My concerns about GPLv3 process

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Tue Jan 17 21:50:40 UTC 2006

Hi Francesco,

let me give you my personal view on the issue:

On Sat, Dec 10, 2005 at 06:19:48PM +0100, Francesco Poli wrote:
> I share many of MJ Ray's concerns about the design of the GPLv3
> development process.
> I fear the process will not take into account all the issues that will
> be brought to the FSF's attention. The process leaders could neglect
> (even in good faith) the issues that they feel as unimportant or minor,
> while concentrating on some others only.

yes, it is true , the last call will be made by Richard.
However I do not consider this a disadvantage
as Richard is known to accept any substantial argument
based on the argument alone. 
He is a lot better in this than any scientist I know.
So if somebody wants an issue in - give Richard a good argument.

> How can you assure every group's voice will be heard?
> How can you assure the Discussion Committees will represent the various
> categories of interested parties adequately?
> IIUC, Committees will be formed by invitation in top-down fashion: how
> can a group of interested people become one such committee?

The process document at
describes two possibilities to become part of a committee:
You get an invitation from the FSF or 
you get invited later by one of the committees.

Given that the committees are there to channel the comments
so that the FSF and Richards are able to work, the design is reasonable.
Basically I imagine those committees to be the ears and eyes of Richard.
This means they better should fit him and his working style.
With such wide open ears, documenting everything reasonable they hear,
it will be hard for a group to not be heard.
They would need to throw away their ticket number.

> IMHO, the FSF should make this process more democratic and open.
> P.S.: please Cc: me on replies, as I am not subscribed to the list;
>       thanks.

I think this process is a huge improvement over how it was done in
the past any by other groups that draft licenses. Note that the GPL writing
was never a democratic process. If we were to follow the majority 
it is likely that we would not have Free Software, GNU/Linux nor the GNU GPL.

Having the main part of the process written down in a rather short document,
the ability to give trackable comments, and the time frame of a year
make this process quite open.

Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement
and I expect the FSF to be open for your comments!

What we can do in Europe is to convince our governments 
and companies to donate more money and time into thinking about
Free Software and enabling the European Free Software people to 
carry the discussion to as many places in Europe we can.

Best Regards,
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Discussion mailing list