Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 17:13 UTC, submitted by davidiwharper
Novell and Ximian "The Free Software Foundation has published a third draft of the GPL3 license. The FSF had indicated leading up to this draft that it would be addressing some concerns it had with the Novell-Microsoft agreements in the draft. Here's Novell's position on the new draft."
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My thoughts.
by systyrant on Tue 3rd Apr 2007 21:09 UTC
Member since:

First let me say that I've been a Novell supporter for several years. When they bought Suse Linux I was both excited and scared about what would happen. So far I believe Novell has done a great job with Linux, but still comes up short in many areas.

With that said, I'm of the mind that people are still making a big deal out of all of this. You don't change the world by demanding equality. You do it by showing people a better way.

My question is simple. Is the GPL v3 trying to show people a better way or is it trying to demand equality?

Reply Score: 3

RE: My thoughts.
by monodeldiablo on Wed 4th Apr 2007 00:10 in reply to "My thoughts."
monodeldiablo Member since:

The fundamental (and erroneous) assumption you're making is that the GPL3 is demanding anything from anyone. It's an elective license. Nobody's going to the courts, whining for the laws to be changed, here. If you don't care how your code is used, you're free to use the BSD license. If you're opposed to companies selling the right to sue your userbase to the highest bidder, you can use the GPL3.

It's ultimately the choice of the developer, not the users, what rights are distributed with the software. They can demand whatever equality (or inequality) they wish. If you buy a crate of food explicitly labeled "Not for redistribution", you're entering into an agreement with the manufacturer to follow the terms of the sale. The same goes for a Microsoft or Apple or FOSS license. Period. No difference.

Nobody's demanding equality, the FSF is simply giving developers the tools necessary to ensure fair use, if they wish to leverage the license. Nobody is forcing anybody to use the GPL3. Most existing software is GPL2 and will remain so. Don't like it? Don't license your software under it.

However, the fact that so many people are up in arms against it fascinates me. Why would anybody be so vocally opposed to another elective license? My thinking is that those most against the GPL3 (just like those vehemently opposed to the GPL2) feel that it will be harmful to their own endeavors (or those of their employers). Usually, this is because they would stand to benefit by violating the terms of the license (and since the license only requires reciprocation, that implies that these parties would like something for nothing).

However, the GPL3 can only really be harmful to these parties if developers apply its provisions to their software en masse. In other words, the vocal critics are at least partially convinced that it will be successful and popular, and thus devasting to their current business/distribution model.

And if even the critics are convinced of its potential success, then isn't that the sign of a well-drafted elective license? In other words, since developers can assign whatever license they want to their code, why don't we let the newer, toothier version of the GPL compete freely in the marketplace of ideas? If it wins, as I (and its critics!) expect it will, then I think that sends a pretty clear message about how the authors of software feel their otherwise free and open code should be used.

This isn't developers whining because the money isn't be spread around equally or something. It's developers getting pissed because their donated labor and art is being being used as a bargaining chip by a third party in violation of the spirit (if not the letter) of the author's license.

So my question is also simple: What do you (or anybody) stand to lose by the adoption of the GPL3?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: My thoughts.
by systyrant on Wed 4th Apr 2007 02:06 in reply to "RE: My thoughts."
systyrant Member since:

I'm not opposed to GPLv3, but I'm not for it either. At this time I'm just neutral. It's wrong to think that developers adopting the new license doesn't effect the end user. The new license may, if widely adopted, may hinder further adoption of, for example, Linux or may cause wide spread forking which will only serve to divide and thin out those who are developing open source software. Then again it may have no effect or it might even help open source grow.

It will not, from my understanding, protect any open source software licensed under the GPLv3 from being sued by some company for patent infringement. It will, from the hype I've read, stop companies from making patent protection deals like the Novell/Microsoft deal. Maybe that's good and maybe that's bad. I really don't know.

I'm gonna close this up by saying that I think Microsoft will start suing Linux and other open source companies for patent and/or IP infringement. I don't think they will win big money settlements and many will probably be shown to be invalid, but the stink it will put on open source if they win even one could be bad. If my understanding of the GPLv3 is correct and software licensed under it can't be apart of any patent protection deals then open source may stand to lose.

I am assuming a lot and I may be so far off in left field that I'm in a different realm, but it's just a though.

Reply Parent Score: 1