with their belief system, you can make any kind of appeal you like, and it isn't going to make any difference whatsoever.

People need IMHO to realise that about the FSF. If one of them or their followers tries to sell you on the idea of the GPL or act as an apologist for it, realise that you're dealing with a cultist. Fact is irrelevant. Logic is irrelevant. The only thing in their mind that is relevant is you becoming an additional member of the Collective. (The euphemistic references to such as a "community" is the proverbial spoonful of sugar which they hope will cause the dogmatic medicine to go down easier)

Likewise, if you're attempting to argue with them that any of the more permissive licenses are inherently less restrictive than the GPL, you truly might as well not bother. Mind control is utterly impervious to any kind of reasoned argument which you might be able to construct. Forcible deprogramming might work, but any attempt at rational argument won't.

What can we do about this? Only one thing; route around it. As far as FOSS is concerned, use anything and everything we can that isn't associated with the FSF at all. I can remember feeling enormously encouraged when reading about OpenBSD's attempts at integrating and developing another C compiler. The C compiler has long been the last major piece of the puzzle necessary to having an open source operating system that isn't affiliated with the Stallmanite cult in any way whatsoever.

Re:One thing, at least, is simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21133725)

Let me rephrase your argument in a less deceptive fashion.

Paragraph 1: Nothing will change.

Paragraphs 2-6: The FSF is a cult because I say so.

Isn't it a little ironic to bemoan "Fact is irrelevant. Logic is irrelevant.", in a 6 paragraph rant absent either of these things? Except of course for circular logic, which is omnipresent.

"Likewise, if you're attempting to argue with them that any of the more permissive licenses are inherently less restrictive than the GPL, you truly might as well not bother."

I might have seen an argument like that before, but if I did, it's been lost in an endless sea of debates where well-reasoned explanations of how certain restrictions are needed to protect freedom downstream are ignored by people like you. They usually say something like this: "but I'm not free to use the code to make oodles of money in my own proprietary endeavours, so my freedom is being pwnt! egads, you must hate money like all those other cults that hate money, like the moonies and the scientologists!" Come on now, we know that cults like the moonies and the scientologists are all about money, power, control, suppression of free discussion. Between the FSF and big corporations, you think the FSF is the one that exemplifies those qualities? Truly scary.

Re:One thing, at least, is simple (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134477)

Interestinglt I advocate the GPL in a particular version (2). I also think the GPL v3 is... well... not something I can politely say.

Re:One thing, at least, is simple (2, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#21134759)

Cetainly St iGNUcious himself is all about faith and does not seem to care about logic or facts. The FSF is not just limited to such people however. I know a number of people who do advocate the GPL for reasons which are sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

My own opinion is that RMS has. like President Bush, come to see the world in terms of universal conflict where Freedom must be sacrificed in order to be preserved. Hence the GFDL has clauses which are designed to allow the FSF and others to *force* that certain advoacy documents are included with technical documentation (forced advocacy is fundamentally at odds with freedom of speech), and asked the chief architect of GNU (Thomas Bushnell) to resign for publically stating a similar opinion.

Re:One thing, at least, is simple (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 6 years ago | (#21135505)

You seem to make the mistake of assuming that all users of the GPL buy into FSF cant lock, stock, and barrel. Torvalds certainly doesn't as do many other pragmatic users of the GPL. From the way some BSD proponents have been acting lately and Theo's bunch of Merry Men certainly qualify, insults like "Scientologist-like cultist" just as fairly apply to them as well. Like the FSFers you impugn: "if you don't agree with their belief system, you can make any kind of appeal you like, and it isn't going to make any difference whatsoever."
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