Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Jul 2007 18:12 UTC, submitted by deanlinkous
GNU, GPL, Open Source "Now that Microsoft has declared itself untouched by any GPLv3 terms, everyone is trying to figure out if they have a leg to stand on. There is a whole lot of analysis going on, with some wondering if Microsoft is a distributor of software under GPLv3 by means of the voucher distribution and others wondering just what those vouchers included."
Order by: Score:
Consider for a moment.
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:02 UTC
Googlesaurus
Member since:
2005-10-19

Consider for a moment MS can't be held to GPLv3 simply because they have had no interaction with it. They have touched nothing involving the license, and you can bet the farm they won't. The voucher argument is worthless, GPLv3 didn't exist at the time of the agreement with Novell.

The column which recently appeared on Grolaw is a lot of speculation, coupled with a healthy dose of wishful thinking. Neither of which will hold a drop of water.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Consider for a moment.
by zizban on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:19 UTC in reply to "Consider for a moment."
zizban Member since:
2005-07-06

Nope.

The coupons for SLES had no expiration date. Someone could turn on in a year from now, or two years then sure as heck MS will be bound by GPLV3. Whether or not V3 existed when MS and Novell came up with this irrelevant. The fact it does and the fact those coupons are out there makes it just a matter of time.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
RE[3]: Consider for a moment.
by twenex on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:18 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Consider for a moment."
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

"The coupons for SLES had no expiration date."

Brilliant..... According to MS they just expired.


So...a coupon which until now had no expiration date just expired without warning because Microsoft said it did. Way to please the customer.

WHEN will people learn that dealing with Microsoft is like being in a remake of "Plan 9"? Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by TaterSalad on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
TaterSalad Member since:
2005-07-06

Does anyone have a coupon? I'd like to see the wording on it. A lot of people said it has no expiration date but does it have any other legal jargon saying the coupon will be invalid if certain conditions are not met?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Consider for a moment.
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Consider for a moment."
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"Does anyone have a coupon? I'd like to see the wording on it."

Yup.... Me too.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Consider for a moment.
by wirespot on Wed 11th Jul 2007 09:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Consider for a moment."
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Why not read Eben Moglen's breakdown for it?
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070518124020691

Reply Score: 2

RE: Consider for a moment.
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:45 UTC in reply to "Consider for a moment."
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

the point the article makes (and you ignore) is that if / when novell want to start shipping gpl3 covered code MS will no longer be able to provide vouchers that escape the terms of GPL3 with regard to being 'secondarily liable' for propagating GPL3 code.

So MS has three choices: comply with GPLv3 (extremely unlikely), cancel it's deal with novell or carry on regardless and let the chips fall where they may (i.e. go to court with GNU/FSF and anyone else with GPLv3 code used by novell (redhat? samba? etc etc)).

Realistically, the most likely is that they drop the novel deal. The only hiccup with that is that apparently the current vouchers have no expiration date on them. Much has been made about this but I don't see a real problem besides having to give someone their money back (am I wrong on this point?). I don't think that it can be used to force MS to convey a GPLv3 work

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 20:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"the point the article makes (and you ignore) is that if / when novell want to start shipping gpl3 covered code MS will no longer be able to provide vouchers that escape the terms of GPL3 with regard to being 'secondarily liable' for propagating GPL3 code."

So.... They stop.
Next.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: Consider for a moment.
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Consider for a moment."
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

"Next"

Pro- or anti- GPL/FSF/Novell/MS the ramifications of a community license changing the behavior of some of the IT sector's largest players at a time when the future of the industry is probably less certain than at any other time in at least the last 10 to 15 years (not just because of this license issue but also from the likes of google, out sourcing / off shoring and a whole mess of other reasons) then I think this issue can probably survive a bit deeper consideration than 'Next'

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Consider for a moment.
by lemur2 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 00:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

carry on regardless and let the chips fall where they may (i.e. go to court with GNU/FSF and anyone else with GPLv3 code used by novell (redhat? samba? etc etc)).


Just to clarify the point, if Microsoft decide to "carry on regardless" then so will GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux will not initiate any court action.

The purpose of the patent provisions and the "conveying" language in GPLv3 is not to be able to take Microsoft to court, but rather in the event that Microsoft takes GNU/Linux to court over claimed patents, to provide a defense that Microsoft has "conveyed" GNU/Linux itself and has hence given braod patent indemnification to all GNU/Linux recipients.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Consider for a moment.
by butters on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:04 UTC in reply to "Consider for a moment."
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

The voucher argument is worthless because the propagation of the voucher cannot, to my understanding, be interpreted as enabling anybody to receive or make copies of GPLv3 software. There is nothing preventing anybody from receiving copies of GPLv3 software that Novell may soon distribute without purchasing or redeeming a voucher.

For all of the language in the GPLv3 about conveyance and its broader definition than distribution, it's hard to imagine an act of conveyance that is not also an act of distribution. A party either provides a means for another party to receive a copy of software, or they don't. If another party comes along and makes an offer where anybody that pays a certain fee will receive an autographed photo of Bill Gates when they receive software from the first party, that does not encompass conveyance.

What actions enable somebody to receive a copy of GPLv3 software? What actions preclude certain parties, but not others, from receiving GPLv3 software? If a covered work is distributed (in the GPLv2 sense) freely on the Internet, is there any possible way for a party to convey (in the GPLv3 sense) the covered work without also distributing it? In what practical way is conveyance broader than distribution?

The Microsoft/Novell deal is not likely to be materially affected by the GPLv3 despite the FSF's best efforts. Unfortunately, the deal happened, and the GPLv3 came to late to do anything about it. Now we have a license that will severely impact the more recent covenant parties and prevent these deals from happening in the future.

What I hope we have learned from this experience is that software vendors face market pressures that drive them to take advantage of free software in unexpected ways. We cannot set out on a Wilsonian quest to make the world safe for free software. While free software is a wonderful licensing and development model, it doesn't necessarily travel well. Our community is uniquely adapted to free software, and we must learn to coexist with the proprietary software world in a system of mutual respect.

Central to this relationship is a firm policy for protecting our freedom. We will not negotiate with patent terrorists. We will respect their intellectual property, but we will not license undisclosed patents, and we will not license patents exclusively. When patent holders sit down at the negotiating table, they are dealing with the entire free software community, not with individual vendors or projects.

The GPLv3 is the Monroe Doctrine of free software, our line in the sand. Our rejection of the proprietary software world's ambitions to build an intellectual property bridge and install proxy vendors in our community. A policy of laissez faire is no longer a suitable model for core components of a free software platform. We can't, we won't, and we shouldn't impose free software on the unwilling and the unready. But neither should be permit them from imposing their will on us.

We're not going to be able to revoke Novell's right to distribute GPLv3 software, but we can destabilize their business. I've been calling for the openSUSE community to abandon Novell since shortly after the deal was announced, and I'm still waiting for action. They can't compete without our help. It's our way of imposing trade sanctions. What will it take to leave Novell behind? What's your version of Kennedy's thousand cigars?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Consider for a moment.
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Consider for a moment."
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

"To “propagate” a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law"

Its hard to imagine a legal argument that could prevent party A from being "secondarily liable" if they sell a coupon you can redeem at party B for a copyright infringing work.

Also

"If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it."

It is hard to see how Novell (xandros et al) could distribute GPLv3 software and not be in violation of this clause, unless MS agree to extend their patent protection to the entire universe. If they don't Novell can't release v3 software. The deal is sunk.

Reply Score: 5

It's a more complicated case than that
by JoeBuck on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:26 UTC
JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

I suppose that even if the Groklaw argument is correct, Microsoft and Novell could get out of it by insisting that the coupons are only good for the existing and now shipping Novell Linux distribution, and security updates for that distribution, and then Novell would keep any GPLv3 code out of it, saving it for the new release. The coupons wouldn't be good for the new release. Then Microsoft wouldn't be in effect selling GPLv3 code.

On the other hand, Novell might be tempted not to play; it might be in their interest, now that the deal is signed but Novell will need GPLv3 code, to ensnare Microsoft in a gotcha.

Reply Score: 1

pepa Member since:
2005-07-08

It looks like Novell is actually eager to propagate GPLv3 licenced software:
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=20...

Microsoft is obviously scared that the coupons it sold will be redeemed for GPLv3 software, and is adamantly trying to distance itself from the GPLv3...

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I suppose that even if the Groklaw argument is correct, Microsoft and Novell could get out of it by insisting that the coupons are only good for the existing and now shipping Novell Linux distribution, and security updates for that distribution, and then Novell would keep any GPLv3 code out of it, saving it for the new release. The coupons wouldn't be good for the new release. Then Microsoft wouldn't be in effect selling GPLv3 code.

On the other hand, Novell might be tempted not to play; it might be in their interest, now that the deal is signed but Novell will need GPLv3 code, to ensnare Microsoft in a gotcha.


Novell have already said that their next release will include GPL v3 code.

http://www.heise.de/english/newsticker/news/92416

The easiest thing for both Microsoft and Novell to do now is to drop the deal.

The best outcome (for nearly everyone) would be for Microsoft to join the OIN and the Patent Commons, trade their patents and its own, reveal its networking protocol as the EU wants them to do, implement a proper ODF solution in Office 2007, and happily join in all the open goodness.

I can't see the best outcome happening, myself.

So I guess the most likely is that the Novell/Microsoft deal will be scrapped, and Microsoft will come up with yet another strategy to try to kill FOSS.

Reply Score: 4

wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Novell cannot really do that. They would have to either (a) fork all the GPLv2 packages and maintain them themselves, which you have to agree is a monster job; or (b) stop upgrading packages that move to GPLv3, which would cripple SuSE.

Saying "we only meant the distribution out at that moment" won't work either, because clearly that was NOT what they meant. The deal was supposed to go on and on as SuSE evolves. They may TRY to find ways to weasel out, but they're fighting the terms they themselves set when they didn't think about the vouchers and GPLv3.

Reply Score: 2

graigsmith Member since:
2006-04-05

even if they only shipped existing versions of suse, they could STILL be held accountable. many things in the os, said version 2 or later.

Reply Score: 1

Hmm
by Xaero_Vincent on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:45 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

Microsoft isnt a distributor of GPLv3 because nothing in SLED is GPLv3 yet and Microsoft will probably give the coupons to some other company when it does.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hmm
by wirespot on Wed 11th Jul 2007 09:55 UTC in reply to "Hmm"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Nice one. Who on Earth would take them?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmm
by biteydog on Wed 11th Jul 2007 16:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmm"
biteydog Member since:
2005-10-06

Dell. They have already taken them off MS hands. Probably forced to as a punishment from MS for playing with Ubuntu.

Reply Score: 1

If it gets anyone...
by codehead78 on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:49 UTC
codehead78
Member since:
2006-08-04

...it would be Novell. They would actually be distributing the code. MS is not bound by the terms, Novell is. To boil it down, all a copyright license could say would be, you may not act as a distribution proxy for a third party.

GPL3 cannot touch MS code or patents because they are not distributing. Novell would just have to renegotiate their deal.

Reply Score: 2

RE: If it gets anyone...
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:54 UTC in reply to "If it gets anyone..."
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

yes, it does effect MS. the relevant quote is

"To “propagate” a work means to do anything with it that, without permission, would make you directly or secondarily liable for infringement under applicable copyright law"

MS's voucher scheme is covered under the 'secondarily liable' bit

Reply Score: 3

RE: If it gets anyone...
by shykid on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:57 UTC in reply to "If it gets anyone..."
shykid Member since:
2007-02-22

To boil it down, all a copyright license could say would be, you may not act as a distribution proxy for a third party.

I'm going to use this as an excuse to attempt to explain FSF and friends' point of view to the best of my knowledge (not that I necessarily agree with it). Others don't quite seem to get where they're coming from because, frankly, they're being confusing. Using loopholes to close loopholes can never be simple.

In giving out the vouchers, Microsoft is supposedly acting as a distribution proxy, i.e. they are effectively distributing SLED/SLES because the vouchers are used for the sole purpose of getting the product. And those vouchers include updates and support, so people are hoping that GPLv3 code will worm its way into SLED/SLES updates.

Luck is on their side right now, since Novell won't agree with Microsoft not to use GPLv3 code, and Microsoft can neither force them to do so nor modify the contents of the existing vouchers. Furthermore, Novell said it will redeem existing vouchers, and there is nothing Microsoft can do to stop it, AFAIK. Once one of those vouchers gets used, Microsoft can't sue for patent violation, assuming those unnamed patents actually exist.

At least that's what the FSF and Groklaw thinks. While all of that seems logical on the face of it, I think they're really grasping at straws here--we don't even know if any voucher redeemers will speak up when they wind up with GPLv3 software. A FSF victory could somehow happen, but it's not as likely as the the FSF and Groklaw would have you think.

I think there's a better chance of litigation happening because of the Xandros and Linspire deals. They're more clear cut (You have a patent deal; under the terms of our agreement you must share with us or stop using our code.), but who's not to say Linspire or Xandros won't just not use GPLv3 code? Not a wise thing to do for the sake of their products, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.

PJ's feminine charm and marvelous storytelling skills are getting to everyone's heads. I don't hold it against her, though--I don't think she intentionally spreads lies or FUD, and I don't quite think she's crossed the fangirl line yet, as she's still putting forth an effort to make sense and correct her mistakes. Then again, I've always had a soft spot for her; she's adorable in a naive-little-girl sort of way.

All of this is like a soap opera, except it's actually interesting to watch unfold. No less melodramatic or over-the-top, however.

Edited 2007-07-10 22:01

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: If it gets anyone...
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:07 UTC in reply to "RE: If it gets anyone..."
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

That seemed fairly reasonable up to the part where you made out that people were 'hoping' for gpl3 code to worm anywhere or that Novell accepting vouchers from a deal that MS would no longer be a party to would somehow rope them into complying with GPL3 conditions and this was a desired outcome espoused by PJ, Novell or anyone else.

The intention of this part of the GPLv3 is to clean up the situation where by one entity can distribute GPL code with implicit conditions patent protections that another entity could not. If the MS deal falls apart and everybody is back on an even footing then that is desired outcome. If MS chooses to be a party to the distribution of GPLv3 code and therefore extend patent protection to everyone who distributes that code then that is also a desired outcome.

The hope is to restore a level playing field, not to 'steal' anything from MS or anyone else

Reply Score: 5

RE: If it gets anyone...
by lemur2 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 00:26 UTC in reply to "If it gets anyone..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

GPL3 cannot touch MS code or patents because they are not distributing.


If this were true, then by the same arguement RIAA/MPAA could not touch Bittorrent sites either, because Bittorrent sites are not distributing and Bittorrent sites host no infringing files.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: If it gets anyone...
by codehead78 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 02:03 UTC in reply to "RE: If it gets anyone..."
codehead78 Member since:
2006-08-04

Let me be a little more clear. The provision cannot "trigger" broad indemnification. All that can happen is that Novell cannot accept the vouchers if THEY distribute, the current dealt would have to cease and be modified.. meaning the grandfather clause would no longer protect Novell.

As far as the bit torrent comparison, it doesn't fit because tracker sites have NO right to distribute the work. With the GPL, you can given you follow rules A through Z.

The GPL3 creates definition for what it considers to be secondary liability, which so far is really defined as helping someone else infringe who didn't need you to help them infringe in the first place.

On top of that definition, the GPL3 then asserts the constraints for a distributor apply to what they consider to be secondarily liable party.

This reminds me of those cartoons where some guy builds a bridge by nailing several planks together.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: If it gets anyone...
by lemur2 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 02:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: If it gets anyone..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

As far as the bit torrent comparison, it doesn't fit because tracker sites have NO right to distribute the work. With the GPL, you can given you follow rules A through Z.


That is all fine and well, except when you try to use this line of argurement as a reason why rules A through Z don't apply to you.

From the lead-in to this thread: ""Now that Microsoft has declared itself untouched by any GPLv3 terms, everyone is trying to figure out if they have a leg to stand on."

http://www.osnews.com/story.php/18217/Microsoft-Says-It-Is-Not-Boun...

In short, Microsoft are not correct here, because Microsoft has NO RIGHT to give out vouchers for GNU/Linux unless they have the permissions granted by the GPL license, and to get those permissions Microsoft must be bound by the terms in the GPL.

Or, in even less words ... the Bittorrent comparison fits exactly.

Edited 2007-07-11 02:43

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: If it gets anyone...
by codehead78 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 06:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: If it gets anyone..."
codehead78 Member since:
2006-08-04

As far as the bit torrent comparison, it doesn't fit because tracker sites have NO right to distribute the work. With the GPL, you can given you follow rules A through Z.

"That is all fine and well, except when you try to use this line of argurement as a reason why rules A through Z don't apply to you."

Well let's start from there, the GPL does not bind _me_ because I do not distribute the software. MS does not distribute the software either. Secondary liability was very clear cut in previous cases because the seeders never had the right to distribute. This means the tracker sites simply helping the seeders more efficiently violate the license. In the case of the GPL, it is a convoluted mess where the act of giving credits __MAKES__ it secondary liability.

I'll boil it down for you.
Secondary liability basically means an accomplice.
GPL tries to carve out conditions where you can be labeled an accomplice.
Can you see the problem there?

Suppose it's not about vouchers, suppose MS will give you a rebate for Novell purchases. What if they give you credits for their software equal to what you paid instead? Still no good? How about they give you cash and suggest you spend it on Novell products?

So just how far can a license that basically controls distribution reach out to apply to a party which is not distributing the work?

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: If it gets anyone...
by lemur2 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 10:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: If it gets anyone..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

So just how far can a license that basically controls distribution reach out to apply to a party which is not distributing the work?


It no longer confines itself to controlling distribution, rather it now controls "conveying" the software.

I'll boil it down for you.

Microsoft do not own GNU/Linux, they hold none of the copyrights for it, and they wrote none of the code in it. Microsoft do not offer even one solitary product for GNU/Linux. GNU/Linux is a protected work ... it is protected by copyright law. So, the question for you is this ... from where do Microsoft get any right to facilitate people obtaining copies of a copyright-protected product other than from the GPL (which is the license governing such activities).

If Microsoft's only permission is in fact derived from the only license for the software, then what possible reason can Microsoft give for saying the provisions of that license do not apply to Microsoft? If Microsoft argue that the provisions in the license do not apply because Microsoft's activities fall outside the scope of the license, then Microsoft are clearly giving out coupons for someone else's copyrighted work without any permission to do so ... which is an activity rather frowned upon by the law.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: If it gets anyone...
by sappyvcv on Wed 11th Jul 2007 16:54 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: If it gets anyone..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

I have a question for you.

What if someone were to come up to me and say "I heard of a program called OpenOffice that is free, where can I get it?" (let's assume OpenOffice is GPL3). I tell them that I am not the author of the software nor do I hold the copyright. I also tell them they can find it for free online. I then offer to give them a direct link [to the openoffice website], which is not hosted by me, for $1.

Am I violating the license?

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: If it gets anyone...
by lemur2 on Thu 12th Jul 2007 03:12 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: If it gets anyone..."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I have a question for you.

What if someone were to come up to me and say "I heard of a program called OpenOffice that is free, where can I get it?" (let's assume OpenOffice is GPL3). I tell them that I am not the author of the software nor do I hold the copyright. I also tell them they can find it for free online. I then offer to give them a direct link [to the openoffice website], which is not hosted by me, for $1.

Am I violating the license?


I don't think you are.

You only get into trouble if you then say ... "but I have got enormous clout, you know, and if you get that OpenOffice stuff from anywhere else I am going to sue your but".

... but why?

"I am not going to say why, I'm just going to sue you to oblivion".

... that is when you would run into trouble.

Reply Score: 2

v The problem is GPL
by ncsoze on Tue 10th Jul 2007 19:50 UTC
RE: The problem is GPL
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 20:01 UTC in reply to "The problem is GPL"
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

you are wrong on nearly every point. MS will be effected if they either distribute directly (extremely unlikely) GPLv3 code or if they are 'secondarily' involved in it's conveyance which is what they would be under their current arrangement with novell and others if/when those others start shipping gplv3 code.

Now, as usual with this same parasitic FUD and GPL is not freedom, doing what ever I want with other people's work is freedom FUD, if you don't like the license, don't release code under it. If you don't like the 'price' others have set for their work (in this case, that you comply with the terms of GPL) find someone else's code to use with a price you are prepared to pay.

Calling the GPL the most restrictive license around is just pure fantasy. Try taking MS' code, modifying it and redistributing it and see how well you do without complying with their license terms.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The problem is GPL
by flanque on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:06 UTC in reply to "RE: The problem is GPL"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

I'm not a legal expert, but from what I have read across the Internet's many sites discussing the GPLv3, I am completely turned off releasing anything I've written under any GPL license.

It seems as a funnel trap - once you're in, you cannot get out.

I'm pro-Linux and open source, but the GPL license seems to be one big trap whereby you loose control.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: The problem is GPL
by ichi on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The problem is GPL"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I am completely turned off releasing anything I've written under any GPL license.
It seems as a funnel trap - once you're in, you cannot get out.
I'm pro-Linux and open source, but the GPL license seems to be one big trap whereby you loose control.


As long as it's YOUR code, then you (the copyright owner) can switch to whatever license you want at any time, and even release the code under several different licenses simultaneously.

On the other hand, if (part of) the code is not yours... well, then you either accept the license and use the code, or you don't. It's not forced down your throat.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: The problem is GPL
by flanque on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The problem is GPL"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

Ok, so say I release a version of code, say 1.0 under GPL v2 or v3 even, can I then say that v2.0 of the software is closed source?

I'm not sure how this is possible when others may contribute to the code. If nobody does contribute, then what's the point of releasing it under GPL?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The problem is GPL
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The problem is GPL"
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

If others have contributed code to you under a given license then you can't change that license without there permission. If you can't get their permission you can remove their code from the codebase and re-license your code however you like.

This actually does happen. I forget the exact project off the top of my head, but they released a library under the GPL and another project who was not writing GPL compatible code asked them to change it to the LGPL, which they did, after securing the permission of the various contributors top the project.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: The problem is GPL
by jboss1995 on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:28 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The problem is GPL"
jboss1995 Member since:
2007-05-02

You can thank MS for that.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The problem is GPL
by flanque on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:35 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The problem is GPL"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

How is it Microsoft's fault?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: The problem is GPL
by jboss1995 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The problem is GPL"
jboss1995 Member since:
2007-05-02

The reason that the GLPv2 had to be changed was because MS was going to use it as a legal tool to be able to charge anyone and everyone for any open source the was also bundled in the Microsoft-Novell Deal. Killing samba, wine, ect.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: The problem is GPL
by butters on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The problem is GPL"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

I recommend requiring that contributors to your projects assign copyright ownership to you. Then, as the sole copyright owner, you can relicense the code however you wish.

All free software licenses require that the developer lose control of their creation. If you tend to take excessive pride in your work and its divine superiority, free software development might not be for you.

As your projects mature, your users will begin to influence the future of your projects. You have to learn to lead through compromise. Otherwise, your users will take your code away from you and start their own projects.

That's when your choice of license matters the most. If your users fork your code, what rights would you like them to have? Would you like them to sell it as a proprietary product?

By the time they threaten to fork, it's already too late to relicense your copyrighted work. The more control you retain, the more likely your projects will fork, and the more control these forks will have over the future of your code.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: The problem is GPL
by wirespot on Wed 11th Jul 2007 10:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The problem is GPL"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Gee, that's a nice closed set of mind you got there. It's your choice, but it's definitely not open and not free in any sense. If you're so worried about retaining control on the software then by all means do it and stop talking about the GPL.

When I release software under the GPL I'm thinking that I'll be getting help from the community and if something happens to me or I decide to stop working on that project the community will still be able to keep it going and make the most of it. That's free and open in my book.

Control doesn't enter it. If I don't see eye to eye with other people and they decide to take the project in another direction it means they have different needs and they should very well be able to do so. If I act like an ass and people decide I shouldn't be de facto leader of the project anymore, again, they should be able to just dump my ass.

There's not supposed to be a position of power in the FOSS community in the first place. You're only "on top" as long as your work and your actions benefit the community, as your code proves actually useful and you prove to fill a useful role. And by community I mean everything, from one single person to a majority. As long as one person disagrees, they are truly free to make a difference.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The problem is GPL
by Spellcheck on Wed 11th Jul 2007 04:36 UTC in reply to "RE: The problem is GPL"
Spellcheck Member since:
2007-01-20

affected

Reply Score: 1

RE: The problem is GPL
by tristan on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:51 UTC in reply to "The problem is GPL"
tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

While I mostly agree with your first paragraph, I'm afraid the rest of the post is, to put it politely, completely wide of the mark.

The GPL has always been parasitic in that it is incompatible with truly free licenses, thus hindering it's acceptance in the mainstream.


I presume that by "truly free licences", you mean BSD/MIT/X11 style licences. But you're wrong: the GPL has always been compatible with the (non-ad-clause) BSD licence, and always will be. In fact, any licence which contains *fewer* requirements than the GPL is GPL-compatible -- the FSF even give a list of such licences on their website.

GPLv3 seems to want to extend this nature from copyright to patents.


GPLv3 says that if you've got patents on a piece of GPLv3 software that you're distributing, then you're not allowed to sue anybody who uses that software for patent violation. This does not, as some have misunderstood, equal granting an instant patent grant to the entire universe: it only applies to the GPLv3 software being distributed. This is merely an extension to the central principle behind this and earlier versions of the GPL: that anyone and everyone should be able to use the software without restriction (or fear of legal reprisal).

They can't grandfather old code that was provided without this restriction.


Of course not. No-one is suggesting that they can. Bits of software that have been released under the GPLv2 will remain distributable under that licence for the rest of time.

We all hate MS because of their business practices, but it is the Free Software Foundation that has the most restrictive license on the planet and is still trying to make it more so.


And here, you just take the biscuit.

The *only* thing the GPL restricts is redistribution. That's it. Once you've got your hands on a piece of GPL software, you're entitled use it to do whatever the hell you like. How this can possibly be seen as "more restrictive" the proprietary EULAs which specify what you're allowed to do with the programme once you've got it (how many processors you're allowed to run it on, no disassembly, that sort of thing) is beyond me.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: The problem is GPL
by ncsoze on Thu 12th Jul 2007 14:38 UTC in reply to "RE: The problem is GPL"
ncsoze Member since:
2006-10-03

While it is true that you can include free-er code in a GPL project, it does not work the other way around. I can not choose to use GPL code in a BSD project and release it as BSD, this is a clear violation of the GPL.

The guiding philosophy behind the GPL is that the code is to always be made available for free charge (as in beer) - if 1% of your project is GPL (not written by you) then you have to make the other 99% available for free and keep it open. You can not release your modifications to the 1% and keep your other 99% private. The goal of the FSF with GPL is to make all code open. This is a philosophical choice that they made - it is only good or bad relative to your desired use.

More free licenses, like BSD, MIT etc., permit you the freedom to use and contribute back all that you can, but still maintain a closed application. You have more freedom. This freedom allows some to abuse open-source by taking and not giving back, but this is the price of freedom. But many more resources will be brought to the open source community as it makes sense to keep the libraries up to date and bring new improvements. Most companies will like to see the libraries advanced so will share their improvements. There are probably 10-100 times more commercial developers as there are Open source developers. That is a lot of manpower that can be made available for Open Source development and will make the movement stronger.

My point here was that the GPLv3 is choosing to limit the rights of some to seek indemnification from patent violations so they could choose to move away from Windows and adopt linux. They are willing to pay a fee to MS to guarantee that they will not be sued for any patents that linux may violate. It chooses to limit their right to obtain such indemnification unless it is granted to those not willing to pay as well. It is an attempt to bypass patent law. I doubt that is in anyway legally binding - but it will force MS not to offer the indemnification to people that want it, just in case it is found to be legal.

Patents represent a real threat to linux/open source as they may well make it technically illegal. FSF believes that patents are wrong and wants to eliminate their power. This would be bad for society, even more that the current abused system. What they/we need to do is require patent reform. Patents should only be binding if they represent a truly unique and new way of doing things and also that there is a clear cost to having developed the concept. Not "Use of a tree menu to catalog a music library." The Zen patent (mentioned above) is a prime example of a bad patent - it didn't do anything new and took no more than an hour to develop the concept - it should not be patentable. Most software patent's should be vacated. In my lifetime, I can only think of two items that were worthy of a patent - but those should have been granted. We do not need to see licenses trying to counter the law which may risk voiding the entire license, but we need to see people lobbying for sanity in the patent office.

Reply Score: 1

The real issue
by sappyvcv on Tue 10th Jul 2007 20:29 UTC
sappyvcv
Member since:
2005-07-06

The real issue here is not whether or not the vouchers will "violate" the GPL3. The text was very carefully worded by the FSF in effort to make sure it DID cover the Microsoft-Novell deal.

The real issue is whether or not that particular section of the license is legally enforcable from a mere license. As I've said before, only time will tell that. There have already been arguments made (one by a lawyer) that the license would not stand up in court because those particular sections read more like contracts than licenses.

Reply Score: 3

RE: The real issue
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 20:38 UTC in reply to "The real issue"
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

in the end it still all comes down to copyright. If I hold the copyright on a work, I get to set the conditions under which it can be distributed, with some limited exceptions like fair use (remember those RIAA?)

If I choose to only allow use of my copyrighted work by those who adhere to the terms of the GPL then I'm not really sure under what conditions that could be challenged.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: The real issue
by sappyvcv on Tue 10th Jul 2007 20:44 UTC in reply to "RE: The real issue"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah you can place restrictions on who can use it, distribute it, modify it, etc.

But in this case, Microsoft is doing none of it. They are "conveying" it. That is the legal issue.

There are limits to what conditions you can set.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: The real issue
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: The real issue"
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

The issue of secondary liability is mentioned in the wording of GPL3.

If the theory of "I sell you a voucher to get software off someone else and then I'm not responsible for the copyright ramifications of that transfer' were to hold then I could set up a business in the US selling vouchers to buy any class of copyrighted work I liked (lets say movies) and not be held accountable to any copyright infractions my supplier may perform. So I find a supplier in a suitably under policed or bribable part of the world and they start conveying pirated DVDs in response to receiving the vouchers I sold. Somehow I doubt this business is allowed to operate very long.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: The real issue
by Googlesaurus on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:20 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The real issue"
Googlesaurus Member since:
2005-10-19

"The issue of secondary liability is mentioned in the wording of GPL3."

Not a single word of GPLv3 has anything to do with MS. They ain't touched it with a ten foot pole via any means. This whole unexpiring voucher thing is in a word "nonsense".

Reply Score: 0

RE[5]: The real issue
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:26 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The real issue"
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

Of course MS aren't mentioned by name, but they currently have a business arrangement with Novell and couple of other GNU/Linux distributors who will eventually find themselves in need of conveying software covered by the GPLv3. When this happens and if MS still has the same arrangement with theses companies then that it does now, they will be 'secondarily liable' for releasing GPLv3 software. At this point, they will have to either abide by the terms of the license that software was made available under or be in breach of copyright.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: The real issue
by sappyvcv on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The real issue"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Why do people insist on making comparisons to piracy? Pirating software is illegal. What Novell is doing (distributing GPL software) is not.

Anyway, it doesn't matter what the GPL3 says, it matter what the court says about it.

As I've said before, if this kind of thing holds up, I'm very worried about the implications and the abuse.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: The real issue
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: The real issue"
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

because 'piracy' is the term used for what it is when you distribute someone's copyrighted work without complying with the conditions set on it's distribution, ie. violate their copyrights (piracy is a poor term IMHO but its what people use).

If you distribute GPL software outside the conditions laid out in the GPL then you _are_ a pirate. You are violating copyright law.

How is it not unreasonable to make comparisons between two instances of the same thing? it's apples compared to apples in this case.

Reply Score: 5

RE[6]: The real issue
by sappyvcv on Tue 10th Jul 2007 21:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: The real issue"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Novell is distributing it. They ARE complying with the conditions.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: The real issue
by borker on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:24 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: The real issue"
borker Member since:
2006-04-04

not if they're making it available with patent protection that does not extend to anyone who uses the code, which is what you get if MS don't extend their patent protection to everyone in the universe.

Either MS lets everyone use GPLv3 code Novell distributes with the same patent protection or Novell is in breach of GPLv3 and therefore in violation of the copyrights held by whomever's code they distributed

"If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it."

Reply Score: 5

It's not that complicated...
by smitty on Tue 10th Jul 2007 22:00 UTC
smitty
Member since:
2005-10-13

MS released vouchers for Suse linux, with no expiration date.

Everything is fine while Suse doesn't contain any GPLv3 code in it.

As soon as GPLv3 code is in it then that means MS will be a distributor of it, and therefore must grant patent indemnity.

To get around that, MS now claims that their vouchers do not cover any code that is GPLv3, which means they cannot be used to get Suse linux. Whether this is legal to simply claim that now (since there was no expiration date on it) I don't know, but MS claims they can do it. So now the vouchers are worthless, except for older versions of Suse which have no GPLv3 code in it.

Novell, to get around that, claims that they will offer a free "upgrade" for any voucher for an old version of Suse up to the new one, so that they can give out the most recent version. The one with GPLv3 code in it.

End result, MS claims that they are only a distributer of GPLv2 code and other licenses, while Novell gets to go ahead and send out the GPLv3 code in the more recent versions. Seems like a neat little piece of legal jujitsu to me, assuming that MS can retroactively change what the vouchers are good for like they claim to.

Reply Score: 4

RE: It's not that complicated...
by sappyvcv on Wed 11th Jul 2007 16:41 UTC in reply to "It's not that complicated..."
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Wrong. They will be a "converyor", not a distributor.

Reply Score: 2

living in isolation
by trenchsol on Wed 11th Jul 2007 01:22 UTC
trenchsol
Member since:
2006-12-07

There is a big world of proprietary software out there and small world of Open Source. 80% of all servers and 98% of all desktops are proprietary. Multimedia, graphics acceleration, hardware, all proprietary.

FSF is working around a clock to isolate Free Software from the big world. Who will benefit that ? FSF ? Maybe they have some agenda of their own.

Small world of Open Source software will not benefit, that is for sure. What will be the impact of the isolation to the big proprietary software world ? Negligible....

I am just sorry for the people using Open Source software, trying to carry on with their daily work and wishing a little fun with the computer at the end of the day. They will feel the impact of the isolation.

Reply Score: 2

RE: living in isolation
by kaiwai on Wed 11th Jul 2007 01:38 UTC in reply to "living in isolation"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

Good quesitons - although I won't doubt there will be some people who will deduct points off because they disagree with what youre saying (in direct violation of the moderation terms of agreement).

What I find funny is FSF lambasting proprietary companies, and yet, they themselves do nothing to bridge the gap in terms of providing easy to use applications for end users.

When are we going to see drop in replacements for the big name applications like Photoshop, Indesign, Dreamweaver, etc. Its all very nice to bash and bash the proprietary vendors, but unless you come up with the goods, its all hot air. Its akin to bashing a politician in charge and yet offer no alternatives to the current policies.

That is the problem with the FSF; its all hot air, and it isn't helpign end users one bit. Its the equivilance of Michael Moore making simplistic statements about things he knows very little about.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: living in isolation
by trenchsol on Wed 11th Jul 2007 01:59 UTC in reply to "RE: living in isolation"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

You are right about applications, but I am more worried about compatibility, interoperability, file formats and protocols.

Will I be required to install Windows or buy Mac to exchange documents with other people ? Perhaps some DRM protected documents ? Or even to watch a movie or play some music ? Is that how is going to be ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: living in isolation
by kaiwai on Wed 11th Jul 2007 02:19 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: living in isolation"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

You are right about applications, but I am more worried about compatibility, interoperability, file formats and protocols.

Will I be required to install Windows or buy Mac to exchange documents with other people ? Perhaps some DRM protected documents ? Or even to watch a movie or play some music ? Is that how is going to be ?


I too am worried. There are open protocols out there, instead of making and improving NFSv4, we have people here swooning around SAMBA instead of creating NFSv4 protocols and clients for Windows to make interoperability non-dependent on Microsoft technologies.

Same thing for OGG/Theora - where is the 'massive contribution' to the development? When are we going to see the patrons of opensource actually allocate the necessary resources to get the technology up to the same level of the commercial counter parts?

I too am worried; DRM being pushed as the 'solution' to security concerns; proprietary protocols pushed as being 'superior' and 'costing less' (via the use of false information) - and who is to blame for it? the FSF and their impotent approach to evangelising what needs to be done, and actually setting out a plan to address the deficiences that exist within the FSF community.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: living in isolation
by Valhalla on Wed 11th Jul 2007 02:25 UTC in reply to "RE: living in isolation"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

kaiwai wrote:
-"What I find funny is FSF lambasting proprietary companies, and yet, they themselves do nothing to bridge the gap in terms of providing easy to use applications for end users."

they don't? amongst other things they provide free developer tools that enables you to create practically any application you want, even propriety.

but in your twisted mind, unless FSF also comes up with drop in replacements for state-of-the-art specialized programs that doesn't even have any real competition in the commercial realm, they are all "hot air".

are you kidding me?

and then you complain about Michael Moore making "simplistic statements about things he knows very little about."

pot calling the....

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: living in isolation
by trenchsol on Wed 11th Jul 2007 03:53 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: living in isolation"
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I don't think that kaiwai has twisted mind. Just some needs, as everybody else. And if he used either free or proprietary tools to develop the applications required he would wait very long time to solve his problems.

No, that is not the way the things work in the real world.

FSF is not supposed to make sure that someone develops free version of Photoshop, but they should think about increasing interoperability between free and proprietary software. More interoperability and compatibility would mean more users, and more users could make free OS platforms more interesting to software vendors.

Reply Score: 3

Novel can distribute GPL3
by bandido55 on Wed 11th Jul 2007 16:47 UTC
bandido55
Member since:
2006-10-02

GPL3 specifically granted Novell through a grandfather clause the right to distribute GPL3 software. Why was that clause included? Very simple, by allowing Novel to go ahead and upgrade their software to GPL3 when new packages become available, through the non-expiring vouchers from MS, Novell will be freeing GPL3 software from any patents threats from MS.

If any of you have any doubts about how GPL3 has scared the living thing out of MS you only have to check how they have changed their tunes. Before GPL3 MS kept stressing that their agreement with Novell was mostly about patents while Novell was disagreeing with them by saying that it was mostly about interoperability while now all MS communications keep stressing the word interoperability and they seldom to never mention patents. Wondering why? GPL3.

If Novell redeems just one coupon agaisnt any of their versions that might contain GPL3 software, that sofware automatically "inherits" patent protection from MS. There is nothing MS can't do if Novells redeems the coupon. They only thing they can do is to beg (or pay off) Novell not to redeem the coupons.

having MS saying that they were no party to agreeing GPL3 software doesn't get them off the hook. Just like having a floor that says "Wet Floor" doesn't excuse a company from having to indemnify someone who slips and fall down.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Novel can distribute GPL3
by sbergman27 on Thu 12th Jul 2007 05:16 UTC in reply to "Novel can distribute GPL3"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
If Novell redeems just one coupon agaisnt any of their versions that might contain GPL3 software, that sofware automatically "inherits" patent protection from MS.
"""

And that's where the whole scenario degenerates into a fit of wishful thinking. I'll believe it when a court of law upholds that line of legal argument and no sooner.

I'm a FOSS advocate, not a guest on Fantasy Island.

Reply Score: 2

uh
by deanlinkous on Wed 11th Jul 2007 17:09 UTC
deanlinkous
Member since:
2006-06-19

now about the distrowatch thing.... ;)

Reply Score: 2