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Eben Moglen — GPLv3 Not About MS and Novell 163

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the having-to-restate-the-obvious dept.
Linux.com's Joe Barr was recently able to sit down with Professor Eben Moglen at the San Diego Red Hat Summit and discuss the GPLv3 and what it means beyond the Microsoft/Novell deal on video. "Professor Moglen explains briefly about GPLv3's work on globalization of the software license, preventing harm to others by members of the community, and the most contentious in earlier drafts, DRM."
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Eben Moglen — GPLv3 Not About MS and Novell

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  • by HappySmileMan (1088123) on Monday May 28, 2007 @01:25PM (#19300977)
    I should hope not... I expected it to be about open-source software and Linux...

    It was also being drafted long before the MS/Novell agreement IIRC
    • by Tovok7 (948510) on Monday May 28, 2007 @02:01PM (#19301205) Homepage

      I should hope not... I expected it to be about open-source software and Linux...
      The GPL isn't about "Open Source" and Linux either. It is about securing people's freedom. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of this important issue.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        "Open Source" is about securing people's freedom...

        And pretty much the only difference between GPL and proprietary licenses is that it's open source...

        You can still charge for the use or purchase of a program made with it, however the source must be available at the same price as the binary.
        • Ok by "pretty much the only difference" I meant "the most relevant difference to this topic", Slashdot needs and "Edit" button
        • by Tovok7 (948510) on Monday May 28, 2007 @02:26PM (#19301393) Homepage
          I said that the GPL is not about Open Source, because most people I know (also many non-computer guys) think of Open Source as having the source code available somewhere. They mostly don't care whether that's the case or not. They do not know that the trademark "Open Source" meant originally Free/Libre Software. They do not know that it is their freedom which is at stake here. Even Bruce Perens one of the founders of the Open Source movement said that It's Time to Talk About Free Software Again [debian.org]. We should listen to him!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by edwdig (47888)
            They do not know that the trademark "Open Source" meant originally Free/Libre Software. They do not know that it is their freedom which is at stake here.

            Or, just maybe, most people don't see it that way.

            People generally don't consider it a blow against their freedom that their car doesn't come with the required information to make an exact replica of the engine, or when their microwave doesn't come with a circuit diagram, or their music CDs don't come with sheet music.

            Why would they see it any differently w
            • by init100 (915886)

              People generally don't consider it a blow against their freedom that their car doesn't come with the required information to make an exact replica of the engine, or when their microwave doesn't come with a circuit diagram, or their music CDs don't come with sheet music.

              Why would they see it any differently with software?

              But then, the microwave doesn't make the food recipe secret just but heating your food in it. Those items that you mention cannot be compared with software. What analogies would you use for your work products stored in secret-format files that you cannot use with competitors' products without them doing a lot of reverse engineering?

              • by edwdig (47888)
                But then, the microwave doesn't make the food recipe secret just but heating your food in it. Those items that you mention cannot be compared with software. What analogies would you use for your work products stored in secret-format files that you cannot use with competitors' products without them doing a lot of reverse engineering?

                Your argument is about data formats, not software. Very, very, different things.
                • by init100 (915886)

                  Yes, but software uses these formats to store and communicate information, making it relevant.

                  • by edwdig (47888)
                    Information is also stored and communicated using hard disks. Do you expect the manufacturer to therefore give you the information necessary to build your own replica of their hard disks?
        • by jbn-o (555068) <mail@digitalcitizen.info> on Monday May 28, 2007 @03:39PM (#19301835) Homepage

          "Open Source" is about securing people's freedom...

          No, "open source" is not about software freedom and it never was [gnu.org]. The open source development methodology has to do with writing more reliable software, more quickly, and at lower cost. To understand why this misses the point the free software movement raises, consider this excerpt from "Why "Open Source" misses the point of Free Software":

          "The idea of open source is that allowing users to change and redistribute the software will make it more powerful and reliable. But this is not guaranteed. Developers of proprietary software are not necessarily incompetent. Sometimes they produce a program which is powerful and reliable, even though it does not respect the users' freedom. How will free software activists and open source enthusiasts react to that?

          A pure open source enthusiast, one that is not at all influenced by the ideals of free software, will say, "I am surprised you were able to make the program work so well without using our development model, but you did. How can I get a copy?" This attitude will reward schemes that take away our freedom, leading to its loss.

          The free software activist will say, "Your program is very attractive, but not at the price of my freedom. So I have to do without it. Instead I will support a project to develop a free replacement." If we value our freedom, we can act to maintain and defend it."

          I'm glad open source proponents use the GNU GPL and help secure software freedom for the users of those programs, I'm also glad open source proponents work together with free software activists on a variety of issues. I'm even glad that people go into depth on how to make money and license software under free software licenses (most notably: the GPL and LGPL). But these business-oriented discussions are not the most critical issues—human rights for software users and building community are more substantial issues. The open source movement was defined in part to get away from the "freedom talk" free software activists engage in, thus it's no surprise that when some people talk about "open source" they're not calling attention to freedom very much. Some open source proponents, such as Eric Raymond, want to talk about what the two groups have in common which means often talking about only the open source movement's values. The organization founded to champion open source's values, the Open Source Initiative, has considerable work to do to reframe the debate such that software freedom is an important part of that movement, assuming they want to make that a goal in the first place [digitalcitizen.info].

          • by Kjella (173770)
            You know, that really never quite came together for me. As a proponent of open source code, you must think that having open source code is important. However, open source code doesn't promote open source software which would lead to more open source code. Except for what companies decide to give out of charity, every closed source branch is a dead end. Not only that, but every user those closed derivates take means less people have the ability to modify the code and less people to improve on it. Even if I k
            • Just don't complain about not getting anything in return.

              They don't. They don't think they should. That's their whole point.

              disclaimer: I'm a proponent of GPL and BSD licenses.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Kjella (173770)
                They don't. They don't think they should. That's their whole point.

                Except they do, at least some of them some of the time. Here's for example a blurb from an interview with Theo [newsforge.com]:
                "NF: Lots of hardware vendors use OpenSSH. Have you got anything back from them?
                TdR: If I add up everything we have ever gotten in exchange for our efforts with OpenSSH, it might amount to $1,000. This all came from individuals. For our work on OpenSSH, companies using OpenSSH have never given us a cent. What about companies that in
        • by JimDaGeek (983925) on Monday May 28, 2007 @06:08PM (#19302859)
          Huh? Even if MS gave away their code with a purchase of MS Windows, you couldn't change the code and distribute it. With GPL, I could download your code that you charge for, and then give it to everyone I want without fee. You cannot do that with proprietary code. Heck, end-users are not even allowed to OWN the code/software they buy from a proprietary vendor. They just get to use/license it.

          Everyone keeps thinking the GPL is about developers. However it is not. The GPL is about users and their freedom with the software. Say it over and over in your heads people... The GPL is about users.

          BSD-style licenses basically say I don't care about what you do and I don't care if you restrict users of derivatives works of this code.
          GPL-style licenses basically say you can create derivative works, you can distribute those works. However, you cannot restrict the rights of the users of this work from doing the same. BSD does NOT provide for that when it comes to derivative works.

          So, in a nut shell, if you don't care who does what with the code, BSD or (even better IMO) LGPL can help you there. However, if you care about the users of your work the GPL is a good bet.

          Me personally, I write code for users not developers. I enjoy writing code and having someone say that it came in handy and helped them. Those are the people I want to see have rights that copyright just doesn't provide.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by djmurdoch (306849)
            Heck, end-users are not even allowed to OWN the code/software they buy from a proprietary vendor.

            End-users don't own my GPL'd code. I do.

            If the end-user owned it, they wouldn't be required to distribute their source with their modifications. They could do whatever they liked with it.
          • by kestasjk (933987)
            I would consider BSD to be more open and better for encouraging competition. With BSD code you're saying "If anyone can take this code and make it so much better that people will pay for it, good for you!"

            Mac OS X, for all I hate it, is a good demonstration of this. Instead of having to write a piece of crap from scratch Apple can take a solid base and develop on it. If they can develop enough that people pay for it good for them.
            Windows should use BSD code too; stop worrying about the base and spend al
          • by Azul (12241)
            That's a very interesting perspective. Thanks for posting it. :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2007 @01:32PM (#19301029)
    Go to hell, communists. You democrats are trying to destroy the United States' only hold over China: They need Microsoft software. When they can get crappy free solutions to do the same, the United States will just continue to become indebted to China and other countries. And it will be all your fault, you Hillary fanboys. For the sake of national security, free software efforts must become against the law. Besides, free software destroys our free market, creating monopolies, by selling at excessively low prices. Would Microsoft get away with giving away free products to take competitors' market share away? No. Neither should these ****ing tree-hugging, Prius-driving free software zealots. The captcha is appropriately "planking."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Is it just me or is "Anonymous Coward" a very hateful person?

      He/she seems to be the only user here to ever go on a freedom-bashing/flaming/hate-filled rant.
      • by iminplaya (723125)
        I see it as sarcasm, and that's the way I'm going to take it. I certainly cannot take it seriously. That's for sure.
      • I suppose that's why it's rated as flamebait. He's more than likely just trying to get a reaction (no matter what his/her actual beliefs are). It's a lame form of sarcasm if that's what it was intended to be. BTW I HAVE read about US politicians saying they wanted laws against FOSS because it supposedly hearts the US capitalist economy.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Valtor (34080)

      ...Neither should these ****ing tree-hugging, Prius-driving free software zealots...
      Wow. I wonder what OSS has done to you, for you to hate it so much? I hope you are not loosing sleep over this...
    • by jeevesbond (1066726) on Monday May 28, 2007 @02:24PM (#19301377) Homepage

      This is such a hilarious troll, normally I wouldn't feed but the parent post is so ridiculous that it's gone beyond trolling into some random fantasy land.

      Go to hell, communists.

      The GPL is not Communist in nature, in fact when I distribute software under the GPL it's all about me and my choice to share work with others. In a Communist scenario all the sofware would belong to the state, the choice of sharing would not be mine. Secondly, nowhere in the GPL does it say you cannot charge for your work, Studio to Go [ferventsoftware.com] is a good example of this.

      You democrats are trying to destroy the United States' only hold over China: They need Microsoft software. When they can get crappy free solutions to do the same, the United States will just continue to become indebted to China and other countries. And it will be all your fault, you Hillary fanboys.

      Right, because Free software is all a conspiracy to ruin the US. Of course most of the people who answered the survey in this MIT study [mit.edu], when asked what their motivation is, said: 'I'm a Hillary fanboy and want to ruin the US!' Or could it be that FLOSS developers enjoy coding and want to share stuff they like? Which do you think is more likely?

      I like FLOSS but am not a Hillary fanboy. In fact am not really interested in your elections, suprise: there are people who live outside the US!

      For the sake of national security, free software efforts must become against the law.

      This is the funniest thing I've read for a long time. It would be interesting to see this happen, my hypothesis is that this would ruin software development in the US. Am pretty certain your country would suffer rather badly if it outlawed FLOSS but the rest of the world continued developing it. Think of all those savings your corporations would be missing out on! What about the US corporations who're distributing FLOSS, e.g. IBM, Sun, HP, Dell, RedHat et al?

      Besides, free software destroys our free market, creating monopolies, by selling at excessively low prices. Would Microsoft get away with giving away free products to take competitors' market share away? No. Neither should these ****ing tree-hugging, Prius-driving free software zealots. The captcha is appropriately "planking."

      Oh dear, that's funny. Free software does not destroy the free market, but encourages it. With FLOSS there's much less possibility for vendor lock-in (since everything is out in the open and I can't imagine the many volunteers working on FLOSS projects being happy with creating proprietary file formats etc.). Theoretically Microsoft would not get away with giving away software for free, yet that's exactly how they gained their monopoly: by turning a blind eye [arstechnica.com] to piracy. Your point is invalid in another respect: Microsoft is a company whereas Free software is an ecosystem/licensing model. If all proprietary software disappeared tomorrow there would still be plenty of competition, this is one of the things people complain about with GNU/Linux: there's too much choice!

      I'd almost like to see your post modded up as 'Funny', just because it's so stupid and full of hilarious vitriol. Also I feel it's important to debunk rubbish like this sometimes, just in case someone else read your post and thinks that you've got a point (a scary prospect).

      • by lixee (863589) on Monday May 28, 2007 @03:19PM (#19301697)

        In a Communist scenario all the sofware would belong to the state, the choice of sharing would not be mine.
        Communism, as preached by Mark, has never been implemented. What you're thinking of, is some kind of Bolshevism.
        • Communism, as preached by Mark, has never been implemented. What you're thinking of, is some kind of Bolshevism.

          You're absolutely right of course, I was 'dumbing down' the issues somewhat. The average westerner's definition of 'Communism' is that totalitarian state I was referring to: Soviet Russia under Stalin typifies Communism for most people.

          My apologies for continuing to perpetuate mis-information.

      • by JimDaGeek (983925)
        You know the post you are replying to is meant as sarcasm [wikipedia.org]. :-)
      • by mudshark (19714)
        This is such a hilarious troll, normally I wouldn't feed but the parent post is so ridiculous that it's gone beyond trolling into some random fantasy land.

        Indeed.

        YHBT. HAND.
      • by rxmd (205533)
        WHOOOSH!

        (Still made a couple of good points though.)
      • by init100 (915886)

        It would be interesting to see this happen, my hypothesis is that this would ruin software development in the US. Am pretty certain your country would suffer rather badly if it outlawed FLOSS but the rest of the world continued developing it.

        I'm pretty sure that if the US would outlaw free software, the state department would begin a strong lobbying campaign around the world to make sure that every other country also enact such laws. I mean, they already did it with software patents in the EU, to secure the profits of the mostly american corporations that hold (currently invalid) european software patents.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by multisync (218450)

      Go to hell, communists


      I love how whenever you start talking about "freedom" with certain types of people you get called a "communist."

      I know the AC is just trolling (or he's a total ass-hat), but I've actually encountered this in real life with otherwise intelligent people. You start talking about openness and choice and they feel threatened by that for some reason. I guess the only freedom they care about is their freedom to amass wealth.
      • You start talking about openness and choice and they feel threatened by that for some reason.

        They're too dumb to figure out how to make money without keeping secrets, and perhaps they don't think they could convince somebody their ideas are correct without the coercive use of force.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ant P. (974313)
      If freedom is a communist idea, what does that make the United States, in your opinion?

      A fascist dictatorship?
      • by lilomar (1072448)
        Freedom is a communist idea, or at least a communist ideal. From wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

        According to the Marxist argument for communism, the main characteristic of human life in class society is alienation; and communism is desirable because it entails the full realization of human freedom. Marx here follows Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel in conceiving freedom not merely as an absence of restraints but as action with content. (McLean and McMillan, 2003) They believed that communism allowed people to do what they want, b

  • Nice but (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Monday May 28, 2007 @01:45PM (#19301103) Homepage
    I'd like someone at linux.com to explain the rationale behind publishing one brief clip per day over the course of the week, instead of just publishing the interview. I'm not saying its a horrible thing to do.. just can't figure out why.
    • Re:Nice but (Score:5, Interesting)

      by otomo_1001 (22925) on Monday May 28, 2007 @01:57PM (#19301181)
      I am guessing the theory was that if they broke it up that more people would come back to read it. More pageviews = more ad revenue?

      God I hope not, the "news" with 5 pages of 2 paragraphs each is bad enough as it is. Now if the news sources think that spacing the article out over time will help, we can pretty much kiss the usefulness of the web goodbye.

      This pretty much guarantees I will not be reading anything from linux.com now.
    • by qortra (591818)
      I'm not at linux.com, but I'll give it a go. You're right that this seems a little short, but the Serial [wikipedia.org] has a long and venerable tradition in western literature and journalism. Especially in this case, most people are not inclined to sit down with a tub of popcorn and watch an ogg of Eben Moglen for 10 minutes. On the other hand, 1.5 minute segments are much more digestible. And, if it's good, it's something to look forward to for a few days.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Roblimo (357) Works for SourceForge
        The real reason for publishing these five videos separately is so that they are searchable separately by topic.

        This makes them more useful, long-run, for people who are just learning about free software -- or about Eben Moglen, for that matter.

        - Robin
    • Maybe they want the story present for multiple days without appearing to have stale news so that more people will become aware of the information.

      Maybe they want search engines to return more hits for solid GPL3 related info, so they will pepper the sight with multi-part articles for a while... if a casual browser hits one they will see links to the others w/out having to use more searching.

      Maybe they are more concerned about casual users educating themselves on this issue as the hardcore ones are already i
  • by PoliTech (998983) on Monday May 28, 2007 @02:10PM (#19301263) Homepage Journal
    Novell views GPLv3 as a danger to its agreement with MS to resell SUSE Linux certificates. Novell comments that if "the Free Software Foundation releases a new version of the GNU General Public License with certain currently proposed terms, our business may suffer harm." That verbiage is from the annual report's risk factors section.

    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/758004/0000 95013407012375/0000950134-07-012375.txt [sec.gov]

    The FSF has as much as said that they will target the Microsoft-Novell deal. http://gplv3.fsf.org/rationale [fsf.org], and since it's not a matter of "if" GPLv3 becomes more than a draft, as much as it is "when"...

    The current draft of GPLv3 can affect Novell's biggest source of cash - Microsoft. (and may also affect SUSE gaining more market share in the enterprise) If the final GPLv3 impacts the patent agreement between Microsoft and Novell, Novell has big problems. And (IMHO) increasing SUSE acceptance among enterprise customers suffers a setback.

    • by sharperguy (1065162) on Monday May 28, 2007 @02:48PM (#19301519)

      The entire aim of the GPLv3 is to baisically fix "bugs" and loopholes present in the GPLv2 in order to make sure that the four software freedoms are always present in GPL-licenced software.

      Any company that claims their business may suffer harm should either point out why certain points in the licence are unfair, or accept that the reason they will "suffer harm" is because they were exploiting the errors within the GPL for their own means and therefor going against the spirit of Free Software.

      The FSF may be specifically targeting the M$-Novell deal in some areas, but it is not the only rational, because the creation was already underway before it was apparent the deal had even been agreed apon. Also if they target this deal then it is because of areas of the agreement which are not in the spirit of Free Software, and should only affect these areas.

      • by Kjella (173770)
        Any company that claims their business may suffer harm should either point out why certain points in the licence are unfair, or accept that the reason they will "suffer harm" is because they were exploiting the errors within the GPL for their own means and therefor going against the spirit of Free Software.

        Yes, because RMS is such a compromising, cautious and pragmatic man that he'd never accept any colleteral damage in the name of Free Software.
    • On the other hand [opensuse.org], the third and latest draft [fsf.org] does not prohibit Novell [novell.com] of any of its Linux offerings.
  • by Freed (2178) on Monday May 28, 2007 @02:47PM (#19301505)
    As long as...great great tinkerers need to worry about the freedom to tinker, http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/ [freedom-to-tinker.com];
    ...the powerful such as Bill Gates keep investing in long-term research on how to lock people down;
    ...we leave it to the U.S. government to following the Constitution, including recovering the real purpose of copyright and patents by, e.g., repealing the DMCA;
    We will need the likes of the GPL3 to give an option to reduce the inevitable temptation of vested interests to use DRM to subjugate people.
  • To explain (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2007 @03:50PM (#19301921)
    First, I am NOT the hate-filled idiotic Annomynous Coward. While I am from the good ol' US of A, (Still the most free country in the world despite what Bush Jr has done to try not to make it so) I believe that Open Source through the GPL is the only way to get a REAL competitor to Windows. Despite how important Microsoft was to the OS Revolution (I won't deny MS's contributions to getting a 'computer in every home'), Microsoft will easily help a competitor to make a standard (i.e. Embrace), adding new stuff that the competitor doesn't have (i.e. Extend), and then preventing said competitor from using their stuff when it becomes a defacto standard (i.e. Extinguish). Of course, the GPL prevents this because if you modify the code and publish the product, you accept the conditions of the GPL, which includes having to share the source code with the user, including the modified parts. However companies like Tivo and Novell have created ways to short-circuit GPL v2, by using DRM and Patents... thus GPL v3 closes these two loopholes. Novell and Tivo can gladly stick with GPL v2, but they will have to fork to avoid GPL v3. Meanwhile, most end-users would not care about GPL v2 or v3, just that it is free as in beer, rather as in freedom.
    • by jez9999 (618189)
      (Still the most free country in the world despite what Bush Jr has done to try not to make it so)

      Most free in what way? Freedom to own guns? Perhaps (Iraqis might be freer there, though). Freedom of anything else? Nope.

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