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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- FSF: "iPhone restricts users, GPLv3 frees

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- FSF: "iPhone restricts users, GPLv3 frees them"
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 13:20:19 +0200


iPhone restricts users, GPLv3 frees them  

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA—Thursday, June 28, 2007—On Friday, June 29,
not everyone in the continental U.S. will be waiting in line to purchase
a $500 iPhone. In fact, hundreds of thousands of digital aficionados
around the globe won't be standing in line at all, for June 29 marks the
release of version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Version 2
of the GPL governs the world's largest body of free software—software
that is radically reshaping the industry and threatening the proprietary
technology model represented by the iPhone. 

The author of the the GPL is Professor Richard M. Stallman, president
and founder of the Free Software Foundation, and creator of the GNU
Project. With his first revision of the license in sixteen years,
version 3 of the GPL fights the most recent attempts to take the freedom
out of free software—most notably, version 3 attacks “Tivoization”—and
that could be a problem for Apple and the iPhone. 

Now, from China to India, from Venezuela to Brazil, from Tivos to cell
phones: Free software is everywhere and it is slowly building a
worldwide movement of users demanding that they have control over the
computers and electronic devices they own. 

Tivoization and the iPhone?

“Tivoization” is a term coined by the FSF to describe devices that are
built with free software, but that use technical measures to prevent the
user from making modifications to the software—a fundamental freedom for
free software users—and an attack on free software that the GPLv3 will
put a stop to. 

The iPhone is leaving people questioning: Does it contain GPLed
software? What impact will the GPLv3 have on the long-term prospects for
devices like the iPhone that are built to keep their owners frustrated? 

Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF said, “Tomorrow, Steve Jobs
and Apple release a product crippled with proprietary software and
digital restrictions: crippled, because a device that isn't under the
control of its owner works against the interests of its owner. We know
that Apple has built its operating system, OS X, and its web browser
Safari, using GPL-covered work—it will be interesting to see to what
extent the iPhone uses GPLed software.” 

The GNU GPL version 3 will be released at 12:00pm (EDT)—six hours before
the release of the iPhone—bringing to a close eighteen months of public
outreach and comment, in revision of the world's most popular free
software license. 

About the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL)The GNU GPL is the most
widely used free software license worldwide: almost three quarters of
all free software packages are distributed under this license. It is
not, however, the only free software license. 
Richard Stallman wrote the version 1 and 2 of the GNU GPL with legal
advice from Perkins, Smith & Cohen. Version 1 was released in 1989, and
version 2 in 1991. Since 1991, free software use has increased
tremendously, and computing practices have changed, introducing new
opportunities and new threats. In 2005, Stallman began revising the GPL
for version 3. In January 2006, the FSF began a systematic process of
public review and feedback, with legal advice and organizational support
from the Software Freedom Law Center. 

About the GNU Operating System and LinuxRichard Stallman announced in
September 1983 the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating
system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system developed
specifically for the sake of users' freedom. See 

In 1992, the essential components of GNU were complete, except for one,
the kernel. When in 1992 the kernel Linux was re-released under the GNU
GPL, making it free software, the combination of GNU and Linux formed a
complete free operating system, which made it possible for the first
time to run a PC without non-free software. This combination is the
GNU/Linux system. For more explanation, see 

The GNU GPL is used by developers with various views, but it was written
to serve the ethical goals of the free software movement. Says Stallman,
“The GNU GPL makes sense in terms of its purpose: freedom and social
solidarity. Trying to understand it in terms of the goals and values of
open source is like trying understand a CD drive's retractable drawer as
a cupholder. You can use it for that, but that is not what it was
designed for.” 

About The Free Software FoundationThe Free Software Foundation, founded
in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study,
copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the
development and use of free (as in freedom) software—particularly the
GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants—and free documentation
for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical
and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Its Web site,
located at, is an important source of information about
GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA. 

Media ContactsJoshua Gay
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation

"Live cheaply," he said, offering some free advice. "Don't buy a house,
a car or have children. The problem is they're expensive and you have
to spend all your time making money to pay for them."

        -- Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman: 'Live Cheaply'

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