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Re: GPL v3 Draft 3- text and comments

On Wed, 04 Apr 2007 18:40:12 +0100 Gervase Markham wrote:

> Francesco Poli wrote:
> > Not-quite-DFSG-free == non-free, even though close to the freeness
> > boundary == proprietary, even though close to the freeness boundary
> > 
> > By definition, whatever is not free, is proprietary.
> I was using proprietary in what I thought was its fairly common
> meaning,  i.e. closed source, controlled by only one company.

I instead used the above-stated definition: now I think we clarified our

> I have no intention of getting into a fight about whether the Affero 
> additional restriction is acceptable or free or whatever. The FSF
> thinks  it's free; other people disagree. Their reasons are credible.
> I don't  like it.
> But my point is that you are acting as if this exception turns all
> GPLed  code into LGPLed code - i.e. Microsoft can come along and link
> it into  Windows, or whatever. But that's obviously not true.

I'm not acting like that.

I'm saying that the clause under consideration permits linking with code
encumbered by more restrictive terms than the ones of the GNU GPL v3
(this is true for sure, otherwise there would be no reason for
special-casing the AfferoGPL v2...).
This is a flaw for a license that claims to be a copyleft "in the spirit
of the GNU GPL v2".  I'm simply pointing out this flaw.

> The only non-GPLed code your GPLed code can be linked with is code
> that  also follows the GPL exactly _except_ that it has a single
> additional  restriction on modification to a small part of it.

Wait, AFAIK, there are no publicly disclosed drafts of the AfferoGPL v2
yet: hence we cannot know what it will look like.
It could be better than how you depict it, but it could even be worse.
We simply do not know.

The only thing we know for sure is that it will be more restrictive than
the GNU GPL v3, as explained above.

> This
> may not be a  good thing, but it's not even on the same planet as some
> of the  scenarios the phrase "being able to link with proprietary
> code" could cover.

It's on the same planet (Propworld), just closer to the spaceport where
ships that go to the other planet (DFSGworld) take off!  ;-)

> And considering the small amount of code actually covered by the
> Affero  GPL (and that there's very little evidence that version 2 of
> the Affero  GPL will cause it to suddenly surge in popularity) then
> it's also very  unlikely that code you write will end up in this
> situation.

Do not underestimate the power of FSF endorsement: see how popular and
widespread the GFDL is, despite its relatively young age and
debian-legal's efforts to explain its freeness issues...  :-(

> Lastly, the FSF is keeping their promises.

They are keeping recent promises, by forgetting less recent ones.
Back in 1991 the FSF wrote GNU GPL v2 which, in section 9, stated:

| The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions
| of the General Public License from time to time.  Such new versions
| will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in
| detail to address new problems or concerns.

One of the key principles of the GNU GPL v2 copyleft mechanism is the
prohibition to impose further restrictions.
A license that allows adding further restrictions is *not* similar in
spirit to the GNU GPL v2, IMO.

> If you can think of a
> better  way for them to do so (and this way is already a whole load
> better than  their last attempt), then suggest it.

My suggestion for the FSF is: first, keep promises made to the *whole*
free software community inside one of the most important documents ever
published by the FSF (namely the GNU GPL v2), *then*, if at all
possible, keep promises made to the *few* AfferoGPL enthusiasts.

Please note that I don't actually know how many people love the
AfferoGPL, I just assumed you're right in saying that there are not many
of them...

> So I'd suggest you concentrate your efforts on the other points you
> made  in your analysis, which were good and reasonable. In order to
> facilitate  this, I'm not going to contribute further to this
> discussion, because  its very continuance is counter-productive to its
> point.

OK, let's stop here, then.

 Need to read a Debian etch installation walk-through?
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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