Misleading InformationWeek GPLv3 article

LINUS CALLS GPLv3 "A FINE CHOICE" - is a title that InformationWeek could have used for their article. It would have been very selective quoting, but that doesn't seem to be a problem for InformationWeek. Nor does pretending that old emails are new emails, or misrepresenting people.

Microsoft the copyright infringer

When we consider the situation Microsoft finds itself in with regard to the GNU General Public License (GPL), it is important to consider how one determines when someone has accepted the GNU GPL and, hence, when someone is actually bound by its terms. Many people receive software that has been licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL all the time. However, simply receiving software licensed under the GNU GPL does not, in itself, mean that one has accepted the terms. Indeed, there is no contract to sign when receiving said software and certainly no “End User License Agreement".

GPLv3 due on Friday 29th

After a year and a half, GPLv3 is finally due this Friday, June 29th. Starting with the January 2006 launch, our focus in FSFE has on raising awareness and informing the free software community. Making transcripts of the January 16th launch and RMS's first GPLv3 presentations...

...and getting them on Slashdot was a good start.

GPLv3 dd4 is out: last call!

The GPLv3 process has entered it's final stage with FSF releasing GPLv3 discussion draft 4. Some particularly good news is that this draft is finally compatible with the Apache licence.

Accompanying this "last call draft" is:

GPLv3: Simplicity and Length

Everyone wishes that free software licences were shorter. The good news from the GPLv3 process is that by changing the LGPL from being a whole licence to being an additional permission that can accompany the GPL, the LGPL has shrunk drastically and the proposed GPL and LGPL texts, combined, are shorter than the current GPL and LGPL combined. But GPLv3 itself will indeed be longer than version 2 is.

Why GPLv3 says additional permissions are removable

As with any copyright licence, software developers who use any version of the GPL can also grant additional permissions to recipients for code that they hold the copyright of. That is, they can say that you can distribute the software under the terms of the GPL, and they can additionally say that, at your option, you can also distribute the software in this way or that way.

About such additional permissions, the following words are proposed for GPLv3, in discussion draft 2: "When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of it." As I see it, these words actually don't change the nature of such additional permissions at all. This topic has come up a few times when I've been discussing GPLv3 with people, so here's my understanding of this issue.

How GPLv3 addresses the EUCD and DMCA

Draft 3 of GPLv3 should be out Real Soon Now, so I'd like to review some of the topics. I couldn't find a thorough explanation of how GPLv3 will deal with the "anti-circumvention" clauses of the DMCA and it's EU counterpart, the the EUCD (see Article 6), so here's my layperson understanding.

GPLv3: Do we really need it?

I assume that people who read freesoftwaremagazine.com will most likely be aware of the fact that the Free Software Foundation is working on an update to the GPL version 3. If you're not, a number of articles and blog posts have been written on the subject. But with the Linux kernel developers stating that they oppose many of the changes, and with some people licensing software explicitly as "GPLv2" rather than "GPLv2, or any later version", one could wonder whether the whole update effort makes any sense.


Tivoisation explained - implementation and harms

To think about what free software licences should do about tivoisation, we have to understand what problems we're trying to prevent, and how it works - so that we can ensure that it doesn't work.

How tivoisation works

Tivoisation is a technique that manufacturers use to produce a computer, to sell to you, whose software they can update but you can't.

There are three elements involved in tivoisation:

  1. The manufacturer puts a chip in the computer which checks any software before it is run and which will only allow authorised software to be run.

GPLv3 embedded in devices

At last week's GPLv3 conference, the topic of embedded GPLv3 software came up a few times. Below is something of a summary of those discussions. Georg Greve blogged about the conference, so I'll avoid repeating what he covered. Suffice to say, it was an event the organisers can be proud of, and Tokyo is a lovely and interesting place.

I think the issue of GPLv3 in embedded software falls into two categories: warranties, and regulated hardware.

Debian and the Creative Commons

Recently, I've become involved in the ongoing discussion between the Creative Commons and Debian over the "freeness" of the Creative Commons Public License (CCPL), version 3. Specifically, the hope is that Debian will declare the CC-By and CC-By-SA licenses "free", as most people intuitively feel they are. There are a number of minor issues that I think both sides have now agreed to, leaving only the question of "Technological Protection Measures" (TPM, also known as "Digital Rights Management" or "Digital Restrictions Management" or "DRM").

Views on the GPLv3 hoo-har

There has been a lot of hoo-hah recently regarding the pros and cons of certain aspects of the drafts of Version 3 of the GNU General Public License from the Free Software Foundation. The originator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds himself, is playing a role here. Unfortunately, each side has taken to the ploy of misrepresenting the other’s points. Arguments are getting heated to such an extent that you need to wear an asbestos suit just to look at the issues. However, on examination, not only do I find that both sides have valid issues but I also believe an obvious solution exists that will make most, if not all, satisfied and the world a less flame-ridden obstacle course.

The GNU GPL - a software license for yesterday, today and tomorrow

With the draft of the GNU General Public License Version 3 (GPLv3) have come many interesting comments, although not all of which I have found positive. While I understand proprietary vendors have offered complaints against a license they do not even use, I was surprised that Linus Torvalds had taken some issues which I thought were in any case misguided criticisms.

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