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I just noticed some vandalism by user julli9. He edited a number of pages in the Test Cases tree, replacing the content with spam links on July 4th. Maybe you guys could write a script to revert all of his changes?

For example:

There seem to be a bunch more.


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)
Affero GPL 1.0 is not compatible with GPLv3-draft-2. In [1], RMS said: "The idea is to make GPL version three compatible with a modified version of the Affero licence. They will modify the Affero licence and thus cause all these things to be compatible."
PHP license 3.01 requires, that derived works don't contain "PHP" in their name. This contradicts with the last paragraph of section 7.b of GPLv3-draft-2, and makes PHP license 3.01 incompatible with GPLv3-draft-2.
--Larhzu 15:11, 5 October 2006 (EDT)
The best place to collect this information is on the Compatible licenses page. ciaran 21:04, 5 October 2006 (EDT)
I wrote some notes to the talk page. Hopefully someone can verify my thoughts, and update the actual article accordingly. Thank you. --Larhzu 07:22, 6 October 2006 (EDT)

Server side applications

New server side applications with a remote, mostly web interface are now appearing day after day and their number is bound to grow steadily over time. However, GPLv3 seems to neglect this. The only related clause is 7d) and it looks like added only to make GPLv3 compatible with the Affero GPL.

Worse still, a requirement to "contain functioning factilities" to allow users to get source might be impossible to meet (for example in general purpose libraries or embedded devices' hardware) - so it'd make some formally GPLv3 compatible software unusable to other GPLv3 projects.

To make things even worse, since general purpose libraries cannot include such an Affero-like clause for the above reasons, they may be used *without limitation* in defacto proprietary software that runs on the server side (yes, it's GPL, but since you're not receiving any object code, you have no right to request the source.)

I think it should be solved by extending the rights given by the GPL to all users of the free software, not only to those people that happen to get some executable - and this should be the main change from GPLv2 to v3.

Thank you for your suggestions. I encourage you to please submit them to the comment system, where they can be reviewed by discussion committees and handled appropriately. --brett 10:35, 29 January 2006 (EST)

In fact, section 2 seems to almost explicitly allow such "defacto proprietary" software with "Propagation of covered works is permitted without limitation provided it does not enable parties other than you to make or receive copies." unless their specific license contains an Affero-like clause. --jsz 21:45, 22 February 2006 (CET)

I agree with this section -- attention must be paid to this issue, and it will only continue to grow in importance with time. It's good that the gplv3 provides support for developers to add their own Affero-like clauses.

However, I think it would be even better if the FSF were to produce a standard-GPL-with-Affero-style-clause that prohibited deploying a server running the licensed software without also making the source available. Even if all that was done was rename the Affero license to "Server-Side GPL", it would provide a common reference point, and prevent an inevitable soup of subtly-differing clauses all attempting to do the same thing. It would be awful if there was a profusion of open source web applications, each of which ostensibly was gplv3 but also had its own clauses that needed to be examined individually. The FSF needs to provide leadership on how to keep software free in a world of server-side applications. --breath 19:32, 28 February 2006 (EST)

An "Affero-like" clause which "prohibited deploying a server running the licensed software without also making the source available", but which managed to function correctly in the test case Non-interactive Program with Affero clause, would be a good thing to produce, especially since I haven't seen one in any license yet. --User:neroden April 1, 2006

I think that any non-private form of propagation should enable the party that the GPL3 licensed work is propagated to, to receive all rights provided by the license. --jsz, May 19

Test Cases

I just added the link to Test_Cases back to the front page. Brett removed it earlier, and I added comments to the talk page explaining why I think it should be kept. I put the link back on this page in order to ping the people in charge, so we can talk about it.

--stefie10 11:43, 30 January 2006 (EST)

A place for external links? (updated)

Hi, ciaran o'riordan here. I've made:

Should this wiki have a place for collecting links to such documents - which are about GPLv3 promotion and explanation, not about the GPLv3 itself - or is there a "no external links" policy or what? Thanks to anyone who can clear this up. ciaran 15:17, 10 February 2006 (EST)

Ok, I've made a page for these: Reusable texts. Comments? ciaran 11:02, 13 February 2006 (EST)

That's good, Ciaran. I may want to transfer some of these links away from the wiki to the section, if that's alright with you. I'm thinking in particular the transcript. What do you think? --johns 16:58, 24 February 2006 (EST)

Linking to the transcript from makes sense, and I'd be happy if FSF did. I think it would still be good though to leave a link to the transcript on the wiki. It shows an example of what sort of materials people can make and/or link to. ciaran 21:45, 28 February 2006 (EST)

Ok, I can agree that it serves some purpose by staying on the wiki as well. --johns 17:24, 1 March 2006 (EST)

rethinking the front page

The front page does not do a good job of leading people to the active areas of the wiki, so I will try to reorganise a bit. I have no attachment to any new layout, so feel free to revert or rereorganise, etc. ciaran 08:18, 12 April 2006 (EDT)

Marking up the draft

In the draft, as it is displayed on the site, some sections are marked with square brackets. Someone who has already studied the draft knows that in one case the square brackets denote where the equivalent text existed in GPLv2. And in another case to denote that the "Geographic Locations" section is slated for removal. Would it be possible to explain somewhere what this markup means? Doing it might help people understand the license better, especially so that they will not think that the square brackets are somehow a part of the proposed license.

"Opinion on ..." documents?

The "GPLv3 Second Discussion Draft Rationale" says "See Opinion on Denationalization of Terminology" and "See Opinion on Digital Restrictions Management". Are these opinions available? I cannot find them by searching,, or google.mlinksva 19:10, 27 July 2006 (EDT)

My guess is that they're either Software Freedom Law Center opinions or sections within the first rationale document. Unfortunately, the links to the original rationale document are nowhere to be found. Here's an old link, [2]. If they are opinions, I'm sure they're forthcoming from the SFLC[3]. I guess this is the benefit of the free software movement having a law firm.  ;) --ashawley 21:27, 30 July 2006 (EDT)

The opinion letters will be published shortly. Also, there is a link to the old rationale document as well as to the old draft on the Guide page. Links to the opinion letters will be apparent from there too once they are published. --johns 15:26, 1 August 2006 (EDT)

I see they're now published at mlinksva 17:36, 3 August 2006 (EDT)

mediawiki diff of GPLv3 draft

A few people have suggested changes/improvements to the javascript based comment page. Personally, I find that interface hard to use. I think it would be easier to use the mediawiki diff to view them. jcarr 23:08, 4 August 2006 (EDT)

rational 1st draft

This is still an important document imo, but it is not linked to from the front page.

The old is here:

Further all ToC links are still pointing to the old URL which now opens a pdf.

If this is superseded, please point to the equivalent of the 2nd draft. Thanks!


I've noticed that there is no sandbox. It might be usefull for people (like me) unfamiliar with mediawiki. No need for complex scripts to reset it, maybe just a page. Though, it might put garbage in the full text search results. Would it bother someone if I (or someone else) create a page for this purpose?

--morelp 09:16, 18 August 2006 (EDT)

GFDL timeline? consultees?

Is there a timeline for the GFDL or GSFDL? Or any details about the comment process, or discussion committees etc? ciaran 10:01, 11 October 2006 (EDT)

new page: "News articles"

I've made a new page to collect links to all the news article we find about GPLv3. This is useful when you need to quote or check something, or just to review the state of public discussion to see what needs clarifying etc. ciaran 06:02, 16 October 2006 (EDT)

Who really is the YOU in the GPL?

I was taken by surprise on a popular mailing list by a few individuals who believed the GPL is a distribution-only license and didn't apply to end users. They went further to advocating building GPL software with proprietary or any other kind, as though it has no copyright at all - zero, none. Much of the discussion was about how to personally or privately assimulate GPL (not LGPL) into proprietary software. I believe this violates the copyright fair use clause.

After thinking about the reason, I realised the whole GPL viewpoint is from software developers. This makes sense because the whole FSF and GNU is author/developer orientated. But typical J. User isn't a developer and can't identify with the you defined there.

I have no problem with the content, but rather its viewpoint, layout, and presentation.


While the license does provide the four freedoms, it does so from the developer/conveyor viewpoint, rather than an end-user with a license to develop and convey. By shifting the license's viewpoint from the author's perspective to the user's, readers can identify it as a general public license and its fair use.

Achieving a shift in viewpoint requires a different layout and presentation.


The layout reflects the ideas contained in the four freedoms. The root node introduces the four freedoms and subsequent nodes conceptually expand on them. This serves two purposes: enable the reader to study the license by building on already introduced ideas, and, create a well-defined mental structure, where the ideas flow from broad and genral to narrow and specific. Finally, this will identify logical weaknesses that may have legal consequences.

One aspect that does disturb me, is getting caught in a virus vs anti-virus endless spiral. Including specific limitations, such as DRM, is begging anti-free parties to formulate counter measures - which they will do. As each side become more familiar with this area, the rate of change will increase, and new GPL releases will start appearing every three months with ever increasing complexity.

I believe focusing on identifying the freedoms is a more robust approach because it is self-referencing and independent from external forces. Rather use anti-free data to identify infringing practices, not the GPL.


While the GPL is an important legal document, it can be compelling reading. It should grab the reader's attention and keep it all the way through to the end. It should create excitement. It should be personal. It should make you the hero. It should create and foster loyalty to Free Software. The language used could be more simple and direct without weakening its legal power.

Put YOU back into the GPL

Developers are sold on the GPL and certainly identify well with it. Perhaps it is time for the general public get sold on the GPL and advocate it?

Language is opaque

I apologize for coming late into this discussion.

As a non-lawyer, I could read and understand every word of v2. I can't say that about v3! I couldn't even make it through section 0; as a programmer, I think I know what a "system library" is, but I couldn't understand this definition. But that's just an example; I don't understand any of the new stuff.

And I have to apologize again for the fact that I can't even point to specific reasons. My eyes just glaze over as I read this license. It seems clear to me that someone must have put a huge effort into making v2 comprehensible to non-lawyers.