Posted Oct 2, 2006 22:34 UTC (Mon) by coriordan
In reply to: Licence text and fabs
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
Thanks for your reply.
why does it single out keys from the myriads of existing ways of restricting hardware capabilities
There are two motivations for singling out keys. One is that rigging hardware to require a key, and then distributing the hardware without the key, is something that is currently being done, and is even supporting a business model. It is practical and profitable. A second is that closing this loophole is simple and can be done in a way that only restricts the handful of people who are pushing things through that loophole.
There will always be other loopholes, but maybe no one (or nearly no one) will exploit them because they are difficult, or impractical, or unprofitable. Burning software onto ROMs or locking the harddrive in a safe are indeed effective ways to prevent people being free to modify the software.
The reason those scenarios are not being adressed by GPLv3 is because the two motivations that exist for keys do not (currently) exist for physical lock-out. Physical lock-out is not in wide spread use, at least not for desktop computers (I'm open to correction on that point, but the next point is reason enough on its own). Phyical lock-out is not easy to fix - not without inconveniencing users or manufacturers.
GPLv3 only influences hardware design in the rare case when the designer is looking for ways to prevent users from being able to tinker with the software. Less tinkering means less contributors. We don't gain from helping people who are trying to prohibit tinkering.
About talking to FSF, the best way to do this is through the commenting system. Just go to your sent emails folder, copy the text that explains your issue, and paste it into the dialogue box on gplv3.fsf.org/comments after selecting that sentence about keys. If you do this, your comment will be viewable by the public, other commenters will be able to comment on it or note that they agree with it, and then your comment will go to the 130 people in the four discussion committees (business, lawyers, software projects, individuals). The committees can also do a better job than FSF can of responding to a large volume of input, and according to members of the committees, they are being listened to.
As for purple, it doesn't scare me.
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