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\documentclass[11pt,twoside]{book} \usepackage{helvetic}
\usepackage{fancyhdr} \renewcommand{\rmdefault}{phv} 


\pagestyle{fancy} \def\mytitle{ GPL3 Process Definition }

\fancyhf{} \fancyfoot[FC]{\thepage}



\author{Free Software Foundation\\Software Freedom Law Center\\}




\addcontentsline{toc}{chapter}{Introduction} The technologies of
Software development and deployment have changed dramatically since
1991 while the GNU General Public License (``the GPL'') has remained
unmodified, at version level 2.  This is extraordinary longevity for
any widely-employed legal instrument.  The durability of the GPL is
even more surprising when one takes into account the differences
between the free software community at the time of version 2's release
and the situation prevailing in 2005.

Today, the GPL is employed by tens of thousands of software projects
around the world and while the Free Software Foundation's body of GPL
licensed works is vital, it consists of no more than a tiny fraction
of them.  GPL'd software runs on or is embedded in devices ranging
from cellphones, PDAs, and home networking appliances to mainframes
and supercomputing clusters.  Independent software developers around
the world, as well as every large corporate IT buyer and seller, and a
surprisingly large number of individuals, interact with the GPL\@.
Moreover, free software transcends national boundaries.  The GPL's use
is global.

Richard M. Stallman, who founded the free software movement and who
was the author of the GNU GPL, released version 2 in 1991 after taking
legal advice and collecting developer's opinions concerning version 1
of the license, which had been in use since 1989.  Given that the Free
Software Foundation directly controlled the licensing of the GNU
project, which comprised the largest then-existing collection of
copylefted software assets, no public comment process and no
significant interim transition period seemed necessary.  The Free
Software Foundation immediately relicensed the components of the GNU
Project and in Finland Linus Torvalds adopted GPL Version 2 for his
operating system kernel, called Linux.

Many provisions of the GPL could benefit from modification to fit
today's circumstances and to reflect what we have learned from
experience with version 2.  Given the scale of revision it seems
proper to approach the work through public discussion in a transparent
and accessible manner.

\enlargethispage{20pt} The Free Software Foundation plans to decide
the contents of version 3 of the GPL through the fullest possible
discussion with the most diverse possible community of drafters and
users.  A major goal is to identify every issue affecting every user,
and to resolve those issues.

For these reasons, the process of GPL revision will be a time of
self-examination.  Consequently, the process of drafting and adopting
changes must be as close to ``best practices'' as possible, for both
lawyers and lay people.  Experience has thrown new light on the text
of the current GPL\@.  The utility of some provisions has altered over
time, while others need to increase their reach in order to protect
freedom in the new world of software.  Most of the issues caused by
this gradual development of the software world can be addressed with
minor changes in the text of the GPL\@.

People who use software, whether they receive copies on CD, or
interact with remote installations of the software, have the right to
share and improve that software.  (Clearly, many, perhaps most, will
not modify software; but they share it and desire fixes and
improvements.  This means they and others must have the right.)

While the GPL is the most popular Free Software License, followed by
the LGPL\@, a significant set of free software is licensed under other
terms which are not compatible with version 2 of the GPL\@.  Version 3
of the GPL will provide compatibility with more non-GPL free licenses.

Our primary concern remains, as it has been from the beginning, to
give users freedom that they can rely on.  As the community around
free software has grown larger the issues involved in this creation
and protection of freedom have grown more diverse and complex.
Therefore, we have consulted, formally and informally, a very broad
array of participants in the free software community, from industry,
the academy, and the garage.  Those conversations have occurred in
many countries and several languages, over almost two decades, as the
technology of software development and distribution changed around us.
We recognize that the best protection of freedom is a growing and
vital community of the free and we hope the spread of knowledge
inherent in public discussion of version 3 of the GPL drafts will
continue to support and nurture this community.

When a discussion draft of version 3 of the GPL is released, the pace
of the revision conversation will change, as a particular proposal
becomes the centerpiece.  The reversioning of the GPL is a crucial
moment in the evolution of the free software community; and the
Foundation intends to meet its responsibilities to the makers,
distributors, and users of free software.  In doing so, we hope to
hear all relevant points of view, and to make decisions that fit the
many circumstances that arise in the use and development of
GPL-covered software.

{\fancyhead[LO,RE]{\mytitle} \fancyhead[RO,LE]{Chapter \thechapter}



\chapter{Objectives} In drafting a new version of the GPL, the Free
Software Foundation have been guided by a few basic principles.  These
will inform the processes of discussing and promulgating the license
as described herein.  These principles and their impact on the
discussion process are listed below.

\section{A Global License} As a legal document, the GPL licenses
copyrighted material for modification and redistribution in every one
of the world's systems of copyright law.  Ours is an approach that
most legal drafters would do anything possible to avoid.  Publishers
in general do not use worldwide copyright licenses: they try to tailor
their licensing arrangements to local legal requirements for each
system in which their works are distributed.  Publishers rarely
license the redistribution of modified or derivative works.  When they
do, those licenses are tailored to the specific setting.

But free software requires legal arrangements that permit copyrighted
works to follow arbitrary trajectories, in both geographic and genetic
terms.  Indeed, modified versions of free software works are
distributed from hand to hand across borders in a pattern that no
copyright holder could or should be permitted to trace.

GPL version 2 performed the task of globalization relatively well,
because its design was elegantly limited to a minimum set of copyright
requirements.  Every signatory to the Berne Convention---which means
most countries in the world---must offer those principles in their
national legislation, in one form or another.  But GPL version 2 was
constructed only with attention to the details of US law.  To the
extent possible, without any fundamental changes, version 3 of the GPL
should reduce the difficulties of internationalization.  Version 3
should more fully approximate the otherwise unsought ideal of the
global copyright license.

\section{Protection of Existing Freedoms} Our cardinal principle is to
make no change impeding any of the four basic freedoms for software
users that the free software movement enshrined in GPL version 2: to
run, study, copy, modify and redistribute software.  (It goes without
saying that people have the freedom to run a program under the GPL\@.)
These freedoms are as important in version 3 of the GPL as they were
in version 2.  Honoring the commitment stated in earlier versions of
the license, we will preserve these basic rights.

We have judged all changes proposed since the adoption of GPL version
2 against those yardsticks and we will present, in the rationale
documents described in section \ref{Rationales}, reasons tying our
changes to those fundamental freedoms.  Parties who question changes
should recognize when writing their comments that these freedoms
remain the cornerstone of the license.  We will evaluate all proposed
changes with reference to them.

\section{Do No Harm} Unintended consequences can imperil freedom.  In
approaching GPL version 3 we recognize the enormous expansion in the
use of free software since 1991, as well as the many modes of use and
distribution that have been invented since.  These make the risks of
unintended consequences much more severe than when the GPL was last

A large part of the value of the public discussion and issue
development described in this document is the identification of
unintended consequences worldwide.  This is vital to ensuring that
version 3 of the GPL is a global license that works as intended in all
major legal systems.

Our revision process is intended to make an exhaustive analysis of
each considered change in order to explore as much as possible, in as
many situations as possible, with as many users and distributors as

\section{Consulting the Community} In short, the essence of the
drafting process here described is to make it possible for the Free
Software Foundation to decide the contents of the GPL through the
fullest possible discussion with the most diverse possible community
of drafters and users.  Ideally, we would identify every issue
affecting every user of the license and resolve these issues with a
full consideration of their risks and benefits.  In order to
accomplish such a large task, the discussion process involves
individual community members and Discussion Committees that represent
different types of users and distributors.

Each proposed change and the resolution of each issue needs the
fullest description of risks and benefits, as laid out in section

The Discussion Committees, as described in section
\ref{DiscussionCommittees}, will serve as important centralized points
among the different types of user.  Among other actions, their role
will be to identify issues from the large body of user experience and
develop those issues for full presentation and resolution by the Free
Software Foundation.

\chapter{Process} Periodic releases of the current draft will take
place as the license-drafting process progresses.  Each draft will
represent the most current proposed changes to the GPL\@.  This will
take into account all resolved issues, see \ref{issueresolution}, as
well as discussions.  We plan to release at least two drafts for
public comment.  As with all materials and announcements during the
discussion process, these drafts will be available from

\section{Initial Draft Announcement} The first Discussion Draft of
version 3 of the GPL will be released at the the first International
Public Conference, January 16-17, 2006, at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, see Appendix \ref{schedule}. To accompany the first
discussion draft, we will also release a Rationale Document explaining
the reasons behind each change in an effort to clarify the nature and
necessity of such changes.  Similar Rationale documents will accompany
each subsequent Discussion Draft of the license as it is released, see

\section{Publication of Revised Drafts} At least two discussion drafts
of GPL version 3 will be released for public comment.  Publication of
the second discussion draft will occur after four or five months of
discussion, issue identification, and resolution.  A third discussion
draft may be produced in approximately October 2006, see Appendix
\ref{schedule}, after a second or subsequent iterative process of
comment, issue identification, etc.  One of these will be the ``last
call'' draft, according to conditions outlined in section

\section{Draft Discussion} All consultation with parties outside the
Free Software Foundation and the Software Freedom Law Center
concerning each discussion draft will be a matter of publicly
accessible record available from \url{}.  Written
deliberations from the Discussion Committees will also be available at
\url{}; sound and video recordings of live events and
deliberation may become available at a later time.  We expect to
develop this license through public discussion in a transparent and
accessible manner.  To that end every effort will be made to make
public all documents pertaining to the process.

The GPL revision comment process is a matter of information sharing.
Below, in sections \ref{DiscussionCommittees} and \ref{Feedback}, we
lay out ways that the community as a whole will tell version 3
drafters of issues with the current license.  They will speak of ways
to increase the positive impact of the license on the world.  The
Rationale Documents, outlined in section \ref{Rationales}, and the
process for Issue Resolution, section \ref{issueresolution}, are
designed so that, in turn, the drafters at FSF can directly address
the community and present the reasoning behind changes.

\section{Last Call Draft}\label{lastcall} Either the second or third
discussion draft will be designated the ``last call'' draft.  This
draft will begin a final period of public comment lasting at least 45
days, ending no later than January 15th, 2007.  The second discussion
draft may be designated the last call draft without further process if
there are no major unresolved issues after full discussion of the
initial draft.

\section{Promulgation} No later than March 2007, and preferably on
January 15, 2007, at the conclusion of the last call process, with all
issues resolved, the Free Software Foundation will formally adopt
version 3 of the GNU General Public License.  At that time, the Free
Software Foundation will relicense under GPL version 3 or later all
parts of the GNU Project for which the Free Software Foundation is the
copyright holder. All parties with authority to relicense programs
whose current license terms are ``GPL version 2 only'' will then be in
a position to decide whether to relicense their code.  The Free
Software Foundation hopes that Discussion Committee members will
encourage the relicensing of such works, which is at the discretion of
the relevant copyright holders.

\section{Rationales}\label{Rationales} To make the commentary process
easier and to keep the license-drafting process open, each successive
draft of the GPL version 3 will be accompanied by a Rationale
Document.  This document will explain all planned changes in light of
the purposes of the license and the freedoms it protects.  It will
also summarize the public commentary and response relevant to any
changed portions of the license.  In this, the Rationale Documents
will complement the opinion papers issued by the Free Software
Foundation regarding resolution of individual issues as identified by
the Discussion Committees, see section \ref{issueresolution}.
Rationale Documents will be available through the website

\section{Outreach} Transparency does not guarantee widespread
distribution; we need to work for that.  Much of our effort will
therefore be invested in publication and outreach.  All information
submitted by the public through the revision process will be passed on
to the drafters, whether by direct comment submission, Discussion
Committee analysis, or transcript of International Conference
meetings, and all of it will remain available to the public at

Community members who share their experiences with the drafters are
encouraged to share them with the rest of the community.  People with
knowledge of the GPL and the free software movement can educate their
fellow community members, as well as people with no previous knowledge
of free software.  In an effort to extend the process to the greatest
possible number of settings, a team of editors from the FSF will help
develop comprehensive issue guides and introductions.

The process of revising the GPL is an opportunity for the community
that cares about freedom to educate the rest of the societies they
live in.  Everyone concerned with the GPL will be asked to examine the
license in detail and articulate its impact and possible ways for it
to better protect their and others' freedoms.  For successful drafting
and spread of version 3 of the GPL, this commentary must not only
educate the drafters but also the community and public at large.

\chapter{Discussion Committees}\label{DiscussionCommittees} Dealing
with what will probably be extensive public comments is the task of
the Discussion Committees, which must structure the flow of comments
into issues that can be productively analyzed and whose proposed
solutions can be debated.  Their work in discovering, developing, and
presenting issues is the heart of the version 3 public discussion

\section{Composition} Most issues for GPLv3 are global.  Therefore we
plan to form committees including all categories of relationship to the
GPL itself, rather than adopting a regional formation.  Thus, elements
of the larger GPL community around which Discussion Committees will be
formed will include large and small enterprises, both public and
private; vendors, commercial and noncommercial redistributors;
development projects that use the GPL as a license for their programs;
development projects that use other free software licenses, but are
invested in the contents of the GPL; and unaffiliated individual
developers and people who use software.

Coincident with the publication of this document, the Free Software
Foundation will issue invitations to participate in Discussion
Committees.  These invitations will form nuclei of people.  We hope
that our invitations will result in Committees that reflect the full
breadth of opinion within those sections of the community they
functionally represent.  But we expect that the Committees themselves
will choose to invite additional participants---people whose
commitment to the license is undoubted---to add the weights of their
opinions to the deliberations.  Such invitations, issued after the
invitation of the process, shall be by majority vote of each Committee
as already constituted.

\section{Process Commitments} The Committees and their chairs should
actively encourage public participation from the sectors of the public
they represent.

In addition, Committees are responsible for developing all the
opinions and analysis concerning issues they identify from the stream
of commentary.  As each Committee feels that an issue has been fully
discussed among its members, it will be expected to present to the
Free Software Foundation its deliberation and analysis of the issue as
well as a summary of the public comment that informed its position.
Where technically feasible, both the deliberations of the Discussion
Committees and the arguments and analysis that they present to the
Free Software Foundation will be published at \url{}.

At the conclusion of the public discussion process, we hope to ask
members of the Discussion Committees to assist the Free Software
Foundation in promulgating the new license; that is, to work with the
knowledge gained from their central position within the discussion and
revision process to advocate the relicensing of existing GPL programs
under version 3 of the GPL\@.

\section{Organizational Structure} Discussion Committees should be
free to choose their own working structure.  The Free Software
Foundation will provide a template working structure for each

Discussion Committees should operate largely through network-based
communication, voice and data, synchronously and asynchronously.  They
will organize themselves through regular meetings and web-based
interactions, encourage public comment and participation, identify and
discuss issues, and present those issues and all relevant argument to
the Free Software Foundation for ultimate resolution.

\chapter{Issue Management and Resolution} From the Foundation's point
of view, the revision process is characterized by the presentation and
closure of issues revealed in draft discussions.

\section{Forming Issues}\label{Feedback} The purpose of this public
discussion process is to encourage information about the GPL and its
role in the expansion and protection of software freedom.  This
purpose is empty without public commentary.  In order to make the most
well-informed changes possible to the GPL, we seek commentary from a
wide selection of the public.  Comments and suggestions are encouraged
at \url{} as well as in person at any of our
International Conferences, see Appendix \ref{schedule}.

After someone has made a comment, either directly to
\url{} or in a discussion at an International
Conference, a number of steps will be taken to associate that comment
with one or more currently known issues.  While comments are the
substance of the feedback process, issues are the containers through
which they will move.

If the comment or suggestion presents a problem not already identified
as an issue, it will be forwarded to the appropriate Discussion
Committee where it will join other comments in the identification of a
new issue.

For each comment to \url{}, this process has three
steps.  First, when making the comment the commentator can specify
what portion of the license or issue about the license their comment
addresses.  Once submitted, the comment will be read by an associate
member of the Free Software Foundation who will direct it to the
appropriate Discussion Committee either for issue identification, if
no preexisting issues matches with the comment, or to inform the
discussion of the particular issue it addresses.

After making a comment at \url{}, the person involved
will be given a comment-identifying number that he or she can use to
see towards what issue and Discussion Committee the comment was
directed, as well as other comments on the issue and the documents
relevant to its discussion (transcripts; Discussion Committee
analysis, see \ref{DiscussionCommittees}; Draft Rationale documents,
see \ref{Rationales}; FSF Opinion documents, see
\ref{issueresolution}, etc.).

\section{Issue Resolution}\label{issueresolution} Each issue
identified in the course of public participation can be resolved in
one of four ways: by modification of the license draft, by alteration
of descriptive material, by advice concerning the use of the license,
or an issue may not require any change.  Discussion Committees will
characterize issues as Major or Minor.  Major issues will be placed on
the agenda of all other Discussion Committees and, until resolved, may
be placed on the agenda for successive International meetings.  All
issues unresolved at the end of each drafting stage will be carried
over for discussion and resolution during the next discussion stage.
All issues not resolved before the issuance of the last discussion
draft will be finally determined by the Free Software Foundation at
the close of the last call period.  All Major issues resolved by the
Foundation will be described by a written opinion, publicly available,
at \url{}.

\chapter{Other Concerns}

\section{LGPL} The Free Software Foundation may present drafts of LGPL
along with drafts of GPL subsequent to the first discussion draft of
GPLv3.  Such drafts would also be subject to public comment and issue

\section{Support of the Revision Process} The revision process is
financially supported by donors to the Free Software Foundation, the
Free Software Foundation's associate members, and a grant from
Stichting NLnet.  Logistical, legal, and technical support for this
process is also provided by the Software Freedom Law Center, acting as
the Free Software Foundation's outside counsel.  The SFLC is supported
by a variety of donors including vendors and those who use free

Aside from resources contributed by the Free Software Foundation and
the Software Freedom Law Center, this process will be supported, only
to the extent of logistical provision for International Meetings, by
industry organizations hosting the events.  Outside logistical support
is accepted only in order to ensure that participants around the world
will have the maximum possible level of access to the discussion
process of version 3 of the GPL\@.  All participants in the discussion
process can therefore be assured of equal treatment for their
interests and concerns.

\section{Public Statements} During this process the Free Software
Foundation will make public statements concerning the process,
deadlines, issues, comments, and drafts.  Such public statements will
be made through announcements at \url{}, and by
messages to mailing lists to which parties can subscribe.  The Free
Software Foundation and SFLC will not hold confidential communications
with others concerning version 3 of the GPL\@.  Public commentary on
these announcements, as with all comments relating to the GPL version
3 discussion process, should be routed through the GPL comment system
described in section \ref{Feedback}.  Interested members of the Press
should see \ref{PressContact} below.

\section{Press Contact}\label{PressContact} Press contacts may occur
and statements may be issued to the press through the Free Software
Foundation and the Software Freedom Law Center.  All such statements
will be published at \url{} or referenced there.
Press interested in covering this process should follow the contact
information available at the website or write to


\chapter{Schedule}\label{schedule} \begin{enumerate} \item 16-17
January 2006: \hfill Initial Conference; release of first public draft
\item June 2006: \hfill Second discussion draft \item September 2006:
\hfill Earliest possible release date of GPL3 \item October 2006:
\hfill Possible third discussion draft \item March 2007: \hfill Latest
possible release date of GPL3 \end{enumerate}

\vfill {\noindent \small \sffamily \copyright Free Software
  Foundation, Inc., 2005.  Verbatim copying and distribution of this
  entire document is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is


by johns last modified 2006-01-15 12:06

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