Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 13th Oct 2006 21:00 UTC, submitted by Luis
GNU, GPL, Open Source "There has been lots of talk over the past few years about open source license proliferation. I'm generally of the mind that if you can't solve the problem with the GPL, MPL, or BSD, it's not a licensing problem worth solving. I've therefore been interested to watch the progress of the European Union Public License (Draft here). The EU has stated its rationale (which the Free Software Foundation doesn't buy), but let me add one big reason of my own."
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First impression: long and confusing
by zielaj on Fri 13th Oct 2006 21:37 UTC
zielaj
Member since:
2006-01-11

My first impression of EUPL is that it is way too long: 67 pages, counting with the whole commentary. It lacks the succinctness and simplicity of GPL, which might make many developers hesitant to adopt it, regardless of its actual merits. Too put it simply: I feel insecure adopting a licence I don't understand.

Judging from some comments in a debian newsgroup, the current version of EUPL contains a number of confusing or unclear statements. It should therefore be considered a very early draft. Details at

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/linux.debian.legal/browse_thread/t...

Edited 2006-10-13 21:48

Reply Score: 2

Ronald Vos Member since:
2005-07-06

67 pages of license? What are you talking about? It's 67 pages of a paper outlining the need for a different kind of license. The main proposal runs from page 53 to 60, and that's spaced out generously, including commentary. The other proposal is to adapt the OSL v 2.1, proposed on pages 46-52; it seems long untill you see the narrow column they squeezed it in in order to put commentary next to it.

I think their assesment of available licenses is reasonably valid; what the GPL v2 runs afoul of, as stated in the linked articles, is the ASP-loophole. AKA running your webservice using modified GPL software and not having to contribute (code/cash) back (like Google is doing) because they're not actively 'distributing' it. However, this could perhaps best be solved by adding a paragraph to the GPL v2 linking 'communicating' with 'distributing' like the Honest Public License does:
http://www.funambol.com/blog/capo/2006/08/honest-public-license.htm...

Or perhaps waiting for GPLv3, which is GPL compatible as well, which does have a certain amount of advantages. Then again, there are some objections raised against GPLv3, so perhaps a EUPL isn't such a bad idea. I'm just worried noone will ever use it since it's incompatible with a large number of licenses out there.

EDIT: then again, upon closer examination, it seems the goal for the license is mainly to be used with software the EU develops for itself. So the main concern is compatibility with other software, and NOT being viral. So GPL/HPL is out of the question.

Edited 2006-10-13 22:14

Reply Score: 3

Correction
by zielaj on Fri 13th Oct 2006 22:04 UTC in reply to "First impression: long and confusing"
zielaj Member since:
2006-01-11

I followed the wrong link; the actual licence has only 7 pages, so please ignore the first paragraph in my previous comment. Sorry.

Reply Score: 5

I see what he means. Sort of. Maybe not.
by Michael on Fri 13th Oct 2006 23:03 UTC
Michael
Member since:
2005-07-01

Trouble is, you couldn't play UT2K4 on linux if the GPL didn't "leak like a sieve". It might be tight but it won't be popular.

Then again, it might not be tight. Anyone can download and use whatever software they like (e.g. the NVidia drivers) provided they don't distribute, or in this case communicate the whole thing. But what if you communicate it in two seperate-but-easily-joinable parts? Same old problem.

Then there's the "if I give you some GPL'd stuff of mine (which is actually someone else's stuff that I've slightly modified) which you modify but don't release under the GPL, then it's up to me to sue you, and if we both work for Google, that's unlikely to happen" problem.

Have either of these problems been solved by the EUPL, the GPLv3 or anything else? (and if they have, then you're back in no binary drivers land)

EDIT: It's late and licenses confuse me at the best of times so sorry if that was nonsense.

Edited 2006-10-13 23:07

Reply Score: 5

CowMan Member since:
2006-09-26

Licenses are confusing. Who reads them anyway? Down with licenses! The information WANTS TO BE FREEEEEEEE!!!!
:P

Reply Score: 1

I don't like it
by Vorlath on Fri 13th Oct 2006 23:05 UTC
Vorlath
Member since:
2005-12-03

I read it and there are a few things that bother me. First, it's that any revision of the license by the EU is binding as soon as the licensor becomes aware of it. I don't trust lawyers, so why would I ever want to use a license where *I* don't have the final say. It's ridiculous.

Secondly, I could find nothing in the license that talks about what the author of this article mentions. There is nothing that says someone can't keep doing what Google does by using OSS and never publishing the updates. Communication just means any form of transmission of the source or binaries.

The compatibility clause is contradictory to the Copyleft clause. Maybe a notwithstanding clause would have helped.

I don't know about the statuary product liability clause, but it sounds scary. I don't choose where you use the software or if you even install it correctly. I don't get why the licensor is liable for someone else's usage of the code.

And finally, the section that if any part of the license is not applicable, then this does not invalidate the entire license. Rather, that section is adapted to fit the situation, so to speak. This is in contradiction to the Copyleft clause that says you can't add any modifications or restrictions to the license. Besides, shouldn't the control always be with the Copyright holder?

There's too much here that actually takes away control from the OSS and to the authors of the license itself which are presumably lawyers. NO NO NO!!! I don't like it at all.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I don't like it
by Luis on Sat 14th Oct 2006 11:59 UTC in reply to "I don't like it"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

I agree with your first statement. That final comment on section 15 is bad (though this happens with other licenses too). They should leave to the copyright holders the right to choose which version of the license to use.

However, the compatibility clause is not contradictory to copyleft. In fact, this clause is the best thing of this license and should be addopted by the rest of the copyleft licenses:

Copyleft licenses are, by definition, incompatible between them. They all force you to release a derivative works under the same license, so you can never merge two pieces of Free software that have a different copyleft license. This is a loss for the OSS community, a bad restriction. The resulting software would be Free and would have copyleft, so why can't it be merged? Just because the two licenses are protecting the same thing and are, thus, incompatible.

The compatibility clause solves this problem by saying: "You can release your derivative work under the same license or one of these others: XXX,XYZ,ABC,etc..." And they put there the licenses they approve as being equal to the terms of the given license. Those licenses would also be Free, copyleft licenses, so nothing would really change (except the name of the license), and it would solve the stupid compatibility problem that only goes against the OSS community.

Reply Score: 1

Interesting quote from FSF Europe
by sbergman27 on Sat 14th Oct 2006 03:58 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

From the Free Software Europe statement:

"""Generally, writing new licenses for Free Software is a well-meaning, but ill-advised activity that usually diminishes the usefulness of the software released under it, in the worst case to the point of becoming useless"""

Wow, FSF Europe just described, perfectly, my feelings about the planned GPLv3.

Reply Score: 5

Lambda
Member since:
2006-07-28

Bottom line is that in the US all these licenses that try to close the "Google" loophole are completely invalid. It's just basic copyright law regarding distribution of copyrightable material.

So GPLv3 and EUPL and any other license that tries to close these loopholes will be invalid (or those clauses at least) in the US

Reply Score: 1

Lambda Member since:
2006-07-28

Bottom line Moulinneuf is that your rabid zealotry doesn't invalidate copyright law. Sorry to burst your bubble, but the GPL or EUPL or some random EULA of a game or Microsoft product can throw a lot of junk into a EULA, but that doesn't make it valid. You need to brush up on copyright law, which has everything to do with distribution of copyrighted material.

Reply Score: 2

Moulinneuf Member since:
2005-07-06

Bottom line is you have absolutely nothing valid or accurate to say at all , beside projecting your action on me ( rabid zealotry ) , you also dicuss copyright law as if you possess any knowledge or anything valid to say about it.

Come up with a real life Judge that in a court of law invalidated the GPL in any shape way or form , then I will consider entertaining your fabulation and wishfull thinking about the GPL , as then and only then they will be a valid and accurate fact in reality.

Reply Score: 0

Lambda Member since:
2006-07-28

And once again, in your rabid zealotry, you are incapable of addressing the facts. The validity or the invalidity of the GPL isn't even the issue here. I am talking about copyright law and how it relies to distribution, and which has nothing to do with GPL v2, but might have something to do with GPL v3.

The so-called "download button" clause is invalid because of copyright law, and there is nothing that your FSF religion can do about it.

Reply Score: 1

Lambda Member since:
2006-07-28

Moulineuf, if you're A#1 rabid FSF/GNU/GPL zealot then you should at least work on your communication skills, because you're completely incoherent.

And I'm not interested in your GNU/FSF/GNU propaganda. I've heard it a million times before. It's irrelevant to me.

The only issue is copyright and distribution. And it's totally clear that you don't really understand the issue here. I'm sure you'll be full of religious fervor once you find out that the "close the Google loophole" is completely unenforceable, and will make the GPL v3 looks like a Microsoft EULA if it's left in.

Reply Score: 2

StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

He's less valid than a doctorate degree, eh?

Did you have difficulty figuring that out, or was it as easy as a bridge?

Reply Score: 1

Priorities
by PowerMacX on Sat 14th Oct 2006 04:47 UTC
PowerMacX
Member since:
2005-11-06

1. I think my code could be useful to other people, so let them use/modify it, and build whatever they want with it: BSD
2. I think my code is worth $$$ and I rather make it by selling my soft, not tech support: proprietary
3. I think that forcing people to provide access to any code I "shared" and any code they made in connection to it is more important than allowing them to use it without restrictions: GPLvX
4. I wanted to be a lawyer, but got suck writing code: GPLv3, EUPL

Reply Score: 5

v RE: Priorities
by Moulinneuf on Sat 14th Oct 2006 10:38 UTC in reply to "Priorities"
RE[2]: Priorities
by hamster on Sat 14th Oct 2006 13:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Priorities"
hamster Member since:
2006-10-06

Fsf doesnt care about open source.. they are only into their own thing. Atleast thats what rms likes tio point out.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Priorities
by pinky on Sat 14th Oct 2006 14:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Priorities"
pinky Member since:
2005-07-15

>Fsf doesnt care about open source.

Yes, but they care about Free Software. And i'm glad that they do because freedom is much more important than a development method or the opportunity to see the code.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Priorities
by StephenBeDoper on Mon 16th Oct 2006 00:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Priorities"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

It's not "freedom," it's GNU/Freedom!

Reply Score: 1

Bla bla...
by Marcellus on Sat 14th Oct 2006 05:00 UTC
Marcellus
Member since:
2005-08-26

The last version of the EUPL we were presented with was a copyleft, GPL incompatible Free Software license. We are therefore sceptical about its usefulness and would rather propose to cooperate on the further evolution of the GNU General Public License (GPL) for whichthe FSFE would be the European contact point and will gladly work with the Commission.

GPL incompatible? Like how GPLv3 is not compatible with v2 because of additional restrictions?

for the other part it sounds like FSFE just wants to be the sole arbiter of an official EU Free Software license.

I haven't read the EUPL yet myself, so I can't say if it's Free Software or Open Source Software that is the target for this license. It sounds like the EU is just riding on the F/OSS populism wave though.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Bla bla...
by h3rman on Sat 14th Oct 2006 08:56 UTC in reply to "Bla bla..."
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

>> I haven't read the EUPL yet myself, so I can't say if it's Free Software or Open Source Software that is the target for this license. It sounds like the EU is just riding on the F/OSS populism wave though.

I think real populism is to start speculating about things you've never even read.

It hardly takes a genius to discover that the software patent hell that some corporate forces are dragging us into is something to protect real innovation from. And this is what the EU is acknowledging. To call this populism is a self-disqualifier.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Bla bla...
by Marcellus on Sat 14th Oct 2006 14:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Bla bla..."
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

Having read the license, my opinion that EU is just riding the populism wave is unchanged.

It hardly takes a genius to discover that the software patent hell that some corporate forces are dragging us into is something to protect real innovation from. And this is what the EU is acknowledging. To call this populism is a self-disqualifier.

If it's patents they are concerned about, they can target the patent system instead of wasting tax money on something like the EUPL.

Reply Score: 1

v RE: Bla bla...
by Moulinneuf on Sat 14th Oct 2006 10:56 UTC in reply to "Bla bla..."
RE[2]: Bla bla...
by Marcellus on Sat 14th Oct 2006 13:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Bla bla..."
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

I had not read it yet when I made my post because I didn't have time to read it. I have read it now, and my original post needs no changes

GPLv3 adds restrictions that are not there in GPLv2. In GPLv2 there is a clause that forbids additional restrictions. How does that make them compatible?

Reply Score: 2

Please shed some light on this
by pandronic on Sat 14th Oct 2006 08:14 UTC
pandronic
Member since:
2006-05-18

Forgive my vague knowledge on this matter.

I know that one cannot distribute closed software linked to GPL software (like the nVidia/ATI drivers and the Linux kernel), but what about distributing closed software with something that is BSD licensed - like the FreeBSD kernel - or EUPL licensed? Is that legal?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Please shed some light on this
by h3rman on Sat 14th Oct 2006 09:03 UTC in reply to "Please shed some light on this"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

I know that one cannot distribute closed software linked to GPL software (like the nVidia/ATI drivers and the Linux kernel), but what about distributing closed software with something that is BSD licensed - like the FreeBSD kernel - or EUPL licensed? Is that legal?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD_license#Proprietary_software_licen...
The answer seems to be yes, as long as the software that originally came with the BSD license will not be hijacked.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Please shed some light on this
by Morin on Sat 14th Oct 2006 13:05 UTC in reply to "Please shed some light on this"
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> [...] but what about distributing closed software with
> something that is BSD licensed - like the FreeBSD kernel [...]

With BSDL, this is possible, as long as you respect the BSDL. That is, keep the no-warranty disclaimer and copyright notices intact.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Please shed some light on this
by eMagius on Sun 15th Oct 2006 00:21 UTC in reply to "Please shed some light on this"
eMagius Member since:
2005-07-06

what about distributing closed software with something that is BSD licensed - like the FreeBSD kernel - or EUPL licensed? Is that legal?

It's perfectly acceptable (and even encouraged) with the BSDL.

It also appears to be acceptable with the EUPL, as long as the EUPL portion is made available in source code form.

Edited 2006-10-15 00:24

Reply Score: 1

Any lawyer around here?
by dimosd on Sat 14th Oct 2006 10:52 UTC
dimosd
Member since:
2006-02-10

I don't know much about the law and I don't want to risk speculating on legal terminology... So if anyone around here actually knows a thing or two about the law (preferably european law), could you please answer 2 of my questions.

1) By using GPL, to I assign the copyright or the right/duty to protect the legal status of my work to the GNU Foundation?

2) Is EUPL more like GPLv2, GPLv3 or BSD?

If #1 is right, assigning some kind of rights to a USA based foundation -no matter how well intending-, governed by USA law, EU had to invent its own OSS licence for software to be used by the government. Otherwise a foreign state could pull the carpet anytime.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Any lawyer around here?
by Luis on Sat 14th Oct 2006 11:36 UTC in reply to "Any lawyer around here?"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

I'm not a lawyer, so don't take my answer as definitive (I'm European, though, and studied law for 3 years).

#1 - NO. By using the GPL you keep the copyright yourself and the right/duty to protect it. The problem is that you do assign the right to modify the license to the FSF, so you somehow do lose control over it (this is one of the problems mentioned in the paper examining the licenses).

#2 - They want to EUPL to be a copyleft license, so definitely it won't be a BSD-like license, but rather a GPL-like one. It will force you to release modified works under the same terms, though it allows you to link proprietary software to EUPL software, so it could be like LGPL in this regard.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Any lawyer around here?
by Marcellus on Sat 14th Oct 2006 14:13 UTC in reply to "Any lawyer around here?"
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

EUPL is more like GPLv2 as the current (v0.2 draft) version doesn't do anything to close the so-called "ASP hole".

Reply Score: 1

LGPL
by iwod on Sat 14th Oct 2006 11:43 UTC
iwod
Member since:
2006-05-02

"so it could be like LGPL in this regard."

Thx. So basically to sum it up it is like a LGPL - Try to fix google loophole edition ?

Reply Score: 1

RE: LGPL
by Luis on Sat 14th Oct 2006 12:17 UTC in reply to "LGPL"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

>Thx. So basically to sum it up it is like a LGPL - Try to fix google loophole edition ?

Yes, basically that's the idea. The rest are small points (to use European terminology instead of American, to keep the right to modify the license themselves instead of relying on someone else, subtle changes in liability clause,...)

Reply Score: 1

Paternalism and duh!
by pfortuny on Sat 14th Oct 2006 18:01 UTC
pfortuny
Member since:
2006-02-05

Mmmhhh:

Not literally quoted (lazy), but "writing new free software licence is an ill-advice activity".

OK, dad. Now, may I return later than 11:00 this night? By the way, dad, did you realize (I know this has already been addressed) that YOU are writing another licence?

I GOT IT: If the EU calls it "draft 0.9 of an attepmt towards a licencing scheme" then it won't be a new licence (it probably needs a 1.0 to be a complete licence) and it may not be as ill adviced? Or they might as well call it "Public Domain v2" and it won't be a new licence, either.

(aside: I also think writing new "free" licences is ill-adviced, but I won't pretend I am right on this and try to state it as common-knowledge).

2c. For free.

Pedro.

Reply Score: 1

Only English and French?!?
by osterfrank on Sat 14th Oct 2006 20:24 UTC
osterfrank
Member since:
2006-10-14

This EU paper says there must be English and French versions of this license. Why only English and French? There are more native speakers of German in Europe than of English and French, and overall, there are more people in the EU speaking German than people speaking French (as a native or foreign language).

So you would assume that the license should be available in English, German and French, and if you would only want two languages, for some strange reason, these two languages would have to be English and German.

The only counter-argument would be that one should not only look at the EU, but at whole world, because programs under this license could be used world-wide. In this case it would be true that world-wide, more people understand French than German. But then Spanish would easlily beat French, too, and the license would have to be made available in English and Spanish.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Only English and French?!?
by Luis on Sat 14th Oct 2006 21:14 UTC in reply to "Only English and French?!?"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

I totally agree. Giving preference to English and French without a good reason is unfair and it doesn't help at all to make other Europeans trust the license.

They should either translate it to all the languages in the EU or, if they want to choose two, then do it according to some criteria. If it's the number of speakers in the EU, then German and French should be chosen. If it's EU languages most spoken in the world, then Spanish and English. Choosing English and French is arbitrary and makes no sense. They should be more careful with these kind of decisions.

Reply Score: 1

Is it stupidity or what is it?
by Haicube on Sat 14th Oct 2006 21:06 UTC
Haicube
Member since:
2005-08-06

Let's think about this for a second.

EU is financed by citizens and companys in Europe, as in the members of the European union. How is it financed? Taxes. Reasonably, the whole point with taxing companies and citisens is by thinking society might be able to provide something in return to people which is of benefit and can not be done alone.

So let's see here. If the taxes are paid by citizens AND companies, wouldn't it be so that the best license applicable to suit everyones benefit is simple Public Domain? That way, everyone who pays have the benefit of getting back what they have invested through taxes.

Geeez, sometimes I wonder what is the delusion in politicians heads.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Is it stupidity or what is it?
by Luis on Sat 14th Oct 2006 21:29 UTC in reply to "Is it stupidity or what is it?"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

It depends on how you see it. The reason why they don't want to release it under the public domain (or a BSD-like license) is because they think that it doesn't benefit the community (citizens and companies) as much as a copyleft license. Under the public domain, the changes that someone makes to the code would just belong to that someone, while under a copyleft license it will belong (more or less) to the community (unless the modified code is just used privately and not redistributed, in which case it would just belong to its author).

Reply Score: 1

CanuckleFrog Member since:
2005-07-29

Under the public domain, the changes that someone makes to the code would just belong to that someone, while under a copyleft license it will belong (more or less) to the community (unless the modified code is just used privately and not redistributed, in which case it would just belong to its author).

Just come out and say it. It's a freaking socialist political statement instead of what's really fair. Just like the GPL, but instead of a nutjob like RMS behind the GPL you've got an entire political entity. I'm not surprised that crap would come from the EUrinal.

Reply Score: 0

mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

no, think of code contributed as to the "club" as opposed to individual ownership. That's actually a key difference between FSF projects and Linux. FSF holds the assignments to copyright for all the offical patches.. where there is no over all "linux body" that is assigned copyright to all the Linux parts... One submits one particular work to the community, attaches a license to it, and it's just sort of out there. The author's work is done. If they take that orginal work and want money for it that's legal too! they retain all their rights. now, Anybody can continue the progression of the licensed program with patches and new features, but only the person who started the "chain" can change it..and once patches are commited, all those people would have to agree as well!

So it's a huge issue... It's about to hit the fan with GPL3 because there is no method to "update" license terms in many licenses, it's not as "socalist" as you think it is.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Is it stupidity or what is it?
by mabhatter on Mon 16th Oct 2006 07:01 UTC in reply to "Is it stupidity or what is it?"
mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

"So let's see here. If the taxes are paid by citizens AND companies, wouldn't it be so that the best license applicable to suit everyones benefit is simple Public Domain? That way, everyone who pays have the benefit of getting back what they have invested through taxes. "

PD is the worst because it's essentially "uncopyrighted" in the US the legal use of "Public domain" is a legal fallacy just like "IP". PD is a discription of something perported to have fallen out of license term, you cannot assign something outright to PD.. authors do it, but it's not legally enforceable.

Also, PD doesn't do much to protect the work, it just makes it free, like beer at a frat party... nobody comes around in the morning to help clean up afterwards. The big companies will all immediately fork, and recopyright whatever work is released, the little guy may never know it exists, or the version that is "free" won't be useable with any actualy mainstream product (kerberos!). Of course, putting the work into another license project works too as well as PD, but which one do developers work on? That's the trouble we have with Wine for instance.. you can't develop for both forks past a certian point or your "corrupting" one of the versions and get into licensing trouble.

Reply Score: 1