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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- internetnews: "Stallman Urges Users to Upg

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- internetnews: "Stallman Urges Users to Upgrade to GPLv3"
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 14:45:28 +0200

Stallman Urges Users to Upgrade to GPLv3 

By Sean Michael Kerner 

After nearly 16 years of use, the GPL -- the cornerstone license of the
Free Software Movement -- has officially been revised. 

GPL version 3 (GPLv3) was released today by the Free Software Foundation
(FSF), capping a turbulent 18-month period of debate and discussion. 

On a webcast from FSF's headquarters in Boston, FSF founder Richard
Stallman explained why GPLv3 is critical and encouraged all Free
Software users to adopt it quickly as a way to preserve software

"They thought of new ways to separate users from their freedom since GPL
version 2 came out," Stallman said in his webcast. "So we have had to
find ways of blocking them from doing this." 

The GPLv3 includes new provisions that prevent digital rights management
(DRM) usage with GPLv3 licensed code. It also includes new
internationalization terms, making the license more compatible globally. 

Stallman also noted that GPLv3 is now compatible with the Apache 2.0
license and includes new terms for termination in the event of license
violation that actually allow for remediation; the GPLv2 did not feature
such terms. 

Stallman saved some of his most intense remarks for his comments on
patent protections which are improved in GPLv3 and specifically geared
toward the Novell-Microsoft deal. 

"The Novell-Microsoft deal is dangerous because effectively Novell is
going to pay Microsoft to give customers protection from Microsoft
patents," Stallman said. 

"If Microsoft or anyone can make users pay for the privilege of running
Free Software that takes away the freedom to run the program as you
wish. We can't sit idly by and let that happen." 

Stallman explained that Novell and Microsoft slipped through a crack in
the GPLv2 license by striking a patent covenant and not a license. With
GPLv3, Stallman thinks that he's got a way to turn the deal against

"Instead of saying Novell can't distribute GPLv3 covered programs under
their deal, we found a cleverer thing to do with it," Stallman said. 

"When Novell upgrades to versions of software covered by the GPLv3,
GPLv3 will extend this patent protection from the customers of Novell to
everybody who uses those programs. Effectively, we found a way to turn
the deal against Microsoft and make it backfire." 

Accordingly, Stallman added that it's extremely important for Free
Software users to upgrade their licenses to GPLv3 so that Novell will
eventually put in the new version and the community will get this

Stallman advised viewers to be wary of those that advise against moving
to GPLv3. 

"They {those against GPLv3} usually disagree cause they disagree with
the GPL's goal of guaranteeing freedom for every user," Stallman said.
"Defend the users' freedom, don't listen to them. We have to defend the
users' freedom against these threats." 

"GPLv 3 will help our community in many ways and I urge people to
upgrade to it." 

The FSF also revealed today in its release that over 15 GNU programs
will be released under the new license today with the intention of
having the entire GNU project follow soon. 

But among the issues that will face existing GPLv2 users is the
incompatibility with GPLv3. 

"Reciprocal licenses cannot be compatible with each other," Black Duck
Software's Kat McCabe, vice president & general counsel, explained to 

"If you use code covered by a reciprocal license, that license requires
that it control the code when it's licensed back out. You can't have
multiple licenses that by their terms claim to govern a particular work
automatically. So, it's correct to say that "GPL2 only" code and GPL3
code are not compatible." 

The solution to the problem isn't entirely clear. McCabe noted that
Black Duck's solution allows users to distinguish between different
versions of the license so they can distinguish between "GPL2 only" and
GPL3 code. 

"Generally speaking though, there are a limited number projects that are
provided under "GPL2 only" licenses, for example the Linux kernel,"
McCabe said. 

"Most projects governed by GPL2 have language that says that the code is
governed by GPL2 or any later version of the license. That code can be
converted from GPL2 to GPL3 at the option of the user. In that case,
there is no license conflict." 

Jason Wacha, vice president of corporate affairs & general counsel at
MontaVista Software, sees the potential for some confusion between the
two licenses. 

If you mix version 2 with version 3 and then create a derivative work,
Wacha argued that it's not clear under which license the resulting work
needs to be offered under. 

Where version 2 and version are likely to co-exist in some fashion is
with the use of the GCC compiler, one way or another. 

"If, for some reason, GCC rolled to version 3 and there was no
exceptions for use under version 2 I would say that it is almost certain
that GCC would fork," Wacha stated. "It has forked in the past and it
will probably fork again if that happens -- that's my personal

Overall, MontaVista which develops Linux for the embedded market, isn't
worried about the GPL version 3. 

"It could affect some of our mobile carriers," Wach told "Overall they will probably avoid using code licensed
under the GPLv3 if possible and stick with version 2." 

With its new restrictive clauses on patents and DRM, the embedded market
likely isn't afraid of the GPLv3 either. 

"Our customers are used to working with licenses that are much more
restrictive than the GPL," Wacha said. "In my opinion, typical
proprietary licenses are much more restrictive in pretty much all
instances than the GPL." 


"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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