Authored by: Anonymous on Thursday, July 27 2006 @ 08:18 PM EDT
I tried to explain my own disagreement with the GPLv3 in a number of
emails to the linux kernel, but obviously haven't been uniformly
And yes (responding both to you, and to another poster), I realize that
input has been taken on the drafts, but all the changes I've seen have
been about largely stylistic issues - wording changes, things like that.
I don't think any input on any really fundamental disagreement has been
really on the table.
Now, I also realize that that is probably exactly what the FSF was going
for. Rms had a vision for what he wanted the GPLv3 to say, and it says
that, and then they are open to modifying details. Fair enough, and I'm
not fighting the GPLv3 changes per se. I'm just telling people why they
are bad changes for me, and why I think they are bad changes for most
other projects too.
I'll try to explain it once more, usign the analogy that seems to have
been the most effective so far with some people. To me, the GPLv2 has
always been about "quid pro quo", ie I want people to pay me back in
kind. There are other issues (and many of them I think end up being the
reasons why it has been so successful), but that "quid pro quo" is why I
started using the GPL, and I think it's a very fundamental thing. It's
also - to me - very fair. I give source code out, you can repay in kind.
Now, the difference between "quid pro quo" and the FSF stance is that in
many ways, the reason for the GPL as far as the FSF is concerned was
never "fairness". It was all about a higher calling, and about something
that the FSF thinks is much bigger - "freedom".
And I disagree. I think that "freedom" is fine, but we're not exactly
talking about slavery here. Trying to make it look like we're the
Abraham Lincoln of our generation just makes us look stupid and stuck
up. I'd much rather talk about "fairness" and about issues like just
being a much better process for generating better code, and having fun
while doing so.
And the thing is, the GPLv2 was a wonderful license, not because it was
about "freedom", but because it was a good meeting point for all of
The GPLv3 is much inferior. It no longer works in the "fairness" sense.
It's purely a firebrand, and only good for the extremist policies of the
FSF. It's no longer a nice balance that a lot of people can accept, and
that a lot of companies can stand behind once you explain it to them.
The FSF doesn't like that Linux in particular turned the GPLv2 into
something pragmatic. I think the FSF sees Linux has having "usurped"
their place as the guardians of peoples morals. And they seem blind to
the reason why Linux did so - exactly because the Linux reading of the
GPLv2 has never been the extremist firebrand reading, but a much more
modest "this is fair", "this is fun" and "this is a good way to evolve
So I think the GPLv3 is a wonderful license if you want to ignore all
the good things Linux stands for. If you just want to push your own
moral agenda, the GPLv3 is great. But if you want to have fun, work with
people, and just get the best damn product out there, and do so while
everybody thinks that what they are doing is "fair", the GPLv3 sucks.
The GPLv3 is designed to take the FSF back to its original "good old
days", when "Free Software" was a war, and rms was its protelyzing
general. But the fact is, it's not a war, and peaceful and happy
co-existence is actually much preferable to moral jihads
And that's why I think the GPLv2 is much better. It allows us all to
agree to just work together, without making it a religion. Linux was a
big reason Open Source isn't "religious" (and why it's called "Open
Source" and not "Free Software" - exactly to avoid the bad old religious
dats), and GPLv3 is trying to turn the clock back.
Does that explain my stance?