[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 15:04:39 +0200

Episode "GPLv3 and Steve Ballmers blood pressure" by Welte The GPL 
Enforcer (

Thu, 22 Jun 2006
GPLv3 and Steve Ballmers blood pressure

I'm currently having the pleasure of being part of the GPLv3 Conference
Europe. It's been a pleasure to meet folks like Georg Greve (FSF
Europe), David Turner (FSF GPL compliance lab), Eben Moglen (FSF, SFLC)

There seems to be significant progress in the GPLv3 process since my
latest status updates at the 2nd international conference in Porto
Alegre (Brasil) some months ago.

To one part, the second draft of the license is supposed to be published
in roughly one month from now. As Richard Stallman pointed out, the most
significant changes that we're likely to see are:

    * Renaming of the "liberty or death" clause to "no surrendering
others freedom"
    * More precise wordings on the frequently-misinterpreted DRM clause,
removing the section on provision for "unencrypted output". The latter
clause is basically superflous, since if you have access to the full
source, and a means to install a modified version of the source, you can
easily remove any encryption routines for the output.
    * Probably anoption that if you only distribute binaries, then it's
sufficient to provide the source code on a network server, rather than
having to provide it per mail order. This still requires some feedback.
I personally disagree with this, sinc there really are many [both real
and potential] users of Free Software who live in low-bandwidth areas.
Yes, there might be services which download software from the net and
write CD-R's for you, but do we know that such services exist (and will
continue to exist) in all those areas?
    * There was some neccessity to rewrite the explicit patent license.
There is no change in function.
    * Introduce some new wording such as the concept of "conveying a
copy" rather than using the term propagation (or even the old US-centric
"distribution"). This wording tries to depart from any US legal terms
and rather defines some own terms. As a side-effect, it cleanly solves
cases such like peer-to-peer sharing networks (where every downloading
user also distributes [partial] copies to other users.

Also, as I figured from conversations with Eben and David, to my
personal pleasure and acknowledgement, the wording of the "60 days
clause" has been changed in a way to make its intent quite a bit more

Another interesting point was the fact that I learned about a detail in
GPLv2. Apparently the Section 3b (accompany object code with a written
offer to provide the source code later on a physical storage medium) was
never intended for online distribution. This paragraph was only meant
for physical distribution. All online object code distribution should
actually also have online source code distirbution. Unfortunately this
intent didn't actually become visible in the license, and now we have
cases like Buffalo, where the vendor tries to actually make it as hard
as possible to obtain source code (only one product source code per cd,
have user send a CD-R with return envelope, plus some fee for copying,
for each version of the firmware).

Oh, and how does Steve Ballmers blood pressure fit into the picture?
Eben Moglen gave one of his most eloquent and visionary presentations,
in which he interpreted recent and current events in and around Micrsoft
as the signs of the eve of the downfall, and that Free Software will be
keeping Mr. Ballmers blood pressure at high levels ;)



reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]