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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RE: My thoughts.
by monodeldiablo on Wed 4th Apr 2007 00:10 UTC in reply to "My thoughts."
monodeldiablo
Member since:
2005-07-06

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:
2007-01-18

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

RE[3]: My thoughts.
by lemur2 on Wed 4th Apr 2007 02:46 in reply to "RE[2]: My thoughts."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

{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. }

Read up about the "Open Invention Network".

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Open+Invention+Network%22
http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Invention_Network

Read up about the "Patent Commons Project".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_Commons
http://www.patentcommons.org/

Read up about the IBM Technical disclosure bullentin.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Technical_Disclosure_Bulletin

Groklaw has a lot of information on FOSS & patents.
http://www.groklaw.net/staticpages/index.php?page=20050402193202442

Do not simply assume that FOSS is defenceless against a patent attack, or that Microsoft would automatically benefit by such an attack.

It would be more like a "mutually assured destruction" scenario.

IBM has more patents than anybody, and IBM has committed a hefty amount of its patent arsenal to the defense of Linux against patent attack.

All of these facts tend to lead one to the conclusion that Microsoft cannot afford to actually attack Linux using patents in the courts, because the countersuit would cripple Microsoft.

Edited 2007-04-04 02:47

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: My thoughts.
by monodeldiablo on Wed 4th Apr 2007 03:29 in reply to "RE[2]: My thoughts."
monodeldiablo Member since:
2005-07-06

I never said that developers adopting the GPL3 wouldn't affect users. I said that it's ultimately the developers' choice, regardless of what anybody else says. I don't hear you critiquing the "divisiveness" of Microsoft's onerous licenses, and they're a hell of a lot harsher on the user than anything in the FOSS realm. The GPL doesn't have to be "business-friendly" to be successful. The same arguments that people are using to attack v3 were used against v2... and yet Linux adoption and community growth are still exploding.

Secondly, the purpose of the GPL (no matter what version) is not to facilitate the uptake of software. Linux doesn't have to win any business wars, here, so your argument that the GPL3 might slow adoption (while specious in its own right) is irrelevant. That's not what it's about. That's the business world. FOSS has grown so quickly because it's unhampered by an obsession with uptake and market penetration. Business and users will adapt to meet the license requirements of the software authors, just as they have for other OSS and proprietary licenses.

Thirdly, no license will protect any software from being sued for patent infringement, be it proprietary, free or otherwise. GPL3 will, however, stop companies like Novell from legitimizing farcical claims that FOSS infringes on undisclosed "mystery" IP.

I'm going to close this up by saying that I think Microsoft won't start suing Linux, largely because, unlike companies, Linux is decentralized and not controlled by any one entity. Legally, they really don't have a case against the users of Linux and other open source software, either (after all, you can't sue owners of Ford trucks because Ford violated a Toyota patent... that's Ford's crime, not their customers'). And, the real nail in the coffin is that Microsoft and company have made overtures for years (culminating in Ballmer's recent threats) that Linux violates their IP, but they've taken no legal action and done nothing to substantiate their claims. In the legal world, this often implies tacit consent and can severely hamper any case that could go to court (which is more and more unlikely, thanks to SCO).

Microsoft is merely rattling the saber to scare pointy-haired bosses away from Linux and back to Windows. They know that a few will slip to Novell because of this "indemnification", but they also know that their accusations will cast doubt upon Linux and open source at large.

And, like the rest of their propaganda campaigns, this, too, will fail.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: My thoughts.
by Spellcheck on Wed 4th Apr 2007 05:58 in reply to "RE[2]: My thoughts."
Spellcheck Member since:
2007-01-20

affect

Reply Parent Score: 1