The latest GPL FUD is Version 3.0

The latest GPL FUD is Version 3.0

Summary: The market success of GPL products, the fact that Lloyd's is now writing insurance in the space, the acceptance of the GPL's assumptions, all point to the health of the open source movement.

TOPICS: Open Source

In my role as Ask Bloggie I got an e-mail recently illustrating the latest in open source FUDware. (FUD, for the uninitiated, stands for Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. It's the equivalent of throwing mud in the face of a market opponent.)

Anyway, on to the FUD:

Couple questions:

  1. Is it possible to change the license of the Linux kernel from GPLv2 to GPLv3 w/o getting the permission of thousands of people?
  2. What do the active Linux Kernel developers think of GPLv3? Do they even want to change?

Elmer FuddThe question is FUD because Version 3.0 of the GPL won't be developed until next year. (A draft isn't expected for months.) You're worrying about something that hasn't happened yet. The very idea that 3.0 won't be backward-compatible with 2.0 is, as the lawyers say, "assumng facts not in evidence."

This is very phony FUD. Bad FUD. Elmer FUD.

The person overseeing the 3.0 process, Eben Moglen, said the other day all reports of GPL problems are overblown. The market success of GPL products, the fact that Lloyd's is now writing insurance in the space, the acceptance of the GPL's assumptions, all point to the health of the open source movement.

I've got another marker, however. When the FUD gets silly, the argument is ending.

Topic: Open Source

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  • Asking questions is FUD?

    Attempting to discuss the future is FUD?

    Yes, it's much better to wait with baited breath for the utterances of the great Richard Stallman. Any attempt to question or discuss what the potential impact of chages could be is traitorous.

    Uhh, no.

    1. The question of updating the license of OS code is highly relevant. What if a flaw was found in the GPL (or BSD, or CDDL, or whatever), and it needed to be corrected? How many developers would need to agree in order to make the update to a chunk of code like the linux kernel?

    2. I would think the people rewriting the GPL would be concerned about what the contributors to the highest profile piece of GPL software think. Maybe it's just my narrow experience, but most things are much easier to change *prior* to release.
    • Leading questions are FUD

      The questions are trying to imply that there is a tension between GPL v 2 and v 3 licenses. The point is that since the GPL v 3 license has not been done yet makes the attempt at stirring up controversy FUD.

      The goal of Moglen and the people working on the new license is to deal with the compatibility issues between the old and the new. When the license is closer to release I'm sure they will also issue advisories about such issues as relicensing GPL v 2 code.

      At such time, then people can engage in a meaningful discussion based on facts rather than mere speculation.
      Robert Crocker
      • Questions and FUD

        Here's the "email" Dana received asking the questions.

        I can tell you that the questions weren't intended as FUD, since I'm the one who wrote them.

        Also, the questions have nothing to do with compatibility, they have to do with logistics. What do you have to do to change the license on code that lacks the "or later version" clause of the GPL when the code is owned by many, many people and organizations?

        If the answers to the questions were:
        1. Code with licenses that include the suggested "or later version" clause of the GPL can be easily migrated to the new license. Code without it will require the consent of the copyright owner.

        2. The core Linux kernel developers are very supportive of v3 of the GPL so far. Most of the important kernel code will be changed to v3 with the consent of its owners. The remainder of the code will stay under v2, which can safely intermingled with v3 code.

        The questions are only likely to produce FUD if there are no answers that are both straightforward and true, or if there's no plan for managing the change.

        Personally, I think the act of calling reasonable questions FUD is FUD, because it implies that there's something to hide.
  • Elmer FUD

    Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbits. Hehhehhehhehheh.... :)
    Mark Miller