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From: Alexandre Oliva <aol...@redhat.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 11:40:13 +0200
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Here's an idea that just occurred to me, after all the discussions
about motivations, tit-for-tat, authors' wishes and all.

If GPLv3 were to have a clause that permitted combination/linking with
code under GPLv2, this wouldn't be enough for GPLv3 projects to use
Linux code, and it wouldn't be enough for Linux code to use GPLv3
projects.  That's because GPLv2 would still demand all code to be
licensed under GPLv2, and GPLv3 wouldn't permit this.

However, if GPLv3 had a permission to combine/link with code under
GPLv2, *and* Linux (and any other projects interested in mutual
compatibility) introduced an additional permission to combine/link
with code under GPLv3 (or even GPLv3+, constrained by some condition
if you will), then:

- the kernel Linux could use code from GPLv3 projects

- GPLv3 projects could use code from Linux

- each copyright holder would still get to enforce the terms s/he
  chose for his/her own code

Does this sound like something that would make sense for your
community, so as to maintain/increase cooperation between authors who
love GPLv2 and those who love defense for freedom, while respecting
each author's not-always-compatible wishes?

In other words, does it even make sense for the FSF to consider
introducing such a provision in GPLv3, that AFAICT, by itself, would
have no effect whatsoever, since an additional permission would be
needed for the GPLv2 side?


If you were to permit compatibility with GPLv3+ (rather than GPLv3),
would you constrain it?  Would something like:

  as long as the later version grants each licensee the same
  permissions as GPLv2, except for constraining permissions that would
  enable one licensee to deny other licensees the exercise of the
  permissions granted by both licenses

do, subject to translation to proper legalese (if that's at all
possible)?


Do you know of any other communities that are like-minded with you,
that are sticking with GPLv2, that I could poll about interest in such
a provision in GPLv3?


Thanks, and sorry for taking your attention away from coding one more
time.  I hope you find it worth it this time.

-- 
Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
FSF Latin America Board Member         http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
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From: Al Viro <v...@ftp.linux.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2007 20:10:10 +0200
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On Thu, Jun 21, 2007 at 06:39:07AM -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> Here's an idea that just occurred to me, after all the discussions
> about motivations, tit-for-tat, authors' wishes and all.
> 
> If GPLv3 were to have a clause that permitted combination/linking with
> code under GPLv2, this wouldn't be enough for GPLv3 projects to use
> Linux code, and it wouldn't be enough for Linux code to use GPLv3
> projects.  That's because GPLv2 would still demand all code to be
> licensed under GPLv2, and GPLv3 wouldn't permit this.
> 
> However, if GPLv3 had a permission to combine/link with code under
> GPLv2, *and* Linux (and any other projects interested in mutual
> compatibility) introduced an additional permission to combine/link
> with code under GPLv3 (or even GPLv3+, constrained by some condition
> if you will), then:
>
> - the kernel Linux could use code from GPLv3 projects

... and inherit GPLv3 additional restrictions.  No.

> - GPLv3 projects could use code from Linux

Oh, rapture!  How could one object against such a glorious outcome?

> - each copyright holder would still get to enforce the terms s/he
>   chose for his/her own code

... except for that pesky "no added restrictions" part, but hey, who
cares?

> If you were to permit compatibility with GPLv3+ (rather than GPLv3),
> would you constrain it?  Would something like:
> 
>   as long as the later version grants each licensee the same
>   permissions as GPLv2, except for constraining permissions that would
>   enable one licensee to deny other licensees the exercise of the
>   permissions granted by both licenses

... because it's For The Benefit Of User Freedoms!!!

No.  Permission denied.  And I don't know of any suckers who would buy that
and hadn't been already hooked by FSF peddlers already.

If somebody wants to dual-license their code, they can do it just fine.
If somebody wants to dual-license *others* code, they can go and play
with themselves until they reach RMS-level clarity of vision.

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From: Alexandre Oliva <aol...@redhat.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 03:10:07 +0200
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On Jun 21, 2007, "David Schwartz" <dav...@webmaster.com> wrote:

> It's this simple, those who chose the GPLv2 for Linux and their
> contributions to it don't want people to create derivative works of their
> works that can't be Tivoized.

Do you agree that if there's any single contributor who thinks it
can't be tivoized, and he manages his opinion to prevail in court
against a copyright holder, then it can't?  That this is the same
privilege to veto additional permissions that Al Viro has just
claimed?

http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/6/13/293
http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/6/13/354
http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/6/14/117
http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/6/14/432

-- 
Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
FSF Latin America Board Member         http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
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From: Al Viro <v...@ftp.linux.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 03:40:05 +0200
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On Thu, Jun 21, 2007 at 10:00:22PM -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:

> Do you agree that if there's any single contributor who thinks it
> can't be tivoized, and he manages his opinion to prevail in court
> against a copyright holder, then it can't?  That this is the same
> privilege to veto additional permissions that Al Viro has just
> claimed?

You know, I'm rapidly losing any respect for your integrity.  The only
"privelege" claimed is that of not relicensing one's contributions.
_You_ are perfectly welcome to allow distribution of your code under
whatever license you happen to like.  So is anybody else (provided that
they separate their code from that of other contributors).  I cannot
do that to your code.  Neither can Linus.

If Alan sues some company for doing things violating in his opinion his
copyright on some of his code *and* wins it, then it's likely to simplify
later cases of that kind, provided that situation is similar enough to
make the legal arguments used in the first case apply in the later one.

If Joe Random Wanker takes your code (in gcc, kernel, whatever) and starts
distributing it in violation of conditions set in your copyright *and*
you sue him *and* win (which is bloody likely), then further cases of that
kind get somewhat easier to win.  Not much, actually, since there's already
a whole lot of precedents already.

What really gets me is that you know it.  And you know that just about
everyone here knows it.  Yet you keep playing with rather pathetic
attempts of innuendo and misdirection, when it's bloody obvious that
you won't even get a PR win out of the entire mess you've been sustaining
for about a week already (seriously, count postings in these threads).

The first law of holes: when you are in one, stop digging...
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From: Theodore Tso <ty...@mit.edu>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 06:30:10 +0200
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On Fri, Jun 22, 2007 at 02:34:17AM +0100, Al Viro wrote:
> What really gets me is that you know it.  And you know that just about
> everyone here knows it.  Yet you keep playing with rather pathetic
> attempts of innuendo and misdirection, when it's bloody obvious that
> you won't even get a PR win out of the entire mess you've been sustaining
> for about a week already (seriously, count postings in these threads).

I'm not sure Alexandre realizes it, but by his carrying on and on and
on with his really poorly reasoned arguments (I may disagree with
Eben's positions, but he's a much more reasonable debator and advocate
for the FSF's positions), Mr. Oliva, Latin America Board Member and
Free Software Evangelist, has probably made it made it much more
*unlikely* that the Linux kernel will ever go GPLv3.

About a week and half ago, Linus was saying he was a pragmatist and if
there was a good enough reason (such as if Solaris adopting GPLv3 and
there being aufficiently interesting technology that it would be worth
the code exchange), there was a chance that he might be for it.  But
Alexandre has been so annoying and so obtuse, that people's positions
have hardened to the point where I doubt kernel developers would be
willing to go for at this point.  Something that went from being
merely extremely unlikely has become "practically impossible".

> The first law of holes: when you are in one, stop digging...

Indeed.

Another law of negotiations --- don't goad people into hardening their
positions; it helps neither you nor your interests.

					- Ted
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From: Alexandre Oliva <aol...@redhat.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 08:10:07 +0200
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On Jun 22, 2007, Theodore Tso <ty...@mit.edu> wrote:

> has probably made it made it much more *unlikely* that the Linux
> kernel will ever go GPLv3.

That was a given from the start.  The spin that there was any chance
whatsoever it could possibly happen was just that.  Even if Linus
could possibly consider this, others have made it pretty clear that
this was never an option for them, and Linus' explosion at my first
one-liner intervention on GPLv3 isn't exactly a sign of being
considering something reasonably.

So, no, as I've repeatedly stated, I wasn't here to convince anyone to
adopt GPLv3.  I know you won't believe me.  I don't care.

I was here to dispell the lies that were being spread about GPLv3, the
spirit and the goals of the GPL, as far as I understood them.  I knew
from the start that it was an uphill battle, and that I wouldn't be
able to convince those who distrusted the FSF so much that they would
listen to anything that resembled an FSF discourse with an extremely
high rejection level.  This was all expected.

I wasn't here to convince them.  I knew I wouldn't.  I was here to set
the record straight on the spirit of the GPL, not towards the most
vocal opponents, but for others who hadn't formed an opinion,
prejudiced or not.  I was here to inform about GPLv3, not to push it.

That I was perceived as pushing it is not surprising at all.  The
perception of "being forced" whenever something resembling the FSF
ideology comes up is so strong here that some people just stop
listening, stop thinking rationally (limbic system take-over?), or
even get into outright name calling.  No surprise here.  I knew this
was hostile territory, and I came prepared for this.

I feel I have accomplished my goal: I've informed a lot of people
about the GPL, about GPLv3, about Free Software and even about the
FSFes.  Whether they make a decision for GPLv3, GPLv2, or more liberal
Free Software licenses, is up to them.  Now, people who'd only been
exposed to the prevailing views in this list can take something
different into account, and make more-informed decisions.

Thanks for listening.

o-o

-- 
Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
FSF Latin America Board Member         http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
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From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 11:10:12 +0200
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> Another law of negotiations --- don't goad people into hardening their
> positions; it helps neither you nor your interests.

That always depends which side you really support, whether you want to
force someone to wedge themselves in an undefendable corner and so on..

Alan
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From: Theodore Tso <ty...@mit.edu>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 16:50:09 +0200
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On Fri, Jun 22, 2007 at 10:14:23AM +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
> > Another law of negotiations --- don't goad people into hardening their
> > positions; it helps neither you nor your interests.
> 
> That always depends which side you really support, whether you want to
> force someone to wedge themselves in an undefendable corner and so on..

Well yes, I'm assuming that the goal is successfully concluded
negotiations.  If in fact the idea is to force people to wedge
themselves into an undefensible corner so that you can blame the
failed negotiations on *them*, when it was really *you* who had no
interest in reaching a mutually agreeable compromise, then of course
that could be a valid tactic.  That's a bit of an advanced technique,
though; and some might call it a tad slimeball thing to do.  Happens
all the time in political and labor discussions, though!

I hope that wasn't want Alexandre was trying to do, although at times
where one could wonder if he was really sent by Tivo to make sure the
kernel would stay GPLv2.  :-)

						- Ted
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From: Theodore Tso <ty...@mit.edu>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 16:50:10 +0200
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On Fri, Jun 22, 2007 at 03:00:30AM -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> I was here to dispell the lies that were being spread about GPLv3, the
> spirit and the goals of the GPL, as far as I understood them.  I knew
> from the start that it was an uphill battle, and that I wouldn't be
> able to convince those who distrusted the FSF so much that they would
> listen to anything that resembled an FSF discourse with an extremely
> high rejection level.  This was all expected.

News flash: almost no one except for you cares about the "spirit of
the GPL", and it was not on that basis that people decided that the
GPLv3 was an inferior license, FOR THE LINUX KERNEL.

> That I was perceived as pushing it is not surprising at all.  

So the fact that you keep talk about the general case, when in fact
the concern was about the specific case of the Linux kernel, certainly
DID make it seem like that you were pushing it.  THE GENERAL CASE IS
OUT OF SCOPE FOR THIS MAILING LIST.

And no, it's not a perception of "being forced", it's was a matter of
consuming huge amounts of bandwidth on a topic which was out-of-scope
for this mailing list.  And the only topic which was in scope (whether
or not GPLv3 was appropriat for the Linux kernel development
community) was one where you would keep slidng away from.

> I feel I have accomplished my goal: I've informed a lot of people
> about the GPL, about GPLv3, about Free Software and even about the
> FSFes.  Whether they make a decision for GPLv3, GPLv2, or more liberal
> Free Software licenses, is up to them.  Now, people who'd only been
> exposed to the prevailing views in this list can take something
> different into account, and make more-informed decisions.

Great.   So can we please END this thread?

Thank you.

						- Ted
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From: Alexandre Oliva <aol...@redhat.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: how about mutual compatibility between Linux's GPLv2 and GPLv3?
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2007 21:20:11 +0200
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On Jun 22, 2007, Theodore Tso <ty...@mit.edu> wrote:

> On Fri, Jun 22, 2007 at 10:14:23AM +0100, Alan Cox wrote:
>> > Another law of negotiations --- don't goad people into hardening their
>> > positions; it helps neither you nor your interests.
>> 
>> That always depends which side you really support, whether you want to
>> force someone to wedge themselves in an undefendable corner and so on..

> Well yes, I'm assuming that the goal is successfully concluded
> negotiations.

I guess this means you don't believe what I claimed all the way from
the beginning about what I was trying to accomplish.  Not surprising,
really.

Please believe me.  I know I'm a terrible negotiator.  I know I get
people to harden their positions.

Why on earth would I, knowing about these shortcomings of mine, get
into this debate if my goal were to convince you guys, who'd pretty
much all made up your minds months ago, to change anything?  This
would be utterly stupid.  Do you think I'm *that* stupid?

Not just a terrible negotiator, but also a stupid liar? :-)


I know what I was trying to accomplish.  I can even show evidence of
that, which you may very well disbelieve.  When one of the FSF execs,
worriedly wrote to me after reading about a discussion I was allegedly
having with Linus on behalf of the FSF
http://digg.com/linux_unix/Linus_Torvalds_to_the_FSF_I_m_damn_fed_up,
he asked me what I was trying to achieve.  On the same day, June 14, I
responded that I'd repeatedly made it clear (but apparently never
clear enough) that I didn't speak for the FSF, and not even for FSFLA,
and that what I was trying to achieve was:

  - set the record straight on my opinion as to whether GPLv3 changes
  the spirit of the GPL (it doesn't, not even in the case of
  Tivoization, as argued in
  http://fsfla.org/svnwiki/blogs/lxo/draft/gplv3-snowwhite

  - dispell myths as to other apparent new obligations that people
  seem to perceive in GPLv3, that were either already present in GPLv2
  or that are necessary to better abide by the spirit of the GPL
  encoded in the preamble

  - offer evidence that whatever perceived losses the Linux (kernel)
  community might suffer from switching to GPLv3 would be from
  non-contributors who are not really willing to abide by the spirit
  of the GPL chosen by the Linux authors, and that it would rather be
  more beneficial for Linux because it would push the exploiters away
  while making room for more actual contributors

Now, since I wrote this, I learned that many Linux authors really
understood the "no further restrictions" provision of GPLv2 in a far
more limited different way, that the spirit in which they licensed
their code departed from the spirit of the GPL.  Nevertheless, I
offered the reasoning I had to offer about potential benefits of
anti-tivoization provisions, because I saw no evidence that anything
but potential negative consequences had been taken into account.  The
same negative consequences that are being brought up WRT the GPLv3
clarifications have repeatedly been brought up against the GPL since
its inception: "Oh my God, this will scare businesses, they will never
use it."  Time is showing these fears were largely exaggerated.  I
hope this will prove true for GPLv3 as well, but my crystal ball is
failing me, even more so because a critical piece of code that would
enable us to tell, in the long run, is, let's say, highly skeptical of
the possibility that prohibiting certain uses can be beneficial in the
long run.


As for why I got into this debate...  Isn't it much simpler to believe
that I got into the debate because Greg KH wrote things about GPLv3
that I understand to be incorrect, and I wanted to set the record
straight on it, than that I, an admittedly unskilled negotiator, was
going to try to "push GPLv3 down your throats"?

And that the most important issue to set the record straight on was
*precisely* about the complaint, signed by him and about half of the
major contributors to Linux, and later supported by other major
contributors, that GPLv3 changed the spirit of the license?  How on
earth can you and others possibly claim with a straight face that
"nobody cares about the spirit"?

The other point I intended to make was the accusation that the FSF was
dividing the community.  This is very unfair.  If the release of a
license that more clearly expresses the intent of part of the
community, and this part of the community adopts it, while another
part of the community rejects it, is this not a sign that the
community is already divided?

Given that part of the community at large, including the FSFes, seeks
better defenses for the freedom of their code, seeks respect for the
"freedom or death" provision already present in GPLv2 (even if
interpreted by some in a narrower sense than it was meant), how is it
fair to complain that they exercise the option to obtain such
defenses, on the grounds that the complaining party might no longer
get the full cooperation of the party who wanted more?

If you're unhappy with GPLv3, why couldn't people who want better
assurance that their code won't be used in ways they don't want be
unhappy that GPLv2 doesn't guarantee these defenses for them?

Don't you see that attacks on GPLv3, suggestions that it's weakened or
dropped, such that these two parts of the community could keep on
cooperating under terms you prefer but they don't, would be just as
bad for others as taking GPLv2 away from you would?

GPLv2 is not going away.  GPLv3 is going to be one more option, and
it's better than GPLv2 for many people.  You can have different goals
than GPLv3 and prefer other licenses over it as much as you want.  I
don't care (*).  But please respect that others disagree with your
goals and want GPLv3, and if this reduces the amount of cooperation
you get from them to achieve your goals, realize that you're also
refusing to cooperate with them to achieve theirs.  This is
unfortunate, but it's not unfair.  What's unfair is to try to shift
the blame onto only one of the parties.

(*) I reserve the right to vocally oppose decisions for non-Free
Software licenses, because I understand that, even though anyone may
have a legal right to make such decisions, it's unethical to make such
decisions, and it prolongs a social problem that I devote a
significant portion of my life to terminate.  I thank you all for your
help in achieving this goal, even if it's involuntary.

> it was really *you* who had no interest in reaching a mutually
> agreeable compromise,

This is an unfair characterization of the situation.  I think both
sides have very little interest in compromising their positions, and
that's fair.  Yesterday, when *I* (!= FSF, != FSFLA) started this
thread with a proposal about mutual compatibility that seemed to me to
be a reasonable compromise, that AFAICT would meet all of the points
that had been brought in the long discussion that preceded, was when I
started an effort of mediating a negotiation between two parties that
AFAICT were not really interested in participating in such a
negotiation.

My suggestion wouldn't work unless both parties made some concessions,
in order to obtain the benefits of mutual cooperation.  No party would
be required to make such concessions.

The only thing that's clear so far is that one person in one party is
not interested in using such an agreement; a person that had already
voiced an opinion against relicensing his contributions to Linux in a
GPLv3-compatible way, not even if Sun were to license the OpenSolaris
kernel under GPLv3.  No surprise here.

I wish I'd got other opinions about this proposal, though, such that I
can make a decision on whether it even makes sense for me to champion
this suggestion towards inclusion in GPLv3.

> at times where one could wonder if he was really sent by Tivo to
> make sure the kernel would stay GPLv2.  :-)

:-) Dammit, how did you guess?  :-)  I even tried to disguise it by
insisting that GPLv2 already prohibits this practice!  :-)

-- 
Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
FSF Latin America Board Member         http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
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