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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Lyons: Free as in ``difficult''

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- Lyons: Free as in ``difficult''
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 12:21:53 +0200

GPLv3 is an Eldorado for Dan.

Free as in “difficult”
October 13th, 2006 

“Free as in freedom” is the rallying cry of Richard M. Stallman’s Free
Software Foundation. But these guys are anything but easy to deal with, 
I learned while reporting an article about a new version of the GNU
General Public License (GPL) under which Linux is distributed. The
license is controlled by the Free Software Foundation; companies can
suggest changes, but Stallman has final say.

To get an idea what Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Novell and Red Hat are up
against, consider what happened when I emailed Stallman’s sidekick and
attorney, Columbia Law School professor Eben Moglen, asking about
whether GPLv2 code (the current stuff) would be compatible with GPLv3
code (the next generation).

I was encouraged to ask this question by Stuart Cohen, chief executive
of Open Source Development Labs, the vendor-funded consortium that
employs Linus Torvalds and supports Linux development. Cohen had been in
touch with Moglen and was urging him to make a commitment that v2 and v3
code would be able to work together.

Yet Moglen responded to my email with a message marked “NOT FOR
QUOTATION” (centered, all caps) in which he laid out his “groundrules”
for answering my question, which included the following:

* a demand that I provide a direct quote from Cohen, rather than a

* a demand that I clarify the meaning of the word “commitment”;

* an explanation of whether Forbes was seeking Moglen’s personal
opinion, his opinion as mediator of the GPLv3 drafting process, or a
statement of the position of the Free Software Foundation, which Moglen

Sheesh. That’s in response to a simple email asking one question.
Imagine trying to haggle out a complex software license with this guy.


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