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Tech Writers Spreading FUD About GPLv3 411

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the spreading-something-but-it-sure-ain't-fud dept.
Tookis writes "Tech writers are spreading FUD about GPLv3 because they fear its take up will slow the adoption of Linux, according to this open source writer. "A large number of tech writers — I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession — are fearful that the license will slow adoption of Linux in the workplace. And that would lead to a lessening of their own importance and influence."" So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.
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Tech Writers Spreading FUD About GPLv3

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  • by faloi (738831) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:37AM (#19875507)
    Journalism is well beyond being unsullied these days.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Groklaw had a thing to say... and the author of the article then retracted some of his errors (but not all in the Corrections part of the thread).

      http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200707131 92403106 [groklaw.net]

      There was a comment following this that was interesting regarding the author still not liking GPLv3 - that concludes that all that GPLv3 does is make software pure as math (the same as the UK Court of Appeal, th UK high court, has done by outlawing software patents)!

      see: http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php [groklaw.net]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "A large number of tech writers - I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession"
      Where is the concern about sullying the reputation of real technical writers, of which I am one? You know, the kind that produce documentation that actually helps people understand concepts and accomplish tasks. Perhaps the author is unaware of the difference? I prefer not to be lumped in with every opinionated attention-seeking semi-literate gadget-obsessed blogger-for-hire out there. Let me see... Journalists...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by utopianfiat (774016)
        "Now Mr. Colbert, the left-wing critics love you... there are no right-wing critics."
                          -- Bill O'Reilly, "The O'Reilly Factor"

        Fox News writes their own jokes tyvm.
      • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday July 16, 2007 @03:47PM (#19880065) Homepage

        Where is the concern about sullying the reputation of real technical writers, of which I am one?

        By "tech writers" he means technology writers, not technical writers.

        I in fact use this term to describe myself. I don't call myself a journalist because I have friends who are journalists. These people spent tens of thousands of dollars to go to journalism school, then graduated and got themselves jobs making tens of thousands of dollars a year writing up real news about real things happening in their communities -- things that are important to real people -- and without so much as a "thank you." They do a job that's far more important than blabbering about the freakin iPhone. I don't envy them, but I respect them -- enough to allow them the privilege of keeping the term "journalist" for themselves.

        That said, I read TFA and I would not call the author a journalist either, not by a long shot.

        Here's one for starters: Any article that includes blanket generalizations such as "many tech writers are putting down the GPLv3" -- and then fails to give so much as a single example -- is just page filler. This guy is the purest example of a crap-hound tech writer with nothing to say. I have no idea how this made the homepage.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by OriginalArlen (726444)

      Journalism is well beyond being unsullied these days
      ...you're right, of course, but it's hugely unfair to generalise from TV anchors, paps and tabloid sleazeballs (Daily Mail journalists have a special circle of hell waiting for them) to everyone else in the profession - especially now, when many journalists are losing their lives trying to do their job and report the news. [cpj.org].
  • by LimpGuppy (161354) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:38AM (#19875517)
    Remember, if you are not for GPLv3 then you are for the terrorists, or something...

    • by WED Fan (911325) <akahige&trashmail,net> on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:52AM (#19875665) Homepage Journal

      The GNU/Prophet, holiness on his name, has decreed and the GNU/Word of GNU, There is But One GOD, GNU is its Name and Stallman is its Prophet, Peace Be Upon Him.

      The GNU/Word of GNU/God is GPL3. Stallman has declared GNU/FUDwah on the heretic Linus for crimes against the GNU/Faith:

      • For not changing his name to GNU/Linus and likewise naming his baby, GNU/Linux
      • For not adopting GPL3
      • For actually working for a living and participating in the evil capitalist system

      Face Berkeley, kneel, and pray.

      GNU/Holiness to GNU/God. GNU/Peace to the GNU/Prophet. GNU/Terminate to the Disbelievers, GPL2 Apostates, Other-Than-GPL Open License Perverts, Intellectual Property Holders, Copyright Defenders, Capitalists, for they have given themselves over to be the Children of the Greater and Lesser Closed Satans, Bill Gates and the U.S.A., respectively.

      • by forgoil (104808)
        Berkeley? Isn't that the BSD/Devil? Surely you mean face GNU/RMS!
      • Re:It's Us or Them (Score:4, Insightful)

        by aerthling (796790) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:15AM (#19875907)
        Stallman's request for systems that use both the Linux kernel and GNU software to be called GNU/Linux does not sound that unreasonable to me. Take away either one and you're not going to be able to do much.

        I just don't get the outrage.
        • Re:It's Us or Them (Score:4, Interesting)

          by halivar (535827) <(bfelger) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:39AM (#19876149) Homepage
          I don't call my laptop OS Microsoft/Adobe/Sun/Macromedia/Mozilla/Blizzard/In tuit/Windows; it's just Windows. I don't call my home system GNU/Linux; it's just Linux.
          • Re:It's Us or Them (Score:4, Insightful)

            by aerthling (796790) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:50AM (#19876259)
            That may be true, but none of the software made by Adobe, Blizzard, etc., is an integral part of the operating system. Removing Photoshop or WoW or whatever is not going to render your system totally useless. Taking away the GNU tools from a Linux-based system would.

            It is trivial, but he does have a point.
            • by halivar (535827)
              There are third-party products (especially at work) that, if removed, would in fact render my system totally useless. In Linux, the difference between the OS and the tool-chain is grayer than anywhere. Let's say I've got an nVidia card on my system; if I want to use x.org, yet another vendor's tool-chain becomes necessary for me to use the system. Do I now need to call it GNU/nVidia/Linux? Where's the line?
              • Re:It's Us or Them (Score:4, Informative)

                by aerthling (796790) on Monday July 16, 2007 @11:31AM (#19876715)
                OK, I'll have one more go. :)

                The GNU core utilities form a significant portion of the operating system. There are no real alternatives, and they're not optional, or required in only some systems as nVidia's drivers are (excepting embedded systems, perhaps) - every single Linux system needs them. Without them, a computer running Linux is useless, not just for your work-specific requirements, but for everything. Without them, the operating system wouldn't operate.
            • So you would install BSD tools instead, which are known to exist for Linux. Linux originally wasn't shipping with glibc if you recall. And many of the service tools are from BSD. GNU slowly replaced the collection of various tools from various sources under various licenses with their own flavor.

              I guess you'd have to stay away from GNOME, but vendors aren't shipping GNOME embedded in their Tivos so who cares. (and there is always KDE, which iirc is not GPL'd)

              It's a point, but not a very well thought out one
          • by Garabito (720521)

            I don't call my laptop OS Microsoft/Adobe/Sun/Macromedia/Mozilla/Blizzard/In tuit/Windowsit's just Windows.

            Exactly. You don't call it NT Kernel.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jythie (914043)
          I think it is less outrage and more people see it as really petty and annoying to push "GNU/Linux" instead of "Linux".

          In addition to sounding childish, people generally don't like someone trying to explicitly control their use of language. Actually, that last bit does include a little outrage. People really don't like being told which word to use for something. It takes language from being democratic to being autocratic and there will always be people for whom that REALLY gets under their skin... and wh
      • by iggymanz (596061)
        Great! but MIT, dude, not Berkeley. MIT was Stallman land, Berkeley is BSD land.
    • This where a strange world if one could coerce others to enter into an 'agreement'. On the face of it the Fear argument is warped. Perhaps it is more the Loathing for the restrictions of the new GPL and the implicit commercial motivation that keep some from adopting it.
    • by jythie (914043)
      Or even worse, you might work for a corporation!!!!

      Only bad people work for corporations... good people work for non-profits or in academia.. or give talks for a living.
  • Strange.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Square Snow Man (985909) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:40AM (#19875537)
    Sometimes, I wonder if people even know what GPLv3 is. How is it possible for this license to slow adoption of GNU/Linux in any way possible?
    • Re:Strange.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Macthorpe (960048) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:09AM (#19875835) Journal
      Seriously?

      When you have one of the most influential people in Open Source refuse to accept the license you have written in favour of an incompatible prior version, you have already automatically created a division between idealists and pragmatists, with both technically working on the same codebase.

      When your developers can't even decide between them how they want their code used, I can't see any situation where it could help.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        but I don't see that one going out of fashion.

        Linus may have the goal to see his baby widespread, RMS, the FSF and the license they use don't need to win a popularity contest. As long as there is "free code" (in the Nelson Mandela sense) the license is doing its job. If people don't want to agree to the ideals, then write your own license. RMS won't say you can't, although it looks like the people against the GPL3 want to control what license you're allowed to write or use.

        hypocrites
      • Re:Strange.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@NoSpAm.dantian.org> on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:52AM (#19876267)
        When you have one of the most influential people in Open Source refuse to accept the license

        In case you mean this recent /. story [slashdot.org]: it was utterly wrong and a FUD attempt by InformationWeek [fsdaily.com]. They basically repeated a months-old quote by Linus about an earlier draft as if it was new and still relevant.

        Linus is in fact pretty ok [com.com] with how GPLv3 turned out [digg.com].
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PylonHead (61401)
          Linus's email was dated June 20th, 2007. That was less than a month ago. I suspect the text of the GPLv3 license he was commenting on didn't change between that date and the date it was released: June 29th, 2007.

          http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/6/20/223 [lkml.org]
          http://www.fsf.org/news/gplv3_launched [fsf.org]

          The "pretty ok" article you link, however, is dated several months ago: March 28, 2007.
        • I don't understand why this wasn't published as a new story! That other /. story lead me to believe one of the most important people in the Linux world hated GPL v3... why is this not corrected? That's a pretty major issue, IMHO.
      • Re:Strange.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LingNoi (1066278) on Monday July 16, 2007 @11:11AM (#19876511)
        I believe Linus just does not like the part about hardware in the license. He could always take the GPL 3 license and take that part out or whatever he wants to do, but the patent issue worries me for the Linux project. What if people start putting patented code into the kernel and launch a massive legal assault?

        My projects are web applications so I decided to switch them over to GPL3 because of better internationalization in the license. I did not want someone from another country nit-picking the GPL2 license for mis-understood translations of the document in a foreign courtroom so I switched the license.

        I understand both Linus's and the FSF point of view on controlling the hardware but since that part of the license doesn't effect my projects at all I do not see the point of letting a better worded license go to waste!

        I think a lot of projects don't need to care about this hardware issue and hardware companies could always ask the copyright holder for permission anyway. I see a few problems with Linus's thinking.

        1) Is it so hard for Motorola for example to just send an email off to the copyright holder.. "Hey mind if you put your stuff in our phone and not let anyone run the modifications? Could you send us that in writing? Thanks!"
        2) How do we know these companies (example Motorola) are contributing back what they are putting into their linux smart phone? What is to stop them from giving out the pretend source code before they made modifications and then keeping the real code in house?

        If it can happen it will happen and they can just claim thats stuff they wrote that runs on top no one will know any differently.

        I don't really agree with anyones point of view on the hardware issue but you have to admit that there are unanswered questions with regard to Linus's thoughts on the matter.
    • Several ways (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:34AM (#19876109)
      One is simply causing confusion. Previously, the GPL seemed to universally mean GPLv2. It was well understood what it meant for something to be GPL'd. People grasped the concept and what rights and restrictions were involved, and thus it was fairly easy to make a informed choice of if it was acceptable in a given situation or not. Now things are confusing. Is it old GPL or new GPL? How does this affect things? This confuses non tech savvy managers, make lawyers scared, and makes it harder for tech people to sell to their bosses.

      Another is that the GPLv3 IS more restrictive. I appreciate that the reason for it is to try and give the public more freedom, however for companies making use of it, its more restrictive. It is possible that those companies will find it unacceptable and thus dump Linux. Don't think they can't do it either, Linksys dumped Linux for vxWorks on its routers (allegedly for memory reasons). There are other options out there, and those options will get used if companies decide, rightly or wrongly, that the license on Linux makes it unusable for them.

      Yet another would be by creating a perceived problem with OSS. We've seen a real giant (Linus) come out and blast the GPLv3. While that doesn't mean anything ultimately, it can to companies. Now there's concern about a coming divide and what could happen. The "But you've got the code!" argument doesn't hold any water for places that don't have many/any programmers. They want a product that works and is supported. Now while this isn't actually likely to change that, it can create concern that it will.

      Mostly it is just a perception thing. Confusion and disagreements are never good, especially if you are the little guy. It makes PHB types nervous and they are the ones who ultimately make the decisions. You can scream till you are blue in the face that it shouldn't be like that, but that is how it is and we have to deal with that reality.
      • Re:Several ways (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Otto (17870) on Monday July 16, 2007 @12:01PM (#19877117) Homepage Journal

        Yet another would be by creating a perceived problem with OSS. We've seen a real giant (Linus) come out and blast the GPLv3. While that doesn't mean anything ultimately, it can to companies.
        I think you're missing a larger point on this one. For a lot of companies, code under the GPLv3 is simply not usable. Period. Cell phone companies, to use an earlier example, *cannot* comply with the restrictions of the GPLv3 and still use the necessary code they have to use to make the thing work on the network.

        I know many people at many tech shops, and a shocking lot of companies have come out and said to their programmers or other in-house IT staff, that GPLv3 code can not be used for any project of any kind. Why? Because the GPLv3 is restrictive enough that it conflicts with other agreements these companies already have and cannot or will not break. It's simpler for a company to simply ban the stuff outright than it is to analyse the license ramifications on every single little project.

        The end result is that GPLv3 code will, eventually, stagnate. Moving code to GPLv3 basically ensures that nobody will use it other than hobbyists. And while that's fine, it may not be what you want to happen. It's almost certainly not the intention of the GPLv3... or maybe it is. With the FSS being so f-ed up in the head lately, who can tell?

        Regardless, it's not FUD... It's actually the license. It's unusable as it stands by a great many people, and the end result is that they will find other, less-restrictive, code to use instead.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kripkenstein (913150)

          For a lot of companies, code under the GPLv3 is simply not usable. Period. Cell phone companies, to use an earlier example, *cannot* comply with the restrictions of the GPLv3 and still use the necessary code they have to use to make the thing work on the network.

          Let's assume that you're right about that (but I have no idea of the particulars of cellphone companies). If so, this would only refer, presumably, to the part of the cellphone software that accesses the network. So that particular part could not

  • by H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:42AM (#19875563) Homepage Journal

    InformationWeek published an old mail claiming that it was "latest" post-GPLv3 news [fsfe.org].

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:43AM (#19875571) Journal

    So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.
    If your brain is broken, it's probably because you tried to read this article!

    I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession
    If you are a journalist, I think that implies that you have a high standard in how you report news. I hate to say it but not only is your formatting terrible and your grammar lacking in places, your piece is possibly just as one-sided as the "FUD" spreaders you speak of. On top of that, you present very few facts or examples to back up your argument.

    Detractors - the fear squad - would, of course, say that he's on one side of the equation.

    True.

    That doesn't mean that his arguments don't have merit.
    It certainly doesn't, but just because these 'tech bloggers' are the other side of the equation and they have a pay check at stake doesn't mean that their argument isn't equally as valid--does it?

    I've never even heard the arguments and underpinnings against the GPLv3 concerning the adoption of Linux! Perhaps you should include both sides of the discussion in your article if you wish for me to consider you a journalist.

    If I ever saw FUD of FUD, this is it.
    • by samkass (174571)
      The idea that journalists would be "sullied" by being called a tech writer is pretty amusing. You need significantly more training to be a good tech writer, and you're significantly more likely to have a deep understanding of the issues involved in the tech world. The author of this article needs to step back and consider if the people he's slandering might just have a point.
    • If I every say FUD of FUD, this is it.
      I wrote a rant about the term FUD on slashdot once. I saved it in my journal. [slashdot.org]

      I was duly rewarded with not being able to post for a couple of months. Thankfully the term FUD is quickly falling out of vogue. It's so last century.
      • by Rycross (836649)

        Thankfully the term FUD is quickly falling out of vogue. It's so last century.

        Unfortunately, its mainly just being replaced by accusations of astroturfing. [wikipedia.org] I actually pointed this out to Perens at one point. [slashdot.org] Its really annoying when people assume that there's simply no possible way you can hold your opinion unless you're getting some payout. For example, because I don't think that Vista is completely terrible, I must be a Microsoft shill.

        So what I'm trying to say is, I sympathize.

        • I've been a little out of the loop lately, so I wasn't aware of the term "astroturfing."

          Even accepting that it exists on an organized basis, I agree with your assessment. Its use is both unnecessary (if your opinion is sound you should be able to effectively rebut your opponent) and lazy (it avoids the onerous task of having to - you know - think.)

          They both represent one of the oldest and worst strategies in "debating" - when in doubt, question your opponents motives. Of course, being a paid shill, I
    • by AndersOSU (873247)
      Amen.

      BTW, could someone explain to me what this means:

      You'll won't have much success in convincing them - play has to go in one direction for them to move forward.
      I recognize all the words, I'm just having trouble understanding what they mean in that order. Oh, thats a whole paragraph from the article, it's also where I stopped reading
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:44AM (#19875579)
    This is a rumor, not a story. Who are these journalists, and why is it FUD if they opine that GPLv3 is a bad idea?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Didn't you know? "Somebody said something I don't like" is the same as "FUD", or if you're on Slashdot "Troll". Talking about your own experiences, that's "Flamebait" these days.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Who are these journalists, and why is it FUD if they opine that GPLv3 is a bad idea?
      Who are the journalists who think the GPL3 won't slow Linux adoption?

      The one article he cites (by Brian Profitt, the managing editor of Linux Today) does nothing to support his premise. It's a short put-down of Microsoft and their not-so-open Open XML format.

      His other citation is a 1 hr 22 minute video that 99% of people aren't going to watch.

      TFA broke my brain.
      • His other citation is a 1 hr 22 minute video that 99% of people aren't going to watch.

        Reguardless of your opinion of the author of the article, you should take the time to watch Moglen's speech in Scotland (as linked to in the article). It's worth the time, just to understand why a Columbia University law professor like Moglen would dedicate a year of his life to the FSF.

  • So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.
    No, you're just following the GNU principle, recurse ...
  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:46AM (#19875599) Homepage
    I'd like to complain about the implied slur on our profession. Heck, I'd far prefer writing man pages for APIs to the sort of "this is the mouse/hello computer" writing that is usually associated with "tech writers." Bleh.

    Of course, with many of my fellow writers bearing a closer resemblance to "Tina" from Dilbert than technophiles, maybe I'm speaking for the small minority.
  • So by posting this, am I spreading fud about spreading fud? I think I broke my brain.

    Well, only if you're afraid that the news might slow down the take up of Tech Writers. But frankly, I think that by this time the brand is well enough established as to be pretty much bullet proof.

    Of course, that may not apply to the forthcoming release of Tech Writers 2.0, but as far as I remember, that's still in the discussion phase, so it's too early to say anything for definite.

  • Get off my lawn (Score:5, Informative)

    by hcdejong (561314) <hobbes@NOSPAM.xmsnet.nl> on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:48AM (#19875619)
    A large number of tech writers -- I wouldn't call them journalists and sully my own profession

    But sullying mine isn't a problem, huh? Technical writer == someone who writes technical documentation, e.g. product manuals. Technical writer != FUD-spreading blogger.

    --
    hcdejong
    (technical writer)
  • by Rmorph (692035) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:50AM (#19875631)
    http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/ 2007/07/open_source_is_1.html [informationweek.com]

    In support of TFA: the above Iweek story really takes the cake for "most clueless" author on the subject of the GPL. One can take it as evidence that the GPL3 has become such a buzzword in the community that tech writers feel forced to comment even before they have even the slightest clue what the fuss is all about.

    PJ over at groklaw politely stomped the author into the ground as one can see here:
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=200707131 92403106 [groklaw.net]
    Whle always a fan, I admire her tact here: she did it a lot less painfully than some in comments section of the original article ;-)
  • tech writers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:50AM (#19875639)
    You, sir, submitter of this "story" are an idiot.

    You should have said "tech pundits", not "tech writers". There is an entire profession known as "Technical Writing", sometimes referred to as "tech writing", which has NOTHING to do with self-proclaimed journalists who write about the technical industry.

    Get it straight, please. The title of your story shows that you are almost as ignorant as they are.

  • Personally... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CowboyBob500 (580695) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:52AM (#19875673) Homepage
    ...I don't agree with the new clauses in GPLv3 as opposed to GPLv2 and although my current licenses contain the "or higher" clause, I am going to be removing that in the coming weeks and leaving the code at GPLv2 only.

    I'm paricularly against the "Tivoization" clause and cannot for the life of me see what benefits it gives to the copyright holder or user of the code. All it seems to do as far as I can see is take away the freedom to use my code in the way I originally granted.

    Bob
    • by Em Ellel (523581)

      I'm paricularly against the "Tivoization" clause and cannot for the life of me see what benefits it gives to the copyright holder or user of the code. All it seems to do as far as I can see is take away the freedom to use my code in the way I originally granted.

      It is designed so that large companies like Microsoft can still earn a living. I heard of at least one embedded Linux platform that is feverishly planning to switch from Linux to Windows because of the Samba's decision to adopt v3.

      -Em

    • Re:Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by orzetto (545509) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:34AM (#19876103)

      I'm paricularly against the "Tivoization" clause and cannot for the life of me see what benefits it gives to the copyright holder or user of the code.

      In the case of your software (i.e. a Sudoku for mobile phones [sourceforge.net]), the GPLv3 guarantees the user the four freedoms [gnu.org] (use, modify, distribute, improve), making it impossible to circumvent the GPLv2 with hardware devices. What could happen in your specific case is that a telco takes your code and starts offering it as for-pay download to their user's mobile phones—only that users cannot share it because there is some sort of hardware lock in place.

      If you do not like the GPLv3, chances are you never liked the GPLv2 either. The GPLv3 is not a revolution of the GPL concept, it is just exactly the same ideas adapted to a world where it has become possible to circumvent version 2 by methods unforeseen when it was written. If you are alright with people taking your code and not contributing back, by all means use BSD instead.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, this is not entirely accurate. Under GPLv2, if a phone company modified the program and then distributed it, they are required to distribute the source as well. If they institute a lock in their phone (presumably in hardware), that will only allow versions of the program with a particular hash or MAC to run, they are under no obligation to provide details or source, nor should they be required to do so.

        You see, the problem with the GPL in general but more so with v3, is every time it gets modi
        • Re:Personally... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by The Cisco Kid (31490) * on Monday July 16, 2007 @11:10AM (#19876503)
          Interesting that you refer to a (cell)phone that a particular user paid for (either cash outright, or by agreeing to a long-term contract for service with a hefty termination fee) as 'their' (referring to the phone company) phone.

          That is the whole point of it, the phone, once paid for, belongs to the user, not the phone company. Why shouldnt the user of a phone, which has GPL3 software running on it, have a right to modify that software, and use the modified copy on the same device?

          In any case, regardless of your answer to that question, thats the main thing GPL3 does in that respect - it says that the right to modify software includes the right to run the modified software on any device that it was originally distributed on. And that is (one of) the rights that an author choosing to distribute their work under GPL3 wants their users to have. If you, as a software author, dont want to guarantee your users that right, then so be it.
      • What could happen in your specific case is that a telco takes your code and starts offering it as for-pay download to their user's mobile phones--only that users cannot share it because there is some sort of hardware lock in place.

        That's exactly my point. Why shouldn't they be able to do that? As long as the source is available (which they would still be required to provide - as TiVo are as well) then that seems to me to be the license that I originally gave it.

        BTW, I would have been happy with the BS

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Znork (31774)
          "Why shouldn't they be able to do that?"

          Because the user owns the phone and should have the right to run any software he wants to on his property? Because GPL software authors may not want to cooperate with vendors trying to take away that freedom from the user?

          "I took from another GPLv2 project and I cannot change the license on those."

          In your previous comment you said you were going to remove the 'or-later' clause on your software. You do realize that you cannot actually remove that clause if you took the
          • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
            You can because the 'or later' comes from the preamble not the license itself, so removing that isn't a license change.

            You don't actually have to remove it. Just write a significant change to the code and license that without the 'or later' thus nullifying the clause on the other code (since it's impossible to distribute the whole things as gplv3 it becomes impossible to distribute it at all as gplv3, as the gpl itself demands).

            It's a very good idea to do this so you retain control over your code - I perso
          • In your previous comment you said you were going to remove the 'or-later' clause on your software. You do realize that you cannot actually remove that clause if you took the code in question from a v2-or-later licensed project?

            How so? "Version X or later" is a *choice*, to be made by whoever does the distributing.

      • If you do not like the GPLv3, chances are you never liked the GPLv2 either. The GPLv3 is not a revolution of the GPL concept, it is just exactly the same ideas adapted to a world where it has become possible to circumvent version 2 by methods unforeseen when it was written. If you are alright with people taking your code and not contributing back, by all means use BSD instead.

        The GPLv3 is at least as different from GPLv2 as GPLv2 is from BSD.

        GPLv2 says that the software can't be made non-free. GPLv3 says

        • by jrumney (197329)

          (The "not truly Free" is because there are now restrictions on what you can do with the software, not just how you distribute it.)

          Only distributors can trigger those clauses, since whole point is that the DRM prevents the end user from installing software of their own choice.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Em Ellel (523581)

        If you do not like the GPLv3, chances are you never liked the GPLv2 either. The GPLv3 is not a revolution of the GPL concept, it is just exactly the same ideas adapted to a world where it has become possible to circumvent version 2 by methods unforeseen when it was written. If you are alright with people taking your code and not contributing back, by all means use BSD instead.

        I propose that it is NOT exactly the same ideas as v2 - the key point of v2 is granting the freedom to use the software and modify it as you see fit as long as any changes to software are distributed. This freedom is now abridged in v3 because you no longer can use the code in any place you want, modified or otherwise, with changes distributed or not. It is no longer about taking code and not contributing, it is about who can and cannot use the code at all. The license now dictates how the hardware and sof

    • Personally, I don't see why anyone should ever run into the tivoization clause unless they're trying to implement some ridiculous malicious feature like hardware-enforced DRM. Seriously... why put in *extra hardware* to prevent users from voiding the warranty on their appliance?

      • Seriously... why put in *extra hardware* to prevent users from voiding the warranty on their appliance?

        Because you have to, in order for the appliance to actually work (like, perhaps, anything that needs an AACS license)?

  • Ludicrous. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:53AM (#19875679) Homepage Journal
    Anyone who's installed Feisty Fawn side by side with Vista will tell you quickly, that if FOSS is going anywhere, and Ubuntu and Linux in particular, it's on MORE hard drives than less. I've had less problems finding drivers and getting things up and running in Ubuntu on several machines now, and I've been a die hard Windows user for the last decade.

    FUD isn't going to do anything when FOSS is rapidly becoming the easier, cheaper, faster, and better choice for John Q. Public.
  • What is this crap? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <(michaelmtripp) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:53AM (#19875681) Homepage
    What a useless article, he dismisses people who criticize GPLv3 as people spreading FUD, but offers no rebuttal to their claims. I really have no strong feelings one way or the other about GPLv3, but if you want to convince your readers that the anti-GPLv3 people are wrong, you have to explain why you think that.
  • How does the reasoning work? GPL3 may be adopted by Linux. This may slow adoption of Linux in the workplace (although I have no idea why - very few people will be affected by the licence, except perhaps a few hardware developers). Somehow this lessens their importance.

    These people are tech writers. They write about all sorts of technology. The GPL is just one of many subjects of interest.
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      If gpl3 was adopted by linux it'd kill it in the embedded space - which is one of its major markets.
  • by sammy baby (14909) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:57AM (#19875727) Journal
    Mr. Varghese,

    You spend some time in your article attacking various unnamed tech writers for their work on GPLv3, and hold up Brian Profitt of Linux Magazine, and Eben Moglen, as examples of good writing on the topic.

    Can you identify a specific column that you disagree with? Or a specific author? Or at least something more specific than the general doom-and-gloom nonspecific "end of FOSS" warning that you quote?

    I am far from expert on GPLv3 (haven't even read it), but it strikes me that a large number of the people concerned about version 3 aren't exactly slouches, unless you're prepared to call Torvalds a hack. I'd like a concrete example of a claim you're trying to debunk.

    Oh, and while we're at it: when you're looking down your nose at other tech writers that you deem unworthy of the title "journalist," you should probably start trying to observe some fairly basic journalistic principles yourself. For example: Eben Moglen, whom you correctly identify as having worked for the Free Software Foundation, is a co-author of the GPLv3 draft [internetnews.com] , which doesn't exactly position him as an unbiased observer.
    • by jrumney (197329)

      unless you're prepared to call Torvalds a hack.

      I wouldn't call Linus a hack, but I would call him a hacker.

  • by Animaether (411575) on Monday July 16, 2007 @09:58AM (#19875735) Journal
    Another '2-page' article (you're welcome for the ad revenue, mate)

    So here's the print version
    http://www.itwire.com.au/index2.php?option=com_con tent&task=view&id=13525&pop=1&page=0&Itemid=1090 [itwire.com.au]

    I'm not sure what "you'll won't" is supposed to mean.. in "You'll won't have much success in convincing them - play has to go in one direction for them to move forward". Must be Aussie. Then again, the article is incoherent overall.
    I'm not entirely sure what the article is about;

    is it about the misunderstandings of the GPLv3?
    If so - then why doesn't it list and address these misunderstandings? He links to a talk by Moglen in the end and recommends listening to it - but doesn't say why beyond saying that Moglen is a demi-god and by jove you should listen to him.

    is it about the purported FUD being spread by other 'tech authors'?
    If so - then why doesn't it give examples of this FUD?

    is it about the reasonings behind this purported FUD-spreading - namely that the tech authors feel that they would become less relevant if GPLv3 were to become a 'success' in that it would slow adoption of the GPLv3 (huh?) ?
    if so - then maybe he could explain -why- he thinks those 'tech authors' are using these reasonings, and how they are flawed in them?

    The whole article reads like a bad blog posting.

    But goob job on Slashdot for making it front-page material.. must be that 'GPLv3' keyword.
  • Could someone explain the key differences between GPLv2 and GLPv3? I'd appreciate it and I'm sure many other non-lawyer types would as well. Thanks in advance scholarly slashdotter...
    • GPLv3 looks like it was written by lawyers. GPLv2 doesn't.

      GPLv3 cares about *why* you're distributing the program. GPLv2 doesn't.

      GPLv3 tries to make things like the MS/Novell deal not work.

      GPLv3 is more explicit about patents.

      And probably more...

  • What a load of bullshit. It smells exactly the same as the bullshit about BSD.

    It's a license. There are a lot of them. Now you have the choice if you want it that allows you to prevent people from locking your code into proprietary hardware, or prevent people from taking over your project with patents. What's the big fucking deal? Is a legal license written in plain English rather than lawyerese really that difficult to understand? Are people really that pissed off that some aging hippie's flowery software
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)
      The big deal is that if you take a project and use gplv3 code with it the whole thing becomes gplv3, but it doesn't work the other way around because the licenses are incompatible.

      This creates a split - gplv2 projects and gplv3 projects, whereas previously there were only gpl projects.

      gpl has always been a bitch to work with but now it's doubly so because you have to check which *version* of the gpl is in use, and you could be left high and dry if a project you're linking to goes gplv3 on you (a lot of samb
  • Too complicated (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hey (83763) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:05AM (#19875787) Journal
    I listened to a talk [fsf.org] RMS gave about the GPLv3. It was long and painful. Basically he added clause after clause to take care of cases that he had not thought of before (eg Tivo). But to me it makes it far less elegant and basically impossible to understand by the masses. I think it would be better to keep GPLv2 which can be understood. Sure some Tivo-ish companies may abuse the spirit of it be its better to keep it simple. In RMS's talk he said they changed some wording to make it more international and defined all the terms better. I am OK with that. So lets move to a GPLv2.1 instead of 3.
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:07AM (#19875807)
    Let's take Linus Torvald's opinions for one. He, with Stallman, are the two principal (and principle) authors of software covered by the GPL. They could have chosen BSD licensing, and so on if they'd wanted to. The GPL made sense for both. Stallman's leadership and a sense of danger on his part helped evolve the very strict (yet very free) GPLv3 to where it is today. Linus doesn't believe it's necessary at all, and is more purist hubris than actual protection.

    I can see both views, and both views make sense given the freedom of the author's to do whatever they please with their code. The GPLv3 makes more sense for me personally, yet others I know think it's potentially highly confining, if 'purist'.

    That tech writers think it'll slow down adoption is more of a Microsoft fantasy than reality. That the GPLv3 closes odd loopholes is all the better. I hope that Linus figures out that he actually needs to consider that a GPLv4 needs his input might get him the goals he's seeking. He's going to have to lift his head out of the sand one of these days and help form what he's inadvertenly made (along with Stallman and thousands of others), the most highly viable OS. What was once a ego fantasy is now a reality far beyond anyone's wildest imaginations. There's a maturation point where you're a leader, or a follower of what you've inspired. I hope he picks "leader" and gets off the kernel kick long enough to make corrections suggestions that he can 'lead' with. Simply bashing something (pardon the pun) isn't constructive. It might work in coding, but not when you have to gain consensus.
  • Grow up! (Score:5, Informative)

    by syousef (465911) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:12AM (#19875847) Journal
    FUD isn't slang for something you don't agree with. The article in question might be awful but the story on /. is even worse. It sounds like it was written by a 12 year old involved in a schoolyard scuffle. Any coherent counter argument would have been better than sounding like a goddamned whiny child. If you fight legitimately bad arguments so stupidly it makes your point of view, no matter how valid, sound childish. The person who submitted this story has done GPLv3 no favours.

    For goodness sake people. Troll does not mean "I don't agree with him". "Flamebait" is only flamebait if it's written for no other reason than to upset people. FUD is only FUD if it was intended to spread unfounded Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.
  • Are the journalists creating fear, uncertainty and doubt out of whole cloth? Or are they merely describing the fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding a new, untried license which hopes to replace an older version of itself. The GPLv3 is the modern Oedipus.
  • by SABME (524360) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:13AM (#19875863)
    Tech writers too? Does this mean that, the next time I read a software manual, I'll have to endure an anti-GPLv3 diatribe in between descriptions of items in the Edit>Preferences menu?
  • Geez. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iamdrscience (541136) <(michaelmtripp) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:16AM (#19875913) Homepage
    This article comes from a site called iTWire which I had never heard of before yesterday when the article about Firefox's popularity in Europe [slashdot.org] was posted. Judging from these two articles, I think I would be plenty happy if articles from iTWire never made it to the front page of Slashdot again.


    This article decries critics of GPLv3, dismissing their rants as FUD. The author, however, gives no examples of these critics and offers no evidence for why he considers them to be wrong, nor any ideas of why they would choose to spread their FUD. Besides the terrible writing, formatting and grammar of this article it is needlessly split into two pages, annoyingly prompting you to log in if you want to read the second page. Oddly enough though they will provide you with the full text of the article if you click on the links to print it or view it as a PDF (which, by the way, has even worse formatting than the web formatting).


    The Firefox article, while an interesting topic, was really just a regurgitation of a study done by another site rewritten so that it was less informative and more difficult to read. Besides that, it included several obvious typos such as the following:

    "Although clear market share gains for FF were reported in every single European territory, countries where IE still has not reached 20% market share include Britain, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Norway and Denmark."
    Really, there are countries where IE has not yet reached 20% market share? Are you sure you don't mean Firefox?

    "Australasia, already a strong FF market..."
    Ah yes, the beautiful country of Australasia, I hope I can visit it someday!
  • Technical Writing (Score:4, Informative)

    by athloi (1075845) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:23AM (#19875993) Homepage Journal
    Technical writers, sometimes called "tech writers," write manuals and help systems and procedures to help make sense of technology. We are unrelated to "technology writers," who depending on which one you encounter, may be people who failed to fill out admission papers correctly at the asylum or intelligent commentators.
  • GPLv3 has a significantly more nasty viral nature than GPLv2, as the Anti-TiVo clause and the Anti-Patent clause, as well as the significant expansion of the term "conveying", makes the GPLv3 much more dangerous for a business to deal with/use.

    Thus I would be concerned myself that GPLv3 will reduce the adoption of the open-source code, as it get farther and farther away from the BSD model of "do whatever you want".
    • by Kjella (173770)
      Well, let's take those three points in order.

      1) The anti-DRM clause is obviously designed to stop some business adoption - it's a design goal. Basicly, are you shipping a consumer device only running signed software? Y/N. I think it's good because to me, it's no longer free software that you can modify it was just some free code that the developers got to use. That you can run the code on some completely different hardware is at best a curiosity, normally the reason that you buy an appliance is that it's mu
    • GPLv3 has a significantly more nasty viral nature than GPLv2, as the Anti-TiVo clause and the Anti-Patent clause, as well as the significant expansion of the term "conveying", makes the GPLv3 much more dangerous for a business to deal with/use.

      How is it "more viral"? How are any of the other things relevant to most businesses?

      Sure, a couple companies like Tivo are going to have to find ways to implement their malicious features without denying users the ability to modify the GPLed software they're using i

  • Um... (Score:5, Funny)

    by sootman (158191) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:28AM (#19876043) Homepage Journal
    Not trolling here, just being half serious/half funny--

    "...they fear its take up will slow the adoption of Linux..."

    I started going to LUG meetings over nine years ago. As much I love Linux, I don't think its rate of adoption could go much slower than it already is.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by nomadic (141991)
      I started going to LUG meetings over nine years ago. As much I love Linux, I don't think its rate of adoption could go much slower than it already is.

      That will change very soon--I heard it's almost ready for the desktop!
  • by pem (1013437) on Monday July 16, 2007 @10:48AM (#19876229)
    Now, IANAL, and there's probably something really basic I'm missing that would prevent this hack from working, but I'll throw it out there as food for thought:

    Some universities have a lot of patents and some of them offer free mirrors for things like kernel.org and sourceforge.net projects. It may be that the act of offering a mirror is protected under the DMCA safe harbor, but if copyright license law is as powerful as some GPLv3 proponents claim, it's not even clear that the DMCA safe harbor would override section 10 of the GPL. In any case, some mirrors work by pulling code rather than letting code be pushed, so that seems like an affirmative act of copying the software and then creating and giving copies to the general public, so an entity operating a mirror might be "conveying" under the GPL.

    So, for example, if MIT has a patent I want to use, maybe all I have to do is get committer rights to some relevant project, code up something which infringes the patent, get the patch accepted (never mentioning the patent, of course), and it gets distributed to all the mirrors, including MIT's.

    I download it from MIT, and voila! I have a license to use that patent inside that program (and apparently inside any GPLed derivatives I make of that program. Being the proprietary sort of guy I am, I wrap the GPL project's code with another completely proprietary program which controls it and lets the GPLed code do the patented dirty work.

    I don't know whether this would work or not, but I'm starting to understand why companies are now marketing "open source" license scrubbers.

    The FSF is certainly free to do this with the GPL. But while the consequences of just distributing source under v2 might have been intended to convey patents in this same way, a lot of people didn't realize that because the wording there is not as clear, and the remedies don't appear to be as onerous. V3 section 10 seems to make it very clear that if you convey code which implements a patented invention, you cannot sue anybody over using that invention in that code, and that "convey" would cover the act of proactively operating a mirror site.

    This should give pause to a lot of people, not just Microsoft. Right now, "everybody knows" that GPL2 is a safe license, in the same category as BSD, well away from the category of any proprietary license, for being able to freely redistribute source code.

    Those who assume the same about GPLv3 do so at their own peril, perhaps to their own detriment. It appears that, for an entity with a valuable patent, inadvertently distributing one copy of GPLv3 software could easily be much more costly than inadvertently distributing a few hundred copies of a Microsoft product.

    The way universities work, it is unlikely that the legal counsel stays on top of things like kernel.org mirrors, but it seems that anybody with a patent portfolio who is running a free software mirror of any type ought to take a serious look at their policies and at the terms of GPLv3.

    Perhaps one valid component of licensing strategy would be to repudiate GPL v3 (and any similar licenses which purport to appropriate your own patents), just like Microsoft has done. That would basically be a public announcement that, if anybody catches you distributing GPL v3 code, please let you know right away because it is not your intention to ever do so and you will stop distributing immediately, and if anybody thinks they're getting one of your patents out of the deal, you plan on fighting it every inch of the way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      So, for example, if MIT has a patent I want to use, maybe all I have to do is get committer rights to some relevant project, code up something which infringes the patent, get the patch accepted (never mentioning the patent, of course), and it gets distributed to all the mirrors, including MIT's.

      IIRC, that only works if the patented part is added by the patent holder.

  • Too Late (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Monday July 16, 2007 @11:26AM (#19876677)
    Stallman's ranting and MS's FUD have already made Open Source persona non grata in a big part of the business community.
  • Well, of course it will. Duh. Proof? Will entity X be *more* likely do adopt Linux because of GPL v3? I think the answer to that it clearly 'no'. Are there entities that will shy away from Linux if GPL v3 gains a foothold? I think the answer is clearly 'yes'. Therefore, GPL v3 will slow Linux adoption. QED.

    The question is whether the *rate* of slowing really matters that much.

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