A Renewed Invitation to Kernel Developers

By Eben Moglen

September 26 2006

In view of recent statements by developers of the Linux kernel, and the response by the Free Software Foundation [ http://www.fsf.org/news/gplv3-clarification ], I would like to offer my personal views as the chief mediator in the GPLv3 process.

To begin with, I welcome the current expressions of opinion by kernel developers. As I have repeatedly said in private communications, and will now say again publicly, I will gladly take any steps possible to include the kernel developers in the ongoing discussion process. I invite them to represent themselves in any way they choose, and pledge to work with them to create, even at this late date, a form of participation in the deliberations about GPLv3 that would reflect their preferred means of work, and be appropriate to their position in the community of developers.

I appreciate the positions taken publicly by the kernel developers. To be clear, the process of deliberation in which FSF and everyone else has been engaged since January is not only a process of taking positions. It also involves listening to the positions others have taken: it’s the effect of listening as well as talking that gives deliberative democracy its effectiveness as well as its legitimacy.

I have been doing a job this year, on behalf of the Free Software Foundation as a client of the Software Freedom Law Center. In this time, I have watched hundreds of serious-minded and busy people take time to listen to one another’s needs, to explain their principles, to deliberate on the arrangements that affect their lives. For my colleagues and fellow citizens who develop the Linux kernel, I have nothing but respect. I ask them please to join the conversation that is going on, to listen to others whose views may not be theirs, and to help the community make the best possible choices about matters of deep common concern.


Copyright 2006