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Removed comment about broken word wrap, because it's fixed now. It wasn't broken, it was just plain text, so the lines broke at different places with different font sizes.
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:An initial list is already available on [[Howto#Which licenses are compatible with GPLv3]]. If this is problematic, we can consider moving it. --[[User:brett|brett]] 17:43, 19 January 2006 (EST) :An initial list is already available on [[Howto#Which licenses are compatible with GPLv3]]. If this is problematic, we can consider moving it. --[[User:brett|brett]] 17:43, 19 January 2006 (EST)
-== Broken word wrap == 
-It is very hard to read because the word warp is seriously broken: 
- Copyright (C) 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 
- 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 
- USA 
- Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim 
- copies 
- of this license document, but changing it is not 
- allowed. 

Revision as of 21:08, 24 January 2006


Who wrote the process definition

Hello everyone,

I allow myself to cite the document

Title: GPLv3 Process Definition URL: [1]

from section "Introduction", fourth paragraph as follows:

Given the scale of revision it seems proper to approach the work through public discussion in a transparent and accessible manner.

I agree. So I start with a question: who wrote that document? I would have asked "johns" directly but the feedback form is broken.


Regards, Tilman Kranz.

I didn't write the document, I just posted it on the site. The document was written by Eben Moglen and Richard Stallman. (By the way, which feedback form was broken?)


Thank you for the clarification on "who is making the rules", I am perfectly satisfied. I have production code out there that will be covered by this and I went GPL explicitly for avoiding lack of transparency so please understand if I am very "picky" on that subject.

About the error: the feedback for user johns renders me a mailserver error: the recipient was not found in the database. -- Tilman

For whom it is written?

Sorry to say but my short conclusio is: This draft sucks. Not because its purpose, intention or content is bad, but the language sucks. One of the main reasons why GPLv2 was so successfull is, because its a legal and social contract (or licence agreement or how ever you call) between two programmers, where programmer A says to programmer B you can use my stuff under this certain conditions (which are clearly described and are quite simple understandable).

But this draft is full of legal wording no programmer would ever use (what is an 'object code interpreter' supposed to be?) and full of weasel wordings like " This includes copying ... and in some countries other activities as well.".

Sorry, but if GPLv3 wants to be successfull it first an foremost has to be a clear and easy to understandable social contract between programmers with only limited or intermediate english language skills, which can uphold in court if necessary. But turning the GPL into an EULA, nobody reads, nobody (except some US lawyers) understands and nobody feels emotional and personal attached to it will simple ruin it.

So please use words like Source Code, Binaries, Compiler, Libraries,.. where every programmer know what they are and define them in a legally correct way instead of invention new wording like 'object code' and thrash everything that says 'this may be different in a different country'. The GPL is supposed to define how a world wide free software community is supposed to work together, not to be like a M$ EULA that say:"you have no rights, but if you happen do be in Germany you don't have rights too, but in a somewhat different form".

-- Andreas

We recognize that the new language in the draft of GPLv3 have generally made the license more complicated. In general, we would like to see the language simplified. However, we have not yet found a way to make those simplifications without sacrificing our goals for the license, and ensuring that it protects freedom. This is discussed in the rationale document. If you have specific suggestions for how to simplify some of the language, I encourage you to make them on the comment system.
Of course, FSF will make materials available to help people better understand the license, and provide licensing advice to free software developers.
--brett 12:25, 17 January 2006 (EST)
The words "library", "executable" etc. implicitly vary over the site, an "executable" is maybe only executable on PPC or an executable JAR file (i.e. depending on the site configuration). "Object code" tries to address that by implying that "object code" is binaryly encoded "object", something "final", something, the user "encounters". If you ask me, it remains a difficult issue no matter what wording is used because any notion of "library", "executable", "object" or whatever vary over the real-world sites a software is distributed to and those sites constantly change (while the license does not).
--tilt Mi Jan 18 00:37:45 CET 2006
P.S.: for those of you that read the history ... yes, this reply is really by me, tilt ;-) Must get used to using a wiki again, many apologies.
The license draft itself only talks about source code and object code. Both of these terms are defined in section 1. If you believe these terms or their definitions can be improved, I encourage you to submit a comment. The license terms do not use other words like "library" to refer to particular kinds of works.
The Wiki, along with other GPLv3-related documents, uses these colloquial terms to make distinctions that help illustrate particular use cases. For example, when making a decision about how to license a work, library authors may have special considerations, as our FAQ discusses. If you see uses which are unclear, please make a comment on the appropriate talk page, or edit the page appropriately.
--brett 17:40, 19 January 2006 (EST)

resolving old international incompatibilities

I see little things inthe revized draft that addresses the main old incompatibilities that have always existed in the GPLv1 and GPLv2 regarding national copyrights andauthors rights laws.

For example in France, a licence agreement has to cover at least several legal domains, that the GPL does not address or addresses so weakly thatitmay not be enforcable:

  • copyright
  • author's right
  • legality of contract (this includes requirement on language used in the contract between two nationals, and the legal requirement to provide at least an honnest translation, even if the legal terms remain interpreted in a court using the English original)
  • designation of court (how can we specify it with the GPL?)
  • unlimited denial of responsability (it has always been completely illegal in France, because it restricts too much the legal rights of end-users and consumers, which can claim compensation in the case of damages). There should exist a reasonable clause that limits the compensation paid by the distributor to the cost of replacement of the support containing the software, or such clause may be added (with a geographical limitation if needed)
  • duration of the obligations for distributors (how long is the written offer valid? How can an author legally transfer its obligations to a known third party acting on behalf of him? What if the author dies?)

These issues have been the reason why the CeCILL licence was developed (as a dual-licencing scheme which includes the GPL with which it is compatible) (, notably because it simplifies the legal procedures in France, as there's at least one legally enforcable text in French (as well as in English), the choice between the texts to defend being left to the attacker or the defendant, or to the court that has to make a decision.

I note that the GPLv3 attempts to restrict the dual-licencing schemes in a way not permittedby other licences. If a software is covered by two licences, the redistributor may choose to republish/propagate the work under the GPL, but this should not restrict the end-users to reapply the original two licences. For this reason, the original copyright notice that specifies the two licences may not be modified (according to the GPL) so distributors must also guarantee that the recipients will receive the two verbatim copies (notably when the alternate licences contain more friendly terms, such as a translation).

So I would suggest that a translated GPL could be part of a dual-licencing scheme (even if the OSFdoesnot publishes it itself). And to avoid the proliferation of translations (needed legally in some countries), that the FSF reviews such translationsseeking advice in countries where such translated text is needed.

Also there are attempts to make the GPL void at the WIPO, and then not protected legally in some countries that are now binding their laws to international agreements at WIPO and similar organizations. I think that the GPL should be officially registered and protected at WIPO to get equal legal protection, otherwise free-source authors will loose too easily face to a court due to absence of a legal contract (or worse, could be sued for providing an illegal contract).


  • This wiki is unusable in IE due to bad very incompatible CSS design for the top and left navigation bars.
  • Also there's a bug in the Javascript of this site (on load contains anuncommented call to the javascript function "dump(...)" but the (empty) function definition is commented out and left undefined (this causes the "comments" page to be inaccessible).

(user:verdy_p at 08:49, 17 January 2006 (EST)

I will take a look at the CSS, I know that I made some hasty changes, and I did not test in IE. The pages do validate, except for one error in the css which has to do with media. After the conference is over, I will clean up the CSS and do things the right way. Whether or not this works in IE, I won't know, since we do not use proprietary software.
Your comments are valuable, but they are in the vein of what should go directly into the commenting system, rather than here, where we are trying to develop descriptive documents to help people think how the license might be used and understood when finalized. Can you move your comments there? Except for the factual information about copyright law in France, which would fit well on the Copyright law page.
--johns 14:46 EST 17 Jan 2006

Discussion Draft Views

This page is the designated catch-all for random questions -- and there's no place that I can easily find for general questions and comments about the process, rather than about the draft.

I think it would be very helpful to the users not only to have a discussion draft online, and a comment-annotated draft, both of which are there, but perhaps a diff-style view between GPLv2 and the current draft of GPLv3. This would allow people to easily browse and see what the differences are.

The rationale document serves much of this purpose. It explains what changes have been made, and why they have been put in place. An unofficial, more traditional diff is also available. --brett 14:25, 17 January 2006 (EST)

Newly compatible licences

There should be a list of licences that will be compatible with the GPLv3 (as of the currrent draft) that were not compatible with the GPLv2. As this is a MAJOR change to the GPL, an enumeration of these licences would be very helpful. It would also allow us to find cases were a licence tat was almost certainly intended to become compatible actually did not, and give the FSF an oppertunity to correct this. 15:46, 19 January 2006 (EST)

Agreed, anyone should feel free to create this section. They could start with the information that Eben gave in his presentation at the opening of the conference. I'll get to making the section in the next couple of days if nobody else does, but anyone with the time should go ahead and do it now. We had planned on having a compatibility list here from the beginning but didn't make a placeholder for it. User:johns

An initial list is already available on Howto#Which licenses are compatible with GPLv3. If this is problematic, we can consider moving it. --brett 17:43, 19 January 2006 (EST)