FSF publishes 'last call' draft of GPLv3; looks good for Novell

FSF publishes 'last call' draft of GPLv3; looks good for Novell

Summary: The Free Software Foundation published its near final draft of the third version of the General Public License and expects to officially publish the license on June 29.The GPLv3--you know the one that's a big risk to the Microsoft-Novell pact--has been tweaked to incorporate feedback and address license compatibility.

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The Free Software Foundation published its near final draft of the third version of the General Public License and expects to officially publish the license on June 29.

The GPLv3--you know the one that's a big risk to the Microsoft-Novell pact--has been tweaked to incorporate feedback and address license compatibility. Overall though the latest GPL (blog focus, all news and Techmeme) looks good for Novell. eWeek's Peter Galli concluded that the latest GPL preserves Novell's Microsoft deal.

For its part, Novell said the following on its blog:

Nothing in the last call draft of GPLv3 suggests that the final version of GPLv3 will inhibit Novell’s ability to include GPLv3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell offerings as these technologies become available. We note that the language which grandfathered the Novell–Microsoft agreement remains in the draft. We will continue to distribute Linux and other GPL’d technologies. All of this is good news for our customers.

The terms of the last call draft suggest that the final version of GPLv3 will not interrupt our partnership with Microsoft. We remain committed to that partnership, which we believe will help grow the Linux market and satisfy longstanding customer needs. We look forward to providing the fruits of our joint technical interoperability to our customers and our fellow community members in accord with our previously outlined roadmap.

Among the key changes in the GPLv3 according to the FSF:

  • GPLv3 is compatible with version 2 of the Apache License. It also supports BitTorrent.
  • Novell can keep its deal with Microsoft, but future deals won't be acceptable. The FSF said: "Distributors who make discriminatory patent deals after March 28 may not convey software under GPLv3. Novell is not prohibited from distributing this software because the patent protection they arranged with Microsoft last November can be turned against Microsoft to the community's benefit."
  • More clarification on how customers can modify free software.
  • Consumer protection has been outlined more.

As for further reading, Richard Stallman published an essay on the new GPL and why folks should move to it. The FSF also has a guide on the new draft and an FAQ.

Topics: Microsoft, Open Source, Software

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  • Good and bad

    According to other sources, in the process of making v3 compatible with the Apache license, it will NOT be compatible with GPL v2.

    This is a huge mistake. Projects which re-use GPL v2 code from others may be forced to fork existing code or even write workarounds.

    Code re-use has been the single biggest key to FOSS' success. Breaking compatibility with v2 could bring FOSS to a standstill in the short term.

    RMS said "GPL version 2 will remain a valid license, and no disaster will happen if some programs remain under GPLv2 while others advance to GPLv3. These two licenses are incompatible, but that isn't a serious problem."

    He also said that would only be an issue when developers link, merge or combine code from two different programs into a single program.

    That IS a problem for many projects.

    It appears that RMS and the FSF may be trying to force quick and wide-scale adoption of v3. This is a big mistake.
    Tim Patterson
  • Message has been deleted.

    ballmerrules1
  • Message has been deleted.

    ballmerrules1
  • Read the entire draft...

    And while I am not a lawyer I don't believe this version of the GPL-3 would be able to with stand a legal challenge in court. If no other reason than its exclusionary intent and wording. But more than that, I simply don't believe users that WANT interoprability will go along with it.

    From all I see here, "Freedom" is something that is being dictated by Richard Stallman and if you have a different idea of what "Freedom" means you can use on your (or your companies) PCs then you are SOL.
    No_Ax_to_Grind
    • Of course it would

      C'mon bit...

      Of course it would withstand legal scrutiny as it only affects those who choose of their own free will place their code under the license.

      If you are looking for a license to characterize as having "exclusionary intent and wording" and generally trampling consumer's rights, read the EULA for Windows. (of course no one is completely sure if any MS EULA would withstand scrutiny in a court)
      Tim Patterson
      • Why I agree and disagree...

        I agree with your statement that a coder can choose to use or not use it, but that is not where I see the problem. I see the problem coming in when you have ISVs (like my company) that builds apps/code that our users want to see interoperability between Apple, Microsoft, Linux, whatever. (Mixed environmants.)

        I fully realise I have not talked to every corporate user/IT department in the world but the ones I have spoken with all say the samething, they are sick and tired of wall between their systems and WANT the freedom to use/make/sell anything they want without having to worry about are the licenses compatible.

        I spoke of the new GPL being exclusionary because that is what it is. To demonstrate this for you consider this; What would happen if say Apple, and Microsoft changed their license and told the world that they could not run any open source code at all on their respective OSs? We both know the answer to that, there would be a line of lawyers around the court house waiting to file their law suits.

        And yet, that is exactlly what the GPL-3 does. It excludes (removes users "Freedom") to buy/download/use the the software they want. For this reason (amoungst others) I believe the GPL-3 will face significant legal challenges and will be ruled unenforceable.

        Will Microsoft be the one to file a suit? I really don't know but my guess is it won't and instead will be a another software house or ISV that starts it and then it will be a chain reaction as others follow along.
        No_Ax_to_Grind
        • Re: Why I agree and disagree...

          [i]I spoke of the new GPL being exclusionary because that is what it is. To demonstrate this for you consider this; What would happen if say Apple, and Microsoft changed their license and told the world that they could not run any open source code at all on their respective OSs?[/i]

          Doesn't demonstrate a thing except you can pose a hypothetical. Would you mind citing the GPL-3 draft to demonstrate its exclusionary nature?


          [i]And yet, that is exactlly what the GPL-3 does. It excludes (removes users "Freedom") to buy/download/use the the software they want. [/i]

          I don't see where it does that but I might have missed it. Can you post what language in trhe draft does this?


          [i]Will Microsoft be the one to file a suit? I really don't know but my guess is it won't and instead will be a another software house or ISV...[/i]

          Are you volunteering?



          :)
          none none
        • I fail to see

          where it would exclude any proprietary software from running on a GPLv3 kernel. Could you point out the clauses that lead you to believe that this will happen?
          Michael Kelly
          • Examples

            Lets say I create DRM protected video and I want the kernel to insure that it can't be played unless you are authorized. (If it's not kernel based its easily bypassed.) Heck, to my knowledge there isn't a "legal" way to play wmv files on Linux and there certainly is no "legal" way to play any wmv files with DRM.

            Lets say I want to build something (anything) to run on a Linux server that requires some (any) Microsoft technology on the server for interoprability, no can do.

            Lets say I want a high level of interoprability with the MS NTFS file system. Again no can do because that requires a license from MS.

            Lets say I want to use Linux as a print server for Windows clients, again a license from MS is required for certain file formats. No can do.


            Yes, I am fully aware there are hacker apps out there that violate many licenses to do some of this, but none of my corporate clients would even consider allowing their installation or use.

            From everything I see the GPL-3 is a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face. Futher, I have clients that have Linux supporters and when I talk to them even they say they see this causing big headaches for them in the future.
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Polititian!

            Avoiding the question.

            Where are these exclusionary clauses? (E.g., Section 6, paragraph 1(e).)

            None of your examples are relevant without a citation of the relevant GPLv3 clause that you think pertains to that example.

            No one even asked for an example. They asked for the specific clause. Now that you gave examples, what clauses pertains to those examples?

            P.S., as an independent software vendor/developer, you are not doing your clients any favors by not getting a grasp on any software license, be it GPLv2/3, LGPL. MPL, Apache, BSD, etc.

            You have a habit of stating as fact things not allowed/restricted by these licenses.
            Logics
          • You can read right?

            Sorry, I am not going to play, does so, does not with you. PLEASE read the portions talking about DRM...
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Again, being a polititian...

            ...but this time it is with your lies about playing WM files on Linux.

            I explained some time back to you that you can legally play WM files on a Linux system but you apparently missed that or just plain ignored it. I will not play can/cannot with you either. I gave my sources then --MS website-- but nothing in the GPLv3 says you cannot legally play non-DRM nor DRM files on a GPLv3 system --and Linux will not be GPLv3'ed according to Linus.

            [quote]
            Lets say I create DRM protected video and I want the kernel to insure that it can't be played unless you are authorized. (If it's not kernel based its easily bypassed.) Heck, to my knowledge there isn't a "legal" way to play wmv files on Linux and there certainly is no "legal" way to play any wmv files with DRM.
            [/quote]

            Assuming you mean a pre-Vista codec, tough. You cannot even make Vista check them through the Vista kernel. Only MS can do that. You are not allowed to alter the kernel. If you mean a post-Vista codec produced by MS or an MS partner, well you choose to limit yourself to post-Vista Windows platforms.

            If you mean your own codec, then again, you limit yourself to non-Vista systems anyway and non-GPLv3 systems but you can still alter the GPLv2 Linux kernel to your heart's content.

            If you mean specifically the WMV codec, then Read My Previous Posts from a Previous thread where I replied specifically to you on how to legally play WMV files on a Linux system according to the MS website.

            If you choose to not let the kernel do it but use a module that is not GPLv3ed then you are good to go even if your proprietary object library code module is loaded in the kernel --as long as your object code is not distributed with the kernel but is a separate download.
            Logics
          • And you are clearly wrong.

            There is NO LEGAL way to play a DRM protected file on Linux, period, the end...
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Apart from Realplayer

            ...and PowerDVD, and Linspire.

            Yes, clearly. Like a crystal.
            odubtaig
          • Oh, and Intervideo LinDVD.

            But apart from that... lessee...
            odubtaig
          • And none of them

            can play DRM protected wmv or wma.

            But you know what, it really doesn't matter in the end. There are so many things the GPL-3 will force end users out of this tiny one doesn't even matter.
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Righto.

            Because the GPLv3 stopped MS releasing Windows Media Player for Linux all these years. Yes, clearly they're interested in interoperability.
            odubtaig
          • Well, at least you admit your worng.

            I suppose thats better than nothing...
            No_Ax_to_Grind
          • What?

            Your ability to infer complete fiction from the most sarcastic of statements baffles me.

            Windows XP does not have OS level DRM yet has 'rights protected' WMVs.

            GPLv2 has never blocked DRM yet Linux does not have 'rights protected' WMVs at this time.

            GPLv3 therefore has nothing to do with this and, as ably demonstrated by Cyberlink and Intervideo, there is no technical reason why this should be so.

            I would say do the math, but as you have ably demonstrated, you can't.
            odubtaig
          • Why is it that when I quote a source...

            ...you can just say, "There is NO LEGAL way to play a DRM protected file on Linux, period, the end...," and expect that there will be any credence to your statements?

            BTW, WMA/WMV does not in and of themselvs contain DRM. Wrappers or containers that they may be streamed in --such as the ASF container-- can and often do have DRM but DRM is not apart of the WMA/WMV specification. DRM is a part of the ASF specification but the presence of ASF does not imply the presence of DRM.

            Although the license for ASF restricts its use to closed-source projects, Linux does not restrict itself to open source projects. Closed source projects, including media players, can and do run on Linux quite legally. No MS licensing is violated.

            Stop stating your wants & wishes and total misunderstandings as facts. They are not!
            Logics