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Re: GPL v3 Draft

On Tue, Jan 17, 2006 at 02:49:24AM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 17, 2006 at 05:05:26PM +1000, Anthony Towns wrote:
> > HTTP and FTP sound pretty equivalent to me. I don't think you'd have any
> > problems finding an expert witness to testify to that. HTTP and rsync
> > might not be, though. I'm not sure a court would have much difficulty in
> > allowing "equivalent" to allow for "well, the source archive is /more/
> > capable, we figured that woudl be fine", though.

> What about binaries via BitTorrent, source via HTTP?  BT would be more
> capable than HTTP for many projects' binaries, and HTTP more capable for
> source, where a lot of people download binaries and few download source.
> They're clearly not equivalent, but it seems like a perfectly reasonable
> distribution scheme.

The interpretation of "equivalent" here is up to the courts to settle; which
I think is how it should be.  While "equivalent" doesn't mean "identical",
you can always resort to *using* identical methods if in doubt.

Just to be clear, do you believe there's a freeness issue here, or are you
merely suggesting ways the license could be improved?

> > > > allow users to immediately obtain copies of its Complete Corresponding
> > > > Source Code.
> > > Such terms make code reuse with non-networked applications extremely
> > > inconvenient, and prohibit reuse in embedded environments (eg. a device
> > > with 32k of memory, no network facilities, and limited or no visual output).
> > > I'd find it disturbing for the FSF to even call such terms free; they're
> > > going much further, and condoning it by making it GPL-compatible.
> > > (This is, by a wide margin, my biggest objection.)

> > OTOH, at its absolute worst, it doesn't make GPLv3 stuff that doesn't make
> > use of that option non-free.

> I think you're the third person to say something along those lines: "be
> thankful, it could be a lot worse".  It's still endorsing an extremely
> onerous class of restriction, implying that it's acceptable, helpful,
> and that the classes of application screwed over by it is unimportant.
> It's discouraging that people are thankful that's "all it is" ...

I'm thankful that it's not *built into* the license in such a way that
everything released under GPLv3 will have this issue.  The FSF had a hard
job of balancing quite a few disparate interests; it's to be expected that
the resulting license would allow people to use it in some ways that Debian
considers non-free, the good news is if it can also still be applied in ways
that *are* free.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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