My concerns about GPLv3 process

MJ Ray mjr at
Sat Jan 28 20:40:51 UTC 2006

Stefano Maffulli <stef at>

> [...] I am sure that everybody
> agrees that GPL and LGPL are more important than GFDL :)

I think *updating* the FDL is more important than updating the GPLs.
As far as we know, we have working GPLs, but we have a FDL which
can't be used for free software and is causing divisions. There are
tutorials appearing under FDL, but you can't derive free software
from the example code presented! This is important to fix and the
FSF could help free software by fixing all of them at once.

[next comment appears out of order]
> During the GPLv3 launch a new version of the GFDL has been announced *as
> ready to ship* by Moglen.  It will be released soon.  So the GFDL issue
> can be set aside, for a moment. [...]

Like Deming said, "In god we trust, all others bring data"

Debian has put off resolving the FDL bugs in main for so long, but
now it is addressing them more, and I doubt vapourware will change
that. Please publish the draft, even if its revision is post-GPLv3.

> I think that the GPLv3 process is a good compromise between openness and
> control of the results.  Apache Foundation recently updated its license
> and afaik the Apache community had such an open and participated
> process.  Am I wrong?  How would you have done the process?

I agree that it compromises on openness. Who are secret juntas
A-E and will their proceedings be public?

I would have used an international, multi-site, multi-speaker
tour to introduce the draft and process. The process should
be something familiar to hackers, such as a powerful bug tracking
system with severities and topic tags to track issues, allowing
multiple protocols to be used and not requiring a particular
browser featureset, with volunteers acting as helpers, proxies
and intermediaries when people won't or can't participate openly.

How the devil could that have got out of control? It uses
skills that FSF should already have available, unlike a
large political caucus structure, which looks strange for
hackers and easy for the uncooperative to subvert.

The process being used so far is a conference in the homeland
of the DMCA, a Big-Business-friendly launch press release, a web
site with poor accessibility, and committees to filter comments
into group statements for leaders to consider. It all seems
rather similar to the Vienna process to me.  Sorry, but if it
looks like a duck, I ask: will it quack like a duck?

I'm not sure how Apache updated their licence. I didn't see much
of the process, I didn't find it on and I vaguely
remember someone from ASF throwing trademark allegations into
debian-legal which may or may not have been related.

Best wishes,
MJ Ray - personal email, see
Work:  Jabber/SIP ask

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