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Better-than-expected Welcome to the New GPL (Updated)

Posted in FSF, GPL, Law at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As hoped (dare one say expected), GPLv3 appears to be getting a warm welcome. Here are a few articles which you might find informative.

GPLv3 Emerges After Long Debate, Opposition Muted

“The Free Software Foundation listened to people outside its normal support base. The GPL 3 is better than the GPL 2,” said Mark Radcliffe, an intellectual property attorney with DLA Piper’s Silicon Valley office, during the Linux Foundation Summit.

GPLv3 author: Business needs free software

Free Software Foundation (FSF) leader Richard Stallman said at the launch of the group’s new version 3 of the General Public License (GPLv3) that businesses are “foolish” not to adopt nonproprietary technologies as he contends that the continued use of paid products limits companies’ innovation and weakens security of their IT operations.


For example, he said that Microsoft’s process of removing support for various computing devices and applications in its products forces businesses into a never-ending cycle of “forced upgrades,” a system he said should be made illegal.

In another sense, onboard functions like Vista’s remote software upgrade feature allow Microsoft to essentially take control and manipulate end-users’ computers whenever they feel like it.

Stallman Urges Users to Upgrade to GPLv3

Overall, MontaVista which develops Linux for the embedded market, isn’t worried about the GPL version 3.


“Our customers are used to working with licenses that are much more restrictive than the GPL,” Wacha said. “In my opinion, typical proprietary licenses are much more restrictive in pretty much all instances than the GPL.”

iPhone restricts users, GPLv3 frees them

Now, from China to India, from Venezuela to Brazil, from Tivos to cell phones: Free software is everywhere and it is slowly building a worldwide movement of users demanding that they have control over the computers and electronic devices they own.

In the following four-part series, a popular law student helps in clarifying frequently-miscomprehended clauses and consequences of GPLv3:

Update: Good news! The almighty Creative Commons supports GPLv3 as well.

GPLv3 & iPhone – Looking Beyond the Disinformation (Corrected)

Posted in Apple, FSF, GPL, Hardware, Tivoization at 1:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It sure is pretty, but look underneath the surface.

Let’s start by clarifying that I don’t have anything against Apple. In fact, I used a Mac for over year at work. There is, however, a hidden similarity between some aspects of Windows Vista and the iPhone. Both are attractive to one’s eyes, but there are hidden dangers (and possibly agendas) which are being centralised and then embedded in that very rigid product.

Due to simultaneous big announcements, followed by release of the iPhone and GPLv3, some sites are talking about GPL’s effect on the iPhone. Some articles seem very critical, but not rightfully so. Various bits of software on the iPhone, such as KHTML, are GPLLGPL-licensed, but this does not mean that companies will get ‘punished’ immediately, if at all. Some articles embrace and use dramatic licence to make issues seem greater than they truly are.

Apple will not be affected. It might, however, need to honour the code that it uses. KDE [*libraries* are] is still GPLv2LGPL-licensed [see correction in the comments below]. So, let’s look beyond this. The iPhone does not even have an SDK. Development for the iPhone is restricted to Web browser widgets. The bigger issues are moral ones and are not to be confused with licensing. The press seems to be missing this core point.

Last night, the FSF sent out an E-mail calling the iPhone “Defective by Design”. That is the tagline and label consistently used to describe products that make use of DRM and restrict (or altogether eliminate) consumer rights. There are other modern and sophisticated smartphones that neither mimic nor replace the iPhone, but they are truly open and they earned some positive early reviews. Trolltech’s Greenphone and OpenMoko are just two examples, but let’s not get promotional here.

The message to take here is that it’s rather ironic that GPLv3 is released at the same time as a product whose deficiencies might be highlighted by the big announcements (not to mention heated discussions that accompany and follow the FSF’s limelight). A few days ago, amid some excellent news for Linux, Richard Stallman reminded us why restrictions are dangerous. You are encouraged to read this if you haven’t.

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