GPL v3 released, what do you think?

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GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by Techie-Micheal » Mon Jul 02, 2007 4:48 pm

I'm kinda surprised a topic on it already hasn't been started. June 29th, GPL v3 was released. I'm not a huge fan of it. Okay, I don't like it at all.

http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0.html

Here's a quick rundown on a few things for v3:

- GPL v3 allows DRM (depending on how you view it, not necessarily a bad thing)
- FSF have allowed political motivations (the worst kind of motivation, IMO) to define v3, rather than trying to further the GPL and FOSS
- Far more legalese than previously, making it harder for the average developer to figure out if v3 is appropriate for them
- Insist (not that they haven't before) that closed-source software is unethical
- Are far more restrictive than previously, makes things feel like some proprietary project than free software

Here's some things from the FAQ that someone brought up:
_underscore_ wrote:I'm with TM on this, especially on the voting machine thing.

From the FAQs:
FSF wrote: To release a non-free program is always ethically tainted, but legally there is no obstacle to your doing this. If you are the copyright holder for the code, you can release it under various different non-exclusive licenses at various times.
Eh what? I'm a capitalist, thank you very much.
FSF wrote:Note, however, that voting is a very special case. Just because the software in a computer is free does not mean you can trust the computer for voting. We believe that computers cannot be trusted for voting. Voting should be done on paper.
"The computers are EVIL because MICROSOFTMEGOCORP is in them, you should vote using quill and parchment!!!!11" (major over paraphrasing)
FSF wrote:I'd like to license my code under the GPL, but I'd also like to make it clear that it can't be used for military and/or commercial uses. Can I do this?
Why, pray tell, would you want to do this?
FSF wrote:In the crucial area of Digital Restrictions Management—nasty features designed to restrict your use of the data in your computer—competition is no help, because relevant competition is forbidden. Under the Digital Millenuium Copyright Act and similar laws, it is illegal, in the US and many other countries, to distribute DVD players unless they restrict the user according to the official rules of the DVD conspiracy (its web site is http://www.dvdcca.org/, but the rules do not seem to be published there). The public can't reject DRM by buying non-DRM players, because none are available. No matter how many products you can choose from, they all have equivalent digital handcuffs.
What the expletive? DVD is evil? When did this happen?
FSF wrote:GPLv3 ensures you are free to remove the handcuffs. It doesn't forbid DRM, or any kind of feature. It places no limits on the substantive functionality you can add to a program, or remove from it. Rather, it makes sure that you are just as free to remove nasty features as the distributor of your copy was to add them. Tivoization is the way they deny you that freedom; to protect your freedom, GPLv3 forbids tivoization.
and by extension that it will not be used in these programs. I don't think many [open source programs] are going to go to GPLv3 since v2 is good enough.
FSF wrote:Another threat that GPLv3 resists is that of patent deals like the Novell-Microsoft deal. Microsoft wants to use its thousands of patents to make GNU/Linux users pay Microsoft for the privilege, and made this deal to try to get that. The deal offers Novell's customers rather limited protection from Microsoft patents.
Is it just me or do these people see a lot of conspiracies?
FSF wrote:The explicit patent license in GPLv3 does not go as far as we might have liked. Ideally, we would make everyone who redistributes GPL-covered code surrender all software patents, along with everyone who does not redistribute GPL-covered code. Software patents are a vicious and absurd system that puts all software developers in danger of being sued by companies they have never heard of, as well as by all the megacorporations in the field. Large programs typically combine thousands of ideas, so it is no surprise if they implement ideas covered by hundreds of patents. Megacorporations collect thousands of patents, and use those patents to bully smaller developers. Patents already obstruct free software development.
Again, these people will not use GPLv3 due to this. Or maybe I'm missing something? I think they're saying that anyone using GPLv3 surrenders all patents?

Bah, I'm sticking with GPLv2 for my projects.
Sounds to me like the FSF are in to conspiracy theories now.

So, what does everybody else think? Is GPL v3 a good move? Bad move? Why? Discuss. :P
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by A_Jelly_Doughnut » Mon Jul 02, 2007 5:06 pm

We had a discussion at the MOD Authors convention :)

I read though the first draft, and had to wonder why they made GPL v3 so lengthy. GPL v2 fits nicely on two standard sized sheets of paper. Many of the Creative Commons licenses run merely a few sentences.

I suppose its just a bad case of "design by committee".

I'll continue to use GPL v2.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by drathbun » Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:22 pm

V2 for me, but it does raise a "wording" question...

Here's a bit of text from phpBB2's standard header:
* This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
* it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
* the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
* (at your option) any later version.
So, who has the option? The code is released under GPL2. At this point, does the phpBB Group want to make it "an option" to have the license interpreted under GPL3, especially since I have yet to see anyone that is in favor of the new license? Just curious...
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by Techie-Micheal » Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:45 pm

Kinda ironic you brought that up, since I've been looking in to that. From what I understand and what the GPL FAQ's say, it is the user that has the choice, not the developers.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by drathbun » Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:52 pm

It does seem to make sense that a license that is all about freedom would allow freedom of which version of the license to pick. :-) However it seems that GPL3 is a major departure from the content, structure, and - dare I say it - the philosophy of GPL2.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by Techie-Micheal » Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:55 pm

drathbun wrote:It does seem to make sense that a license that is all about freedom would allow freedom of which version of the license to pick. :-) However it seems that GPL3 is a major departure from the content, structure, and - dare I say it - the philosophy of GPL2.
Agreed on all points. Especially the last one. GPL v3 seems more about fulfilling FSF's own wants rather than the community's. I won't be using v3 for a while, if ever. It is far too politically-driven for me.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by drathbun » Mon Jul 02, 2007 7:03 pm

It's not like I'm a major developer of any sort of application. But as a coder I really appreciate the brevity and clarity that GPL2 provides. I have not reviewed the entire GPL3 documentation, and at this point don't think that I want to wade through all of the political "bovine excrement" in order to try to understand it. I am firmly in the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" camp on this one.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by starware » Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:01 pm

I still need to read all of GPL v3 however I really like v2. :D
Pardon my bad english, I'm american. :P

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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by Phil » Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:23 am

drathbun wrote:V2 for me, but it does raise a "wording" question...

Here's a bit of text from phpBB2's standard header:
* This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
* it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
* the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
* (at your option) any later version.
So, who has the option? The code is released under GPL2. At this point, does the phpBB Group want to make it "an option" to have the license interpreted under GPL3, especially since I have yet to see anyone that is in favor of the new license? Just curious...
I believe it is the users decision, however there are some conflics (in my opinion) between the philosophy of GPLv2 and GPLv3 which may cause some problems in the future. Seeing as this is discussing redistribution and modification, it means that I could, say, re-release phpBB3 following the guidelines of GPLv3 as opposed to GPLv2, which would allow me to make some... interesting, and likely not-so-good, changes.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by pulling his hair » Wed Jul 04, 2007 4:16 pm

It's better than some of the drafts, though I still think it is far too politically motivated. The GPLv2 managed to sound a bit too political in the preface, perhaps tainting the rest of the license. I haven't ever chosen the GPL for any project of mine, the most restrictive license I've ever used, IIRC, is the LGPLv2.

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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by Drexion » Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:05 pm

Techie-Micheal wrote:- GPL v3 allows DRM (depending on how you view it, not necessarily a bad thing)
That's one of the main reasons Linus Torvalds has said he will not convert the Linux kernel to GPL 3.

And when Linus says no, that 'no' is one hell of an influential no, with resounding effects throughout huge sections of the open source industry - especially when mainstream media and press often use "linux" and "open source" in an interchangeable fashion.

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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by drathbun » Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:20 am

That's an interesting follow-up. It would not surprise me at all to see GPLv3 go down like the proverbial lead balloon at this point.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by Jhong » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:48 am

I can't believe this topic!!!! I can't believe how uneducated people are about the GPL, the meaning of "Free as in Freedom", and how willing people are to give up their rights!!!!

THINK before you dismiss the GPLv3. These people are out to protect YOUR rights -- YOUR freedoms -- the freedom to create and modify great, innovative software.

Every single rebuttal quoted in the original post is (a) ignorant of the real meaning of the GPL, or (b) taken out of context.

Let me try to shed a bit of light on each of the quotes, and provide a bit of background.
Eh what? I'm a capitalist, thank you very much.
Uhhm --- The FSF is about Free as in FREEDOM, not Free as in PRICE. THAT is what it means about NON-FREE software. Software that restricts your FREEDOM is ethically tainted. You can charge as much as you like!! And you can't stop anyone else from charging as much as they like!!

What is wrong with THAT??? They say restricting others' rights (making software non-free) is ethically tainted. They are correct.

Look, I'll be blunt -- if you're not conversant in the software should be free as in freedom (but you can charge as much as you like for it) argument, then you really have no business discussing the GPL.
FSF wrote:Note, however, that voting is a very special case. Just because the software in a computer is free does not mean you can trust the computer for voting. We believe that computers cannot be trusted for voting. Voting should be done on paper.
"The computers are EVIL because MICROSOFTMEGOCORP is in them, you should vote using quill and parchment!!!!11" (major over paraphrasing)
There are many problems with computerised voting in the US - it is still in its early days. Besides, we and the FSF both know that most voting machines are made by companies such as Diebold, NOT Microsoft.

You really trust closed-source, proprietary code for voting? Open source is far and away better --- the point the FSF is making is that we also need the underlying hardware to be open source. The public should have the RIGHT (FREEdom) to see the blueprints -- where the data is stored and sent, and how.

WHY NOT? What the heck is wrong with this? Given all the voting scandals you have had in the US at every recent election, this is actually a sensible, if alarmist, viewpoint, that is borne out by real-world evidence.
FSF wrote:I'd like to license my code under the GPL, but I'd also like to make it clear that it can't be used for military and/or commercial uses. Can I do this?
Why, pray tell, would you want to do this?
[/quote]

This argument is a DIRECT CONTRADICTION to the first quote. Clearly, the FSF is fighting to maintain software FREEDOM. This guy wants to restrict the freedom of his GPLed software. So, the FSF is fighting for capitalist freedom here!

This guy wants to say "You can't make money from this software". You can't say that if you want to use the GPL.

This is utterly unchanged from the GPLv2 -- you cannot restrict your users' rights. They have always said that doing so is wrong. Free as in freedom.

What the expletive? DVD is evil? When did this happen?
Just because you are ignorant of the facts here, doesn't make you correct. DVD CSS encryption was a BANE. I remember I was an early adopter of a computer DVD drive, and since I travel a lot, and pick up DVDs from other countries, I quickly used up the five "region changes" my DVD drive had. And so I was screwed. A couple of years ago, you couldn't watch DVDs on a Linux computer. It took a Sbcandinavian kid to crack the encryption, and they wanted to string him up in court for cracking the code so people could watch DVDs they OWNED on computers they OWNED.

Get a grip -- this was a serious violation of our rights. Just because you don't realise that, doesn't take away the seriousness of the situation. Blu-ray looks to be even more restrictive.

Why should people decide what I can do with products I ahve purchased? This is not a conspiracy, it is real.

The pithy rebuttal might appeal to the non-techie crowd, or the vast majority who Just Don't Care. But I do care about my rights.
FSF wrote:GPLv3 ensures you are free to remove the handcuffs. It doesn't forbid DRM, or any kind of feature. It places no limits on the substantive functionality you can add to a program, or remove from it. Rather, it makes sure that you are just as free to remove nasty features as the distributor of your copy was to add them. Tivoization is the way they deny you that freedom; to protect your freedom, GPLv3 forbids tivoization.
and by extension that it will not be used in these programs. I don't think many [open source programs] are going to go to GPLv3 since v2 is good enough.
What on EARTH is wrong with this..... it ALLOWS companies to implement DRM -- YEs, like DVDs. So companies that rely on DRM for distribution can safely release their products on GPLed platforms.

So you can play DRMed Apple AAC audio tracks with a free (as in freedom) player. Or watch DVDs on Linux.

This is cool.

HOWEVER... they ALSO protect you if you want to install a hack so you can watch your Blu-Ray disc on your PC... it's harder for you to be strung up for FAIR USE. That Scandinavian kid doesn't get dragged off to court.

An example: Vista doesn't allow you to watch HD-DVD content via a digital cable at full resolution. Your HD-DVD. Your TV. Your cable. Artificial restriction. You break it, you're breaking the law.

You break it on a GPLv3 operating system, you are protected. Is this really "over-political"? No -- it is simply the ethical and right thing to do.

You'd still be breaking the law if you were stealing stuff, but you would be protected for fair use. Very cool.
FSF wrote:Another threat that GPLv3 resists is that of patent deals like the Novell-Microsoft deal. Microsoft wants to use its thousands of patents to make GNU/Linux users pay Microsoft for the privilege, and made this deal to try to get that. The deal offers Novell's customers rather limited protection from Microsoft patents.
Is it just me or do these people see a lot of conspiracies?
This comment is not insightful. The Patent threat is real and very serious. We are at a stage when users of free, community-written software might have to pay a license fee to another company for frivolous patents.

Would you pay another company a fee for using phpBB, because it infringed on a frivolous patent. Say, for example, Microsoft claims that they invented the "Private Message"...

Would you pay them money.... would you...? Would you pay $10 to download phpBB each time so they could pay off patent royalties????

Would you stand up for AcydBurn if he were in court for infringing on a "User control panel" patent?

What is wrong with the FSF trying to protect the rights of the ordinary guy like YOU AND ME against frivolous patent threats?

This is NOT a conspiracy. Companies are paying money RIGHT NOW to Microsoft to indemnify themselves against such patent threats.

Look into your heart and tell me that stamping this kind of thing out is bad? It's a cancer on the open source community.

Big companies are making money of lunatic patents. Small guys like us are NOT protected under GPLv2.
FSF wrote:The explicit patent license in GPLv3 does not go as far as we might have liked. Ideally, we would make everyone who redistributes GPL-covered code surrender all software patents, along with everyone who does not redistribute GPL-covered code. Software patents are a vicious and absurd system that puts all software developers in danger of being sued by companies they have never heard of, as well as by all the megacorporations in the field. Large programs typically combine thousands of ideas, so it is no surprise if they implement ideas covered by hundreds of patents. Megacorporations collect thousands of patents, and use those patents to bully smaller developers. Patents already obstruct free software development.
Again, these people will not use GPLv3 due to this. Or maybe I'm missing something? I think they're saying that anyone using GPLv3 surrenders all patents?

Bah, I'm sticking with GPLv2 for my projects.
Get it right -- Your projects probably already infringe on patents. For example, Amazon patented "one click ordering".

What else is covered by patents? Quick replies? Smilies? FORUMS???

THAT is the nature of software patents.

So, you stick the the GPLv2. Hopefully none of your software will become popular, or successful ,or even earn you the opportunity to be financially independent.... because if it does, it will be YOU battling it out with the patent holders in courts -- and you won't have a leg to stand on.

It's a pretty serious situation, not a conspiracy theory. Legally, free (as in freedom) could be wiped off the map by patent lawsuits. I wouldn't be so glib in putting down this section of the GPL.

In closing, I hope that as many projects as possible adopt the GPLv3 -- in the long run, if they do, there will be no turning back.

If they do not, you can expect to see a significant decline in the number of truly-free software projects in the future.

As for Torvalds, he stated he was unimpressed with the early GPLv3 drafts, but is warming up to it. He's never really been too much of a fan of the Free Software Foundation. Show me a link that states he 'refuses' to convert to GPL3! I'm also skeptical if, in the long run, he can actually prevent the kernel from moving to GPLv3... I'm not sure if that is actually possible. When distros start converting to GPLv3, the GPLv2 will die.


This is not "overly political" -- it is the same old GPL, just upgraded to protect your rights more comprehensively, and a bit more legally stringent. Spend some time reading it, and really understand it --- and beware of people spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt about it. SOME companies do have a lot to lose if Free (AS IN FREEDOM) software continues to increase in success.

You don't care about your rights, fine. Lose them. I'm supporting the companies fighting for my rights.
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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by smithy_dll » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:52 am

The only thing that protects you against a patent is prior art. The GPLv3 is not magic in this regard. It does not protect you. Either prior art existed or it didn't.

The announcement for the GPLv3 was far too politically motivated and should have cut to the merits of the license rather than speiling on about other irrelevant things that no-one cares about when being informed of the GPLv3.

The Linux kernel can easily be prevented from changing licenses. Each contribution is copyright to the copyright holder, not Linus Trovolds or the Linux Kernel project. They would need to track down every last right holder to the code (it is projected in the vicinity of thousands) and gain permission of every single one of them to change the license. That is simply not going to happen.

It will not stop Linux Distributions from packaging a GPLv2 licensed kernel with a GPLv3 whatever in the distribution, just as now it doesn't stop distributions from packaging propietry works along with freely licensed works.

If someone else creates a work, that is part of them, and I have no right to steal it from them, no matter how much I want it.

Copyright protects data, such as a recording, a score, written prose, high school textbooks etc... Patents protect the implementation of an idea such as the molecular structure of a new drug, or a revolutionary idea to harvest grain better, or new semiconductor techniques. The idea of a patent is so that instead of keeping trade secrets, society is better off by giving legal protection for 20 years, and then the idea belonging to society after that.

The idea of a license is to impose restriction. You are free to declare your work as public domain, no copyright would apply, and you wouldn't be able to impose restrictions. Free as in GPL is not free as in a bird. It still keeps IP locked up inside a framework by enforcing restrictions on those who use it. In a way it is funny how they call themselves free.

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Re: GPL v3 released, what do you think?

Post by Techie-Micheal » Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:41 pm

Jhong wrote:I can't believe this topic!!!! I can't believe how uneducated people are about the GPL, the meaning of "Free as in Freedom", and how willing people are to give up their rights!!!!

THINK before you dismiss the GPLv3. These people are out to protect YOUR rights -- YOUR freedoms -- the freedom to create and modify great, innovative software.

Every single rebuttal quoted in the original post is (a) ignorant of the real meaning of the GPL, or (b) taken out of context.

Let me try to shed a bit of light on each of the quotes, and provide a bit of background.
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