My concerns about GPLv3 process

Francesco Poli frx at
Sun Jan 22 10:55:13 UTC 2006

On Tue, 17 Jan 2006 22:50:40 +0100 Bernhard Reiter wrote:

> Hi Francesco,
> let me give you my personal view on the issue:

Thanks for your time!

> 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.

I hope that's true, but the lack of progress on the GFDL issue is not
what I'd call a good precedent...  :-(

> > 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.

So, let's hope I won't throw away mine...

> > 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.

That is true, and was especially true in the pioneer times, when Free
Software was known to very few people only.
Now there's a Free Software community, though. I think the concern of
the core of this community should be taken into account (especially when
a Freeness issue is raised).

> 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!

Let's hope for the best...

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4
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