The crux of the issue
Posted Oct 6, 2006 14:52 UTC (Fri) by cventers
In reply to: 4 points
Parent article: Similar in spirit?
(I shall include by reference my request made elsewhere that you return
to my set of points in response to your earlier points further down on
> Firstly, i have heard this "what if the GPLv2 is ruled unenforceable"
> boogeyman a number of times. It is just not happening. What is
> happening is that the GPLv2 is alive and kicking and enforced (and even
> litigated) in lots of important jurisdictions. A healthy number of
> precedents have built up in Europe for example, and in the US 99%+ of
> the defendants rushed into settlements without even thinking about a
> trial. Judges in Germany, the US and elsewhere are showing a clear and
> deep understanding the GPL and the obligations attached to it.
You're right. GPLv2 is a strong license. And I think no one does a better
job of explaining why than Eben Moglen, the lawyer standing at the front
lines of the Free Software Foundation. Indeed, no one knows better than
Eben just how well GPL works except maybe your colleague Harald Welte,
netfilter developer and gpl-violations.org project lead, who I gather is
the only kernel developer concerned enough with GPLv3 to participate
beyond mere bickering (pardon the jab, but you still have not answered my
inquiry in this area even after I have asked multiple times).
> Please think about it, and dont just accept the FSF's position at face
> value. Please show some critical thinking.
You know Ingo, it is perfectly valid for you to hold an opinion on this
matter but I don't think you can claim any kind of expert status over the
very man who spends his days as an actual _attorney_ working with
defending the GPL license here and abroad.
Attorneys don't sit around passively and react to situations; part of
their regular job is to actively monitor their own crystal balls for
signs of trouble and develop intelligent responses to questions that have
yet to appear.
No matter how unlikely you think it is that GPLv2 could ever fail to do
precisely what it intends to do, Mr. Moglen (the man whose work you are
now trying to stop) sees a need to internationalize the license.
Internationalizing the license means divorcing the GPL from the very
American concept of 'derivative work', and carefully picking language
that does not imply any particular legal meaning in any particular legal
system in the world.
Once again, it is important to realize that Linux, a largely Western
project, isn't the only GPL-using free software commodity in the world. I
get the distinct sense from monitoring the news and international
conferences on this subject that free software authors are popping up in
any place there are computers, and that there is a particular emphasis
and opportunity for this reality because part of the Freedom is the
freedom to have the knowledge all others have, which can be a great
enabler if you are trying to do better than your third world country
would normally allow.
So I think it's damn essential that the GPL not only defend our software
there, but that it should also defend their software there as well. They
should be comfortable using the GPL license, and frankly, they're going
to be more comfortable using it if it isn't tied entirely to United
States copyright law.
Once again, Ingo, you have the full right of not using GPLv3, and I have
no interest in convincing you that you should. But I find your position
about the so-called moral obligations of the FSF now that its positions
clash with yours an indefensible reason to deny the many users and
developers who want and need GPLv3 the right to have it. And that is why
I strongly object to your strong and repeated assertion of this red
> On one side of the equation are more than 1 billion lines of code,
> worth tens of billions of US dollars, given away for free, with a few
> common-sense conditions attached to it, described in very clear words
> (in the GPLv2) that is easily translated to many languages, and which
> has been enforced to the true letter and intent of that license in
> important jurisdictions.
I find it interesting that you keep referring to the large body of GPL
code out there. When it's the evil Free Software Foundation going back on
their promises, taking advantage of all the poor free software developers
too stupid, lazy or busy to notice that their inclusion of the words "or
any later version" at the top of every file that comprises their great
work, it is a problem that must be stopped. The FSF wields too much power
over that code!
But when it is the FSF proposing to defend those billions of lines of
code worth billions of US dollars from the whims of, well, every diverse
legal system on the planet, you accuse people of having not used critical
thinking because they worry that the fantastic GPLv2 might not work quite
the same on every place on Earth.
So you don't want the FSF - the drafters of the GPL license, the
philosophers behind the Free Software movement, and the programmers
behind much of the combined GNU/Linux system to do anything but sit
absolutely still and hope disaster never strikes? And you go further and
claim you have been wronged when they try?
Mr. Molnar, I'm beginning to suspect the reason you haven't replied to
any of my other messages is that your whole position is truly
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