FSF is creating a problem that never existed!
Posted Oct 2, 2006 8:06 UTC (Mon) by mingo
In reply to: FSF is creating a problem that never existed!
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
This unprecedented legal power of the FSF derives from their legal ability to unilaterally change the license after 15 years, by using the wildcard "or any later" language, without any legal obligation for consent from the community!
I also think that many people (like myself) have put efforts into GPL-ed projects without fully realizing this legal power and the legal effects of the "or any later version" and the "similar in spirit" clauses. We are all just coders after all, with little care for the legal smallprint.
The FSF is now trying to pretend that the changes in the GPLv3 were "always intended to be there" and that this somehow resulted in every contributor having accepted that intent being codified into the license. The FSF apparently does not realize its deep moral obligations that comes with its legal power over this huge codebase. (of which codebase the FSF wrote only a very small portion)
What worries me most about the GPLv3 process arent even the technical flaws of the GPLv3 draft (because flaws can be fixed), but the apparent and fundamental lack of acceptance of the moral obligations that the FSF owes to the more than one hundred thousand contributors of this hugebase. The FSF, having started this project still believes they have a moral right to unilaterally control its future, and are trying to enforce their moral vision, apparently just because they legally can.
Without realizing this enormous moral obligation, and without codifying that obligation into the license and into the license update process i feel there is no possibility for the GPLv3 process to be open in the sense of free software: we should not only have the ability to see the process, but also the ability to modify it. (And if that cannot be done legally: dont do it then. Remove the "or any later" language and go the normal way of acquiring the hearts and minds of contributors: by convincing them to use a new license, once it has been released, for newly written code or for old code they wrote and are willing to relicense, one by one.)
This unilateral "Richard Stallman is the judge and jury" process is a parody of free software and is humiliating to me personally.
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