[Info-gplv3] GPLv3 Update #5

GPLv3 Information info-gplv3 at gplv3.fsf.org
Tue Mar 14 16:21:44 EST 2006

Welcome to the GPLv3 Update, #5.

 - What is "TiVo-ization"?
 - Other recent FSF writing about DRM and GPLv3
 - GPLv3 commenting system debuts new features
 - Calendar reminders
 - Your support is needed!

* What is "TiVo-ization"?

GPLv3 is designed to resist "TiVo-ization". But what does
"TiVo-ization" really mean?

Jonathan Zuck is the president of the Association for Competitive
Technology, a Microsoft front group.  In a recent C-Net editorial, he
wrote that "TiVo-ization" means "the merging of free and proprietary
software into a single system."  It does not. TiVo was far from the
first company to do this, as Zuck points out.  Red Hat, IBM, and many
other companies do this.

FSF's problem with TiVo is not that TiVo makes proprietary software,
or that that proprietary software runs on a free software operating
system.  Of course, FSF opposes all proprietary software, whether or
not it's mingled with free software -- but TiVo is far from unique in
that respect.  What TiVo has done differently is make it intentionally
difficult for users to improve the free software portions of their
system.  They use encryption and digital signatures to prevent
changes to any portion of the systems -- <b>even the GPL portions</b>.
Of course, many talented hackers have worked around these systems.
But it is not an easy task, and must be done every time TiVo upgrades
their system.

TiVo users want access to the free software components for all sorts
of reasons.  They want to install bigger hard drives.  They want to
access their shows via other devices (for instance, copy small
versions to portable video devices to take them on the road).  And
they want to build their own Personal Video Recorder software.  All of
these can be done without affecting TiVo's proprietary software at

"TiVo-ization" means building systems on top of free software that
restrict users's freedoms to modify that software itself.  Without the
ability to upgrade, the freedom to make modifications is useless.  And
that's one of the freedoms the GPL was always intended to protect.

** For other recent FSF writing about DRM and GPLv3, see:

  - Reaction to the DRM clause in GPLv3
    by David Turner

    "One common view among programmers is that the GPL should say
    nothing at all about DRM, because DRM is a technical problem, and
    can be solved by technical means...But even if it were acceptable
    to have DRM from which programmers could free themselves, that's
    not the DRM we have in 2006."


  - Free software without the freedom?
    by John Sullivan

    "John Carroll is correct in his article...that the GNU GPL is
    designed to uphold ideals. He is wrong about what those ideals
    are, and about what their relationship is to free software
    development models."


* GPLv3 commenting system debuts new features

In the new version of the GPLv3 commenting system made live today, the
discussion around DRM has people "seeing red". Not because they are
angry, but because the new system color-codes words in the draft text
based on how many comments each area of the text has received. (The
phrase "technological protection" in Section 3 is the current leader.)
You can now see at a glance where the most active discussions are

We've also implemented one of the most requested features --- you can
now click on text in the draft and see all of the comments that have
been made in reference to that text. Further improvements have also
been made in compatibility with the multitude of browsers in use.

We hope these changes will make it easier for you to participate, to
help draft the best license possible. Please leave your comments at

For those who prefer the "classic" view without the highlighting, you
can still <http://gplv3.fsf.org/comments/classic.html> instead.

* Calendar reminders

 - 2006 March 16: FOSS Means Business. Belfast, Northern
   Ireland. Richard Stallman will be speaking on GPLv3 as part of the
   event. See <http://foss-means-business.org>.
 - 2006 March 18: Torino, Italy. Richard Stallman will be speaking about GPLv3
   at a conference organized by FSF Europe. See

 - 2006 April 1: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Richard Stallman, Eben
   Moglen and the FSF staff and board members will be speaking at the
   FSF Associate Member Meeting on GPLv3. See

 - 2006 April 21 & 22: Porto Alegre, Brazil. The second international
   GPLv3 conference, during the 7th International Free Software Forum
   (which goes April 19th to 22nd). See

* Your support is needed

Please support the continuation of this process by making a donation
at <https://www.fsf.org/donate>, or by becoming an FSF associate
member at <http://member.fsf.org>. There are also still t-shirts and
hoodies with the GPLv3 logo available at
<http://www.gnu.org/gear/gplv3-tshirt.html>. Thanks!

Do you have suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered here?
Please send your questions or ideas to <webmaster at gplv3.fsf.org>.

John Sullivan, FSF
Program Administrator

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