Kernel developers' position on GPLv3

MJ Ray mjr at
Tue Sep 26 10:36:27 UTC 2006

Shane M. Coughlan <shane at> forwarded: [...]
>     Software patents attack the freedom of all software developers and
>     users; their only legitimate use is to deter aggression using
>     software patents. [...]

Even that use is only legitimate within certain limits: a software 
licence should not terminate because of acts near-totally unrelated to 
the licensed software and the licensee; and a copyright licence should 
not terminate because of patent problems.

Terminating for unrelated acts is a problem - it is similar to the bad 
old licences that say the licensee may not offer support services, or 
must pet a cat before copying the software.

Terminating the copyright licence because of patent disputes is a 
problem because it can import effects of the USA's bad patent law and 
lawsuit-happy culture into other countries.  The FSF has often argued 
against confusing different so-called "Intellectual Property" laws, so 
why this U-turn by putting patent and copyright terms in one licence?

"These laws have so little in common, and differ so much, that it is 
ill-advised to generalize about them." (in - see also )

> I think it's well worth visiting and signing up to
> the list to get stuff like this.

It's marginal value IMO.  No open discussion is allowed on that list and 
the useful stuff is reposted in other public forums.

The GPLv3 process is not as open as it should be.  Some useful things 
are only in formats like PDF, rather than plain text or html, there are 
browser and email client requirements to meet before participating in 
the comment system (even for reading) and the form of comments is 
limited to ones linked to short sections of the draft.  I will retry the 
email interface soon because I have changed my mail client, but the 
instructions make it pretty 
clear that I am a third-class participant, required to ensure things 
which I have no way of ensuring, so I offer the above concerns in this 
public forum, in case anyone else will ask them first.

The current GPLv3 comment system should be junked before the end of the 
process and replaced with a more common email+web-forum-based moderated 
consultation which is open to all hackers with the most basic software.

MJ Ray - see
Somerset, England. Work:
IRC/Jabber/SIP: on request

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