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GNU is Not Unix Software Linux

GPLv3 Released 278

Posted by Zonk
from the clarity-for-the-sake-of-it dept.
A GNU Dawn writes "The GPL v3 has just been released. Among other things, the released version grandfathers in the Novell deal so that Microsoft's SLES coupons will undermine their patent threats, replaces references to the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act with more specific language, and clarifies that using BitTorrent to convey a GPLed work is not a breach of the license (it might be one, technically, in GPLv2). The GPL FAQ has been updated to cover the new changes." Commentary is available over at Linux.com (which is owned, along with Slashdot, by Sourceforge).
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GPLv3 Released

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  • Yeah, but (Score:5, Funny)

    by wiredog (43288) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:41PM (#19692165) Journal
    Does it run on an iPhone?
  • iRonic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vigmeister (1112659)
    That it should be released on the same day as a device that teased otherwise, but was virtually closed to 3rd party development.
    Cheers!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by fsmunoz (267297)
      Well, ironic, but perhaps not just a coincidence...

      BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Thursday, June 28, 2007 -- On Friday, June 29, not everyone in the continental U.S. will be waiting in line to purchase a $500 (370) iPhone. In fact, hundreds of thousands of digital aficionados around the globe won't be standing in line at all, for June 29 marks the release of version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Version 2 of the GPL governs the world's largest body of free software -- software that is radically reshaping the industry and threatening the proprietary technology model represented by the iPhone. (...) The iPhone is leaving people questioning: Does it contain GPLed software? What impact will the GPLv3 have on the long-term prospects for devices like the iPhone that are built to keep their owners frustrated? Peter Brown, executive director of the FSF said, "Tomorrow, Steve Jobs and Apple release a product crippled with proprietary software and digital restrictions: crippled, because a device that isn't under the control of its owner works against the interests of its owner. We know that Apple has built its operating system, OS X, and its web browser Safari, using GPL-covered work -- it will be interesting to see to what extent the iPhone uses GPLed software." The GNU GPL version 3 will be released at 12:00pm (EDT) -- six hours before the release of the iPhone -- bringing to a close eighteen months of public outreach and comment, in revision of the world's most popular free software license.

  • Irony - I love it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:45PM (#19692243)
    The cute saying of the minute at the bottom of the page is:

    An effective way to deal with predators is to taste terrible.

    I think that says it all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:47PM (#19692251)
    I've been sitting at my computer eating nothing but hot pockets and red bull waiting for this. I got up only for bathroom breaks.
    It's been worth it. Now I have to print it out so I can fall asleep with it.
  • by niceone (992278) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:50PM (#19692303) Journal
    Let me be the first to say: GPLv4 - it's going to be terrible, it's unnecessary and unwanted, probably will destroy linux and maybe the world too. GPLv4 will eat babies!
  • tivoisation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kuciwalker (891651) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:51PM (#19692309)
    I don't understand the furor over Tivoisation, and think it's a really bad move on the FSF's part to ban it. In all the other articles I've seen tons of comments along the lines of "well if Tivo doesn't want to give back, then they can't use my code!" The thing is, Tivo does give back - they contribute any source code they add. And there's nothing preventing you from using that code on another system (with similar hardware, of course). I don't see the benefit in forcing them to open up their hardware just because they want to use GPLv3 software on it. For most devices like this, it's important to the proper functioning of the network for the servers to be able to trust the clients, and so there have to be limitations to the software you can run on that device. GPLv3 won't convince Tivo (or others) to open their hardware, it will just force all of them to stick with GPLv2 code. That hurts adoption of Free Software.

    The irritating part is that the FSF has the business products exception, where Tivoisation is okay for hardware sold for business use. Stallman et. al. recognize that in some cases it's ultimately beneficial to the user to be unable to run modified software (e.g. a business that has to have accountability, or a console gamer who wants to know that no one is running a hacked game in multiplayer), but they think they can somehow figure out where that line is for everyone.

    • Re:tivoisation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zellyn (692627) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:59PM (#19692439) Homepage
      That's fine if it were just Tivos. However, what would happen if every piece of hardware you bought was Tivoised? Only properly signed binaries would run at all. I can think of several companies that would love that situation.
      • That's fine if it were just Tivos. However, what would happen if every piece of hardware you bought was Tivoised?

        Then I wouldn't be able to run the FSF's software on any of it, by their design!

        But, let's be realistic. It would be absolutely impossible to Tivoise all general-purpose computers. And it's not like you couldn't build your own.

        • Re:tivoisation (Score:5, Informative)

          by PeterBrett (780946) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:48PM (#19693145) Homepage

          But, let's be realistic. It would be absolutely impossible to Tivoise all general-purpose computers.

          That is exactly what the likes of Microsoft and Sony want to do for anything consumer-available.

          And it's not like you couldn't build your own.

          They want to stop you from doing that too (or at least make it economically infeasible).

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      I dont like it either and I think in the long run its going to hurt oss adoption, but at the same time its almost trivial for manufacturers to 'tivoise' all their equipment. If this happens en masse it would hurt oss quite a bit. I'm not sure who wins in this scenario, but the neckbeards have decided to shoot back and declare hardware as theirs. This is something to consider before releasing anything under v3.
    • Re:tivoisation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by UtucXul (658400) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:13PM (#19692655) Homepage

      I don't see the benefit in forcing them to open up their hardware just because they want to use GPLv3 software on it.
      No one is asking them to open up their hardware. As far as I'm concerned they can do anything they want with their hardware. The problem is that they want to lock MY hardware and won't give me the key. I purchased a series 2 TiVo. I understand that software has licenses so I don't own the software when I buy it in a way. But the TiVo box is a physical item that I gave a store money for. The only owner of that box sitting under my TV is me (and I guess my wife).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The spirit of the GPL is that of freedom for the user. Tivoisation, the restriction of actually modifying the code on the hardware, was an unforeseen issue when GPLv2 (which guarantees that right) was written and thusly had to be corrected in GPLv3.

      If you don't understand the significance of that then I invite you to a thought-experiment of what it would be like in a world where you can see the source, but not modify it, even though that right is guaranteed by the license of the software. Oh, and in regar
      • Re:tivoisation (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kuciwalker (891651) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:22PM (#19692787)
        The spirit of the GPL is that of freedom for the user. Tivoisation, the restriction of actually modifying the code on the hardware, was an unforeseen issue when GPLv2 (which guarantees that right) was written and thusly had to be corrected in GPLv3.

        And yet the FSF went to great lengths to permit it in some cases (the business use exception), recognizing that Tivoisation isn't a restriction on fundamental freedom, and in fact in many cases is beneficial to the user. That's why they have the convoluted definition of "consumer device" so that they can distinguish between consumer and business products - because lots of businesses have an interest in devices that will only run signed code. And I gave an example of where the consumer wants the same thing - games, where the user wants to know that everyone is running the same version in multiplayer. In general, it's often good for networked devices (other than general-purpose computers) to only run signed code, because it makes it significantly easier to guarantee network stability. So even if we accept that there are cases where Tivoisation is bad, and that the FSF ought to try to prevent them, we're left with the fact that it can only do so with a broad brush, eliminating a lot of good uses along with a lot of bad ones. They're taking away as much freedom for the user (freedom to use GPLv3 on their trusted platform while maintaining that trust) as they're giving.

        • Re:tivoisation (Score:4, Interesting)

          by PeterBrett (780946) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:52PM (#19693221) Homepage

          In general, it's often good for networked devices (other than general-purpose computers) to only run signed code, because it makes it significantly easier to guarantee network stability. So even if we accept that there are cases where Tivoisation is bad, and that the FSF ought to try to prevent them, we're left with the fact that it can only do so with a broad brush, eliminating a lot of good uses along with a lot of bad ones. They're taking away as much freedom for the user (freedom to use GPLv3 on their trusted platform while maintaining that trust) as they're giving.

          Surely having code signed by the owner achieves the same results in this case as having code signed by the vendor, assuming that the owner is not stupid enough to keep the private key for the signing process on the box which they are requiring to run signed code?

          I challenge you to provide me with one example of a case where using the user's key to sign the code running on their box is inferior to the same box running the same software signed by a vendor key which the user does not have access to.

          • Re:tivoisation (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Kuciwalker (891651) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:13PM (#19693493)
            Jesus Christ, I've mentioned it twice already: networked multiplayer games. Because I can't run a modified executable on my machine, I can't cheat, and neither can anyone else.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by PeterBrett (780946)

              Jesus Christ, I've mentioned it twice already: networked multiplayer games. Because I can't run a modified executable on my machine, I can't cheat, and neither can anyone else.

              Fair point. And although you might (probably should) agree that this is a pretty pathological example, I did only ask for one!

              My response would be to ask whether a community so rife with anti-social behaviour is one which you want to be part of, but I suppose you've already answered that question too.

            • by BRSloth (578824) *
              IMHO, if you want to prevent hacking, put more checks on the side you have control: the server. You have no control over the user machine (it is HIS/HER machine) and no control over the network. There are too many pieces "in between" that could go wrong (and you may punish the user for something that may not be his fault).

              It is just a little bit hard, but no impossible.
          • by 2short (466733)

            "I challenge you to provide me with one example of a case where using the user's key to sign the code running on their box is inferior to the same box running the same software signed by a vendor key which the user does not have access to."

            Not that I actually want to jump into this debate, but I love a challenge, so:

            The user is a casino, the box is a slot machine. If someone accuses them of cheating (which will happen), it is great for them if they never had any ability to modify the code in the first plac
            • The user is a casino, the box is a slot machine. If someone accuses them of cheating (which will happen), it is great for them if they never had any ability to modify the code in the first place.

              There are such a thing as ROM chips, and there are such a thing as tamper-proof stickers. This is a good example of a situation in which both would be appropriate, and compatible with both the relevant legislation and the GPL v3 (neither vendor nor user has ability to change code after delivery).

              Secondly, as you mention, both of the examples you give do not fall within the category of "consumer product" as defined by the GPL v3, and therefore the Tivoisation sections don't apply. I should probably hav

              • by 2short (466733)
                "do you you really want to be a member of a community where the problem of cheating is such an issue that you need to surrender your freedom to cope with it?"

                No, I don't, as I'm not much of a gamer in any case. But some people apparently do want to be part of such a community. Do "consumer" users get the freedom to make that decision, like businesses do, or does the FSF make that decision for them? Business and gaming are two communities where it's nice to be able to give people more reason to trust you
      • by rockhome (97505)
        What if said hardware was proprietary and only available through the systems provider? What then?

        There should be no expectation that a manufacturer make its hardware available for third party development.
        Proprietary systems have there drawbacks, but they are a fact of life. If one has an issue with the fact that a given consumer
        device is a closed platform, one ought not purchase the device. This ought to be how the issue of so-called Tivoization ought
        to be decided, by making the business model non-viable
        • Re:tivoisation (Score:4, Insightful)

          by PeterBrett (780946) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:47PM (#19693957) Homepage

          There should be no expectation that a manufacturer make its hardware available for third party development. Proprietary systems have there drawbacks, but they are a fact of life. If one has an issue with the fact that a given consumer device is a closed platform, one ought not purchase the device. This ought to be how the issue of so-called Tivoization ought to be decided, by making the business model non-viable for the company, not some poorly constructed, arbitrarily defined licensing scheme that restricts only the freedom of some, and not all. The fact that there is a "commercial device" exception indicates that the case for so-called Tivoization has a valid application and should therefore be allowed. Banning the practice for "consumer devices" is simply an arbitrary confinement of freedom that is a slippery slope.

          The clauses in the GPL v3 simply say: "If you use my software, for free, to create a device which you then sell back to me at a steep price, I'd better bloody well be able to put any further modifications I make to that software onto said device. Furthermore, because I think that's pretty neat, I'd like you to extend that ability to your other customers too. If you don't like it, write your own damn software."

          I paraphrase and over-simplify, but the gist is there. It's not legislation, banning the practice generally. It's very specific.

          You have an objection to this?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rockhome (97505)
            First, the relevant text :

            A "User Product" is either (1) a "consumer product", which means any tangible personal property which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes, or (2) anything designed or sold for incorporation into a dwelling. In determining whether a product is a consumer product, doubtful cases shall be resolved in favor of coverage. For a particular product received by a particular user, "normally used" refers to a typical or common use of that class of product, regardless
    • Re:tivoisation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Evets (629327) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:25PM (#19692855) Homepage Journal
      It's pretty simple. If I buy a product, let's say it's a PDA and the PDA interface uses software I developed. I find a major security hole in my software, so I want to patch it.

      Tivoisation prevents me from patching it. It prevents me from adding features. It prevents me from fixing bugs.

      It's my software. I want to update it, and the only thing preventing that is licensing. That and a hardware based security system enforcing the licensing. When I wrote the software originally, I did not intend for products to be developed using my software that I could not update. In fact, I licensed my software in order to prevent that kind of a thing. Unfortunately, the PDA manufacturer found a loophole that stuck to the letter of my license, but not the spirit of it.

      This is pretty much what Tivo did. The anti-Tivoisation language in the new GPL effectively closes that loophole.

      Now, if Tivo wants to do the same thing in the future, they can either utilize software who's authors don't mind (and it's widely available for what Tivo wants to do), or they can contact the original author team for alternative licensing. In the case of large scale community projects where no such licensing option exists, they can either stick to the license or they can develop their own similar project in-house.

      All the FSF is doing is ensuring that software licensees abide by the spirit of what the original authors intended. They recognized that business enterprises were taking advantage by using loopholes and they've attacked that problem - pretty effectively.

      ---
      I can't think of a single instance where Tivo actually contributed code back to the community as you state.

      Regardless, they are not without free options. All they need to do is shift to BSD licensed products - which they should have done in the first place given their long term strategy.

      • by init100 (915886)

        I can't think of a single instance where Tivo actually contributed code back to the community as you state.

        I think that he meant that TiVo publishes the modifications it makes to the GPL-covered software, as required by the license.

    • Re:tivoisation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:28PM (#19692901) Homepage Journal
      For most devices like this, it's important to the proper functioning of the network for the servers to be able to trust the clients, and so there have to be limitations to the software you can run on that device.

      Then they should pick a software product based on a license that lets you do that. To oversimplify, but in a way that most people can grok, the BSD line maximizes the rights of the individual user(developer-sense) of software. The GPL has always been about maximizing the rights of the community, at the expense of what the user wants (to keep his changes secret, e.g.). GPL3 just clarifies some of the loopholes found in GPL2 that minimize community rights.

      TiVo clearly takes rights away from the end-users of the hardware they've purchased, and this is contrary to the spirit of the GPL.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TrueJim (107565)
      It's like a restaurant chef refusing to tell you what's in your dinner. Sure, it's the chef's recipe...but it's your dinner. You're the one about to put the mystery food into your belly. You have a right to know what's going to go into your stomach. That doesn't mean you intend to steal the chef's recipe, but daggumit...it's your stomach! You have a right to know what's going in'it!

      Likewise, my Tivo is my computer. It's running in my house. It's connected to my network. I have a right to know what it'

      • It's like a restaurant chef refusing to tell you what's in your dinner. Sure, it's the chef's recipe...but it's your dinner. You're the one about to put the mystery food into your belly. You have a right to know what's going to go into your stomach. That doesn't mean you intend to steal the chef's recipe, but daggumit...it's your stomach! You have a right to know what's going in'it!

        And if you don't like the fact that the good chef won't tell you what's in your dinner, then you have every right to leave a
      • Re:tivoisation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by PeterBrett (780946) on Friday June 29, 2007 @04:05PM (#19693387) Homepage

        Likewise, my Tivo is my computer. It's running in my house. It's connected to my network. I have a right to know what it's doing. Would you be as forgiving of a builder who wouldn't let you keep a copy of the plans to your house? Would you tolerate a car dealer who's welded your hood shut? It's your house. It's your car. You have a right to know where the plumbing goes. You have a right to look at the engine.

        Actually, this is a poor analogy. In defense of Tivo, they are very good about complying with the letter of GPL v2 in that they distribute the sources to all of the GPL software that they use.

        This explanation [slashdot.org] is much better, in my opinion.

        Another way of looking at it is this (I don't have a Tivo, but hopefully my argument will make sense). Suppose you have a great idea for a way to improve the way the Tivo interface works for you, and you see that the modifications you need to make to the code which Tivo distribute to you are quite trivial. However, when you send the patch to Tivo they tell you they won't implement it because the business case doesn't support it -- you're the only one of their customers likely to use such a change. Then you're left hanging: as you mentioned, you own a more or less generic computing device and now you also have some code to run on said computing device, but you're at the whim of a third party (non-enforceable EULAs notwithstanding) as to whether or not you can put those two components together.

        As many people have pointed out, the right to make modifications and improvements and to use said modifications and improvements is pretty fundamental to the whole point of Free Software, and that's exactly what Tivo have been trying to get around.

        I agree that they need to be stopped, and I support the GPL v3 in its strategy to deal with this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      The irritating part is that the FSF has the business products exception, where Tivoisation is okay for hardware sold for business use. Stallman et. al. recognize that in some cases it's ultimately beneficial to the user to be unable to run modified software (e.g. a business that has to have accountability, or a console gamer who wants to know that no one is running a hacked game in multiplayer), but they think they can somehow figure out where that line is for everyone.

      The other irritating part is that thi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrchaotica (681592) *

      I don't understand the furor over Tivoisation, and think it's a really bad move on the FSF's part to ban it. In all the other articles I've seen tons of comments along the lines of "well if Tivo doesn't want to give back, then they can't use my code!" The thing is, Tivo does give back - they contribute any source code they add.

      Her's what you're missing: the GPL exists to benefit USERS , not developers! As it stands, the users of TiVos are being screwed because they can't actually modify the code that runs

  • MS SLES Coupons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kadin2048 (468275) * <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:51PM (#19692313) Homepage Journal
    Is it really true that they're "distributing" Linux by selling the SLES coupons?

    The way I read this, it's a pretty high-risk maneuver. They've essentially given Novell a free pass, hoping that they can undermine Microsoft with the SLES coupons thing. But if Microsoft can argue that they're not really distributing Linux by selling the coupons, then the whole thing, I think, unravels -- Novell gets a free pass for nothing and can continue on its merry way, remaining in the death-pact with Microsoft and using GPL3 code.

    Given that Microsoft isn't screaming bloody murder about this, I think they must not see it as a big risk, and that to me isn't a good thing. It means they think they can avoid having their patents undermined, and if that's true, then excepting Novell will be for nothing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Given that Microsoft isn't screaming bloody murder about this, I think they must not see it as a big risk, and that to me isn't a good thing. It means they think they can avoid having their patents undermined, and if that's true, then excepting Novell will be for nothing."

      The reason that Microsoft isn't screaming bloody murder about this is because if they gave any impression that this would be a major impact to their IP Licensing and bottom line, share holders will start to dump stock.

      I'm not saying that
    • Re:MS SLES Coupons (Score:5, Informative)

      by Todd Knarr (15451) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:30PM (#19692931) Homepage

      Not quite a free pass. Notice that the grandfather clause only includes the bit about distributing GPLv3'd software while a party to such an agreement. It doesn't extend to failing to pass along any patent license (which includes things like covenants not to sue) or rights to pass along such a patent license in turn. So Novell can distribute GPLv3'd software because of the grandfather clause, but they can't distribute any of it subject to the agreement with MS without violating either the agreement or the software's license (license requires that they pass that coverage to all indirect recipients, agreement prohibits doing so).

      "Getting in is easy. Getting out, that really isn't hard either. Getting out alive, that's the tricky part."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kripkenstein (913150)

      Is it really true that they're "distributing" Linux by selling the SLES coupons?
      [...]
      Given that Microsoft isn't screaming bloody murder about this, I think they must not see it as a big risk, and that to me isn't a good thing.

      Well, to be honest, the whole Microsoft-saying-Linux-infringes-patents thing is FUD, and vice versa, the FSF-says-Microsoft-are-distributing-Linux thing is FUD as well. Both are dubious and the results of testing them in court would be very uncertain, as no precedent exists for either. Their purpose is basically to deter people from doing things (from using Linux or from suing Linux, respectively).

      So, this basically seems like a 'fight fire with fire' tactic on the FSF's part. If it makes Microsoft even

  • ...and ain't talking about no salad fork.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:53PM (#19692345)
    Linux is under the GPL v2, not v3.
    • by wbren (682133) on Friday June 29, 2007 @05:38PM (#19694531) Homepage

      Linux is under the GPL v2, not v3.
      Probably because Linus is at least considering using GPLv3 for at least parts of Linux. Here's a quote from the man himself:

      Btw, if Sun really _is_ going to release OpenSolaris under GPLv3, that _may_ be a good reason. I don't think the GPLv3 is as good a license as v2, but on the other hand, I'm pragmatic, and if we can avoid having two kernels with two different licenses and the friction that causes, I at least see the _reason_ for GPLv3.
      I know it's a bit of a loose connection to Linux, but there has definitely been quite a lot of news lately about Linux, Linux, GPLv3, Sun, etc.
    • by eMbry00s (952989)
      Because the Linux section is not just about the kernel, but about the entire GNU/Linux system. Everything GNU is going to become GPL3, since the GNU project own all the code copyrights.

      This includes things extremely vital to running a Linux system, such as the gcc program.
  • Apache Licence (Score:2, Interesting)

    by smartr (1035324)
    So is the GPLv3 compatible with Apache License v2 style licenses, or has that idea been abandoned?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pinky0x51 (951042)
      Yes, GPLv3 is compatible to the Apache License v2.
    • Re:Apache Licence (Score:5, Informative)

      by fsmunoz (267297) <<fsmunoz> <at> <member.fsf.org>> on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:25PM (#19692851) Homepage
      Yes,it's compatible. I don't see it explicitly in the final documentation, but it was mentioned in a previous comment (GPLv3 Final Discussion Draft Rationale [fsf.org]:

      We are pleased to report that the Final Draft makes the Apache License, version 2.0, fully compatible with GPLv3. We are grateful to the Apache Software Foundation for working with us to achieve this long-sought goal. The concerns we stated in the Draft 3 Rationale were based on varying literal readings of section 9 of the Apache license that diered from the interpretation of section 9 held by the ASF itself. During the course of productive discussions with the ASF following the release of Draft 3, we ascertained that, to the ASF, the words \by reason of" in the section 9 upstream indemnication clause meant nothing broader or vaguer than \directly as a result of." Read in this light, section 9 seems to us a reasonable and fair approach to protecting upstream developers, even though we do not wish to adopt such a provision in our own license. The Final Draft makes the Apache indemnication clause compatible with GPLv3 by adding a new category of additional conditions in section 7 that may be applied, with appropriate copyright authorization, to material added to a covered work. Subsection 7f allows terms that require indemni- cation of upstream licensors and authors of the material by a downstream distributor who conveys with contractual assumptions of liability to the recipient, for any liability that such assumptions directly impose on those upstream parties.


      Also, from the Why Upgrade to GPL Version 3 [fsf.org] document:

      Further advantages of GPLv3 include better internationalization, gentler termination, support for BitTorrent, and compatibility with the Apache license. (For full information, see gplv3.fsf.org.) All in all, plenty of reason to upgrade.
  • OpenSolaris (Score:4, Interesting)

    by starseeker (141897) on Friday June 29, 2007 @02:57PM (#19692415) Homepage
    Now the interesting part - will this license prove to be one Sun feels they can use for OpenSolaris?

    If so, and the copyright holders for the parts of the Linux kernel of use to Sun are willing to license their code under GPLv3 as well, we may begin to see some major impacts on the open source OS landscape.

    Fingers crossed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gowen (141411)
      Linux relicensing won't happen. It pretty much can't happen. Any contributor to any file that does not have "or later version" (and there are many) in the license would have to sign off on the change. Some of them are dead, so you'd probably have to track down their descendants / executors.

      Of course, OpenSolaris may use GPL3 for exactly that reason.
      • Not as a whole, true. But Solaris doesn't NEED the whole kernel - they just need some key parts they don't have. Drivers are an obvious one, and the usual list of ZFS and dtrace - I wonder what dtrace would be able to do as far as improving drivers imported from the Linux kernel. There are probably other parts, but I'm not up on the details enough to know what they would be - anybody have a list?

        Of course, incorporating any of Linux into Solaris would probably mean instrumenting it and/or other non-trivi
      • Re:OpenSolaris (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Friday June 29, 2007 @05:58PM (#19694735) Homepage Journal
        Linux relicensing won't happen. It pretty much can't happen.

        This is an urban myth. Linux can be relicensed at any time, with a simple legal process. It is not necessary to find all of the developers to get their permission.

        How can the Linux kernel project, with its thousands of developers, ever change its license? We can't even reach them all, and some of those developers are dead and their estates don't know software licenses from driver's licenses. But changing the license is easier than most people think.

        First, it's not a fundamental change: the intent of GPL 3 is that of GPL 2, the change is in the implementation. Given that, what would be required for such a change would be for Torvalds (or someone else) to publish his intent to start making releases with the new license, as a legal notice. A certain number of people would object, and they would have the right to require that their contributions be removed from the new release.

        The kernel team has never been loath to replace code when necessary, and never slow to handle the job, no matter how large the item to be replaced. Just look at the replacement of Bitkeeper with "git", a big job that took a ground-up rewrite and yet was working in five weeks. So, code belonging to GPL3-objectors would be swiftly dealt with.

        After some time passed, the release would happen under the new license, and life would go on. There is precedent for this, as Torvalds has already made two significant changes to the prelude to GPL2 on the kernel, publishing his intent and then making a release.

        Bruce

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Kjella (173770)
          First, it's not a fundamental change: the intent of GPL 3 is that of GPL 2, the change is in the implementation. Given that, what would be required for such a change would be for Torvalds (or someone else) to publish his intent to start making releases with the new license, as a legal notice. A certain number of people would object, and they would have the right to require that their contributions be removed from the new release.

          Just because the license text is produced by the same organization, and some ot
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by trifish (826353)
          Given that, what would be required for such a change would be for Torvalds (or someone else) to publish his intent to start making releases with the new license, as a legal notice.

          Torvalds is not the copyright holder of the software released by other copyright holders under GPL2 without the "v2 or any later" clause (except portions of the software he wrote himself). Hence, if he ever attempts to release it under a different license (v3 or whatever) without the consent of the copyright holders, he immediatel
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by joe_bruin (266648)
      Consider this possibility:
      If Solaris moves to GPLv3 while Linux is stuck with v2, Debian might adopt the Solaris kernel as their main kernel (after a long transition process), since it is more in line with their principles of creating a pure GNU system. And then, what will happen to the Debian derived systems (such as Ubuntu)? If Sun plays their cards right, they can effectively shift a big chunk of the Linux world to Solaris.
      • It may be more in line with GNU principles (although Debian has broken ranks with the FSF in the past; the GFDL comes to mind), but is it in line with Debian's goal of being "The Universal Operating System?". Debian can offer GNU/Linux on something like 13 different processor architectures; Solaris supports something like 3. They may pick it up as a sideline if anyone's interested (like GNU/Hurd, or GNU/FreeBSD, or GNU/NetBSD) but I don't see it becoming the mainline anytime soon, nor do I see Ubuntu switch
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kripkenstein (913150)

        Consider this possibility:
        If Solaris moves to GPLv3 while Linux is stuck with v2, Debian might adopt the Solaris kernel as their main kernel (after a long transition process), since it is more in line with their principles of creating a pure GNU system. And then, what will happen to the Debian derived systems (such as Ubuntu)? If Sun plays their cards right, they can effectively shift a big chunk of the Linux world to Solaris.

        First, Debian already has multiple kernels (Linux and BSD). Second, sure, if OpenSolaris were as functional as Linux, and GPL3 to boot, it might be a nice replacement. However, at this point OpenSolaris is far behind Linux with regards to device drivers and other things. So, this won't happen in the near future. In fact, Nexenta are already basically doing what you suggested, with little popularity thus far (although it is an interesting project to watch).

  • over at Linux.com (which is owned, along with Slashdot, by Sourceforge).
    Does Slashdot (or Linux.com or Sourceforge for that matter) no longer welcome their OSTG overlords?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Because you missed it the first time .....

      http://web.sourceforge.com/news_archive/2007/1799. php [sourceforge.com]

      VA Software Corporation (Nasdaq: LNUX), the online media and e-commerce leader in community-driven open source innovation, today announced it has changed its name to SourceForge, Inc. The change reflects the company's strategic focus on its network of Web properties following the disposition of its enterprise software business. The company's Nasdaq ticker symbol will remain the same.
  • note nice! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:03PM (#19692513) Homepage
    From http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html [gnu.org]

    What if the work is not much longer than the license itself?

    If a single program is that short, you may as well use a simple all-permissive license for it, rather than the GNU GPL.


    Hey, that's not nice! Some pretty remarkable software has been written on T-Shirts that are much shorted than the GPL.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brandybuck (704397)
      Then release them under a simple all-permissive license! Think about it. Don't put it under the GPLv3 if you're not planning on suing the shit out of people who "exploit" the code on the tee-shirt.

      I would say the same about many larger pieces of software as well. GPLv2 and v3 are legal clubs you use to whack people over the head. They may not have rusty nails in them like a Microsoft EULA, but they are still clubs. If you have no intention of suing people over possible misuse of your code, then use an unres
    • Those small yet pretty remarkable programs could easily be rewritten under a new license. At that length, it's in the thinking that all the work lies.
  • Make it an ideology (Score:3, Interesting)

    by athloi (1075845) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:09PM (#19692605) Homepage Journal

    "The educational aspect of GPLv3 has, in my opinion, been the greatest success," he says.

    I agree. The open source movement has always wanted a focal point, a figure like Mao or Roosevelt, who can champion its ideal and point out its obvious implications. It's slightly anarchistic. It's anti-ownership. It's Darwinistic (let the best code win). All that is now clear, and many people agree.

    The real question to me, as an observer of "current history," is whether people will take this to logical conclusions outside the world of the net. Will the Wal-Marts burn, and Paris Hilton be forced to do her own laundry? Will the morons of the world be forced to dwell in antartica? Or will this be a pithy statement like those of forgotten rock stars, "changing the world" inside a few minds separated by vast spaces of time, distance, economic instability and doubt?

  • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige@NOSpaM.trashmail.net> on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:19PM (#19692745) Homepage Journal

    There is no God but FOSS and Stallman is its Prophet. Peace be upon him. The writ of holy scripture GPL shall burn into the souls of the infidel. If they do not submit, as the Prophet, holiness is his name, to the will of God, then we will force governments to ban the infidels. We will use the holy war of antitrust on the infidel. God wills it, we are the followers of God and its Prophet, paradise awaits him.

    There is not God but FOSS.

    Stallman is its Prophet.

    The Holy Writ of God is GPL.

    • Heathen!

      There is no system but GNU, and Linux is one of its kernels. [stallman.org]

      Sainthood in the Church of Emacs requires living a life of purity--but in the Church of Emacs, this does not require celibacy (a sigh of relief is heard). Being holy in our church means installing a wholly free operating system--GNU/Linux is a good choice--and not putting any non-free software on your computer. Join the Church of Emacs, and you too can be a saint!
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by WED Fan (911325)

        Please, allow me to correct you, you apostate sectarian:

        GNU/Sainthood in the GNU/Church of Emacs requires living a GNU/life of GNU/purity--but in the GNU/Church of Emacs, this does not require GNU/celibacy (a sigh of relief is heard). Being GNU/holy in our GNU/church means installing a wholly GNU/free GNU/operating GNU/system--GNU/Linux is a good choice--and not putting any non-free software on your computer. Join the GNU/Church of Emacs, and you too can be a GNU/saint!

        The GNU/Holy Writ proclaims that you

        • by fsmunoz (267297)
          Pfff. That GNU prefix is for the non-initiated. The ones that are in the Inner College know, from the grade of Adeptus Exemptus onward, that they don't need to use it, it's implied in everything per secula seculorum.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:22PM (#19692793) Homepage Journal
    OK, now it's time for Sun to grab the bull by the horns. They've been waiting for GPL3 for a year and a half - and just recommitted [bfccomputing.com] to it a couple weeks ago, pending final language - if Java and OpenSolaris get released with GPL3 things are going to get *very* interesting.

    Everybody please join me in exhorting Jonathan to take the bungee jump.
  • The link on 'A Gnu Dawn' points to xkdc.com [xkdc.com]; I'm going to take a not-so-wild guess here and say it was supposed to be the geeky comic xkcd [xkcd.com].
  • by MarkWatson (189759) on Friday June 29, 2007 @03:27PM (#19692871) Homepage
    This was an easy decision for me - I agree with the new license terms.

    I did not originally use the "or later version" verbage, and I decided not to this time, not that it matters: I write what could best be called "small market" OS projects :-)

    A bit off topic, but it continues to frustrate me that my customers don't take more advantage of the GPL. I have been an independent consultant for a decade, and I almost never get customers to support open source development. I went so far as to offer a 30% discount for work on GPLed projects - no bites, but lots of offers to work on proprietary systems. My take is that there is too much emphasis on protecting intellectual property and not enough on reducing costs and improving quality by building on top of existing GPLed projects. From my experience, and a bit of opinion thrown in: most value in intellectual property is in unique data sources and human knowledge. I would bet that most companies would do better on financial and quality metrics by having a few proprietary systems for specific data processing, application of unique algorithms, etc. - and use GPL (or Apache, BSD, etc.) for as much infrastructure software as possible.
  • Tivo announces their new top of the line Tivo unit now running VxWorks.

  • They did not change the language from the last draft.

    If Microsoft wants to engage other companies into Microsoft-Novel kind of deals in the future, all they have to do is give the patents to a proxy company that is not "in the business of distributing software", and the proxy company can do the deals for them. I don't think it would be hard for them to find the proxy patent troll for a reasonable fee.

    The license leaves the door open not only for Microsoft proxies, it also leaves the door open to any patent
    • by init100 (915886)

      I don't think it would be hard for them to find the proxy patent troll for a reasonable fee.

      They already have one. It's called Intellectual Ventures, and is run by the former Microsoft manager Nathan Myhrvold.

  • I have to admit that I am more than a bit put off by the excessive wording and length of this license.

    I think if I put out free software, I'm going to put it into the public domain, and I would encourage people to do the same. The fixation on limiting other people's profits from your work because you choose to do so is absurd, and in the days where it only costs $20 a month to give away a fairly large amount of source code to a fairly large amount of people, the whole point of linking the publication of th

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