Transcript of Richard Stallman speaking on GPLv3 in Torino; 18th March 2006
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The following is a transcript of Richard Stallman's presentation made at a GPLv3 event held in Torino (Turin), Italy on March 18th 2006. A video recording of the whole event is available at http://streaming.polito.it/TFOFS. The timestamps in square brackets in the transcript correspond to that recording.
Transcription of this event was undertaken by Ciaran O'Riordan and published as part of FSFE's work to assist the GPLv3 consultation process. Please support work such as this by joining the Fellowship of FSFE, and by encouraging others to do so.
Richard Stallman launched the GNU project in 1983, and with it the Free Software movement. Stallman is the president of FSF - a sister organisation of FSFE.
- First, a note on "intellectual property"
- On to the GPLv3
- About "or any later version" and transitioning between versions
- Software patents: explicit patent grants
- The four freedoms of Free Software
- Digital Restrictions Management: how it was tackled without restricting usage or modification
- DRM and laws about effective restriction measures
- Licence compatibility
- Compatibility with Affero - addressing web services, if you want
- Compatibility with two kinds of patent retaliation
- The draft GPLv3 does contain a very limited patent retaliation clause
- Requirements for notifying users of the licence terms
- Question 1: What about Linux?
- Question 2: About dynamic linking and languages
- Question 3a: What if someone thinks the spirit has been changed?
- Question 3b: Can writing Free Software beat DRM or is lobbying needed? (Stallman's answer discusses democracy)
- Question 4: Who is involved in the process?
- Question 5: Why is there not a team running it instead of you, and who will run it next time?
- Question 6: What ideas for GPLv3 were rejected?
Before I get into the main subject, which is the plans for version three of the GPL, I want to mention a very important fundamental issue.
[1h 27m 06s]
There is a term that some people use, which causes terrible confusion and should never be used, and that is the term "intellectual property". Now, I heard someone mention that term. I don't think he was explaining why that term should not be used.
It is devastatingly harmful to use the term "intellectual property" because that term implies the existence of something which does not exist.
Copyright law exists. Patent law exists. They have almost nothing in common in terms of the requirements that they put on the public. Trademark law also exists. It has nothing in common with copyright law or patent law about what it requires of the public. So, the idea that there is some general thing which these are instances of already gets people so confused that they cannot understand these issues. There is no such thing. These are three separate unrelated issues, and any attempt to generalise about them guarantees confusion. Everyone who uses the term "intellectual property" is either confused himself or trying to confuse you.
[1h 29m 12s]
I came to this conclusion a few years ago and since then I have decided that I will never use that term. No exceptions. I will talk about why the term is confusing, because that's a useful thing to do, but I will never use that term. I never use it. I hope you will join me in making this firm policy of never using it. And if someone else says something about "intellectual property", I will not respond directly to what he said without first explaining the confusion buried in it, because you see, the confusion buried in a statement is usually more harmful than whatever may be false that he actually tried to say.
The false premises, the false presuppositions are the most important problem. So, if someone makes a statement about intellectual property and some part of it is the specific point, which I might disagree with, the first thing I will say is why it's a mistake to talk about intellectual property at all, and then I will try to translate what he said into clearer terms, and then I might say if I agree with it or not. But that's secondary, and explaining to people the confusion in the term intellectual property itself is the most important thing to do.
There is a tendency to, we all have it, to follow other people in their choice of terminology. If someone says an outrageous thing and he uses the term intellectual property, you will feel drawn into responding in the same terms. So, learn to resist that temptation.
[1h 31m 20s]
The most important mistake, the most important falsehood in that statement is its use of the term "intellectual property" in the first place. And the most important thing about it to respond to, if you could only choose one thing, is that one. And you can say: "and since your whole picture of the situation is totally confused, clearly the specifics of what you said need to be rethought".
That's all you need to do to deal with the specific thing he said.
And, by the way, when the term "intellectual property" is used in the name of a law or a committee, that is an example of the confusion. It's almost a certainty that any law named "intellectual property" is a harmful, an unjust law. Of course, you have to check the details to be sure of that, but you can be almost certain just from hearing the name. And the reason is that you can tell from the name that unjust premises and confusions went into the design of the law so what could you expect except harmfulness.
[1h 33m 00s]
So, at this point, I should go to the intended topic, which is version three of the GPL.
I designed GPL version one in 1989, and GPL version two in 1991. I thought of making a version three something like five or six years ago. We didn't intend to wait fifteen years. It was due to the fact that I was busy, and there were some things that were hard to figure out.
The idea that there would be changes in the GPL was planned from the beginning. That is, version one already included a plan for transition to future versions. We suggested that people release their programs under "version one or any later version of the GPL", and the idea was that when version two came out, it would automatically be usable for all those programs and in the time since version two, we've been suggesting that people release their software under "version two or any later version" and I believe most GPL covered programs do say that, with the result that when GPL version three comes out, a lot of software will be usable under GPL version three.
The older versions of the GPL also promise that future versions would be "similar in spirit". In other words, the changes will not be radical. Any radical change would be false to the spirit and would be wrong.
[1h 35m 17s]
The changes that we've proposed in version three are all in small sub-issues. Some of them are very important, but in the overall framework, they're small changes. And the overall effect of GPL version three will be basically the same as version two, protecting the same four freedoms, but doing it somewhat better, dealing with some problems which we've encountered and adapting better to various different laws around the world.
One thing that we've done is that we've restructured some of the concepts, for instance, we make it clear that many other activities that have the effect of providing copies to other people are treated the same as distribution. Anything that's covered by copyright law which has the effect that it enables other people to get copies is effectively equivalent to distribution, and this insulates GPL version three from certain differences between laws in various countries about just what constitutes distribution. So it has the effect of making the GPL work more the same in all countries, despite precisely how they have formulated their copyright laws.
There are many changes in GPL version three which do something like that, they actually just make it more uniform and more reliably doing the same thing we expected it already did.
[1h 37m 20s]
But there are some places where we actually have changed the policies in small ways. One of these concerns software patents. GPL version two is based on an implicit grant of a patent licence. The idea is that if somebody says "here is a thing and you can use it", implicitly he's promising he's not going to sue you for patent infringement if you go ahead and do what he said; however, since in the past eight years or so some other Free Software licences have included explicit statements of patent licenses, patent licence grants by people distributing the software, and so we decided to do the same thing, and we've included an explicit statement that the distributors of the software all promise not to sue anybody who is using any version of that software for patent infringement based on the versions that they distributed. Basically, whatever their versions do, they're promising not to sue you for.
However, there's a subtlety that came up in this. What if somebody doesn't have a patent but he has got a licence for that patent, and he distributes the code to you. Well, does that licence he got include your exercise of the four freedoms? Including your freedom to redistribute copies yourself, with changes? Maybe not, but if it doesn't, it creates a dangerous and unfair situation. Unfair to you because he is distributing the software, or distributing his version of the software, and he is not going to get sued for patent infringement because he got a licence. He distributes it to you under the GPL and the GPL says you are free to redistribute it too, but if you do that you might get sued because his patent license might not cover you.
[1h 40m 04s]
Well, this is unfair, this is something that's not supposed to happen. He received this program under the GPL and the GPL says when he distributes a version of it, he must really give you the freedom to do the same. If he can count on safely doing it, and he knows you will get sued if you do it, by a third party, he's cheating. So, GPL version three, along with the explicit patent licence grant, says that if he is knowingly relying on a patent licence for distributing his version, he must take some effective step to protect you as well if you distribute.
Now, the reason it talks about "knowingly relying" is that there are companies that have signed blanket cross licences with other companies, so the company distributing the program, might have some blanket cross licence with some company, and that blanket cross licence might cover a thousand patents, and they don't even know what those thousand patents say. So, if they don't even know that they have a patent licence, they're not required to pay attention, but if they know about a specific patent that would cover this program, that means they are knowingly relying on a patent licence and that means they have to keep you safe as well. This is a very controversial decision. It may seem like a subtle point, it covers a peculiar scenario, but it's not an impossible scenario. It could be a very important scenario. In this scenario, this point is essential to ensure that the GPL really does what it intends to do, which is, make sure that you do get the freedom to redistribute the software that you got. And this is typical of the ways that we are changing GPL version three. They apply to complicated scenarios but those scenarios may happen frequently, and in those scenarios we are trying to make sure that you really get the four fundamental freedoms which that Free Software.
Did someone earlier already describe the four freedoms?
Then I better do so.
[1h 42m 43s]
Freedom zero is the freedom to run the program as you wish for any purpose.
Freedom one is the freedom to study the source code and change it to do what you wish.
Freedom two is the freedom to help your neighbour, that's the freedom to make copies and distribute them to others when you wish.
Freedom three is the freedom to help your community, that's the freedom to publish or distribute modified versions when you wish.
So here we're talking about what is necessary to ensure that freedom two really exist for you in a certain special scenario, freedom two being the freedom to redistribute copies and also freedom three, it applies to that too.
[1h 43m 35s]
Another area where we have made changes concerns Digital Restrictions Management. Now, freedom zero says you are free to run the program as you wish for any purpose. We are not limiting freedom zero. If someone wants to run a program to encrypt something, that's fine. If someone wants to run a program to decrypt something, that's fine. If somebody wants to run a program to produce an encrypted medium that's difficult to access, that's fine. If somebody has some other GPL covered program to access that media and he wants to run it to access the encrypted data, that's fine too. And distributing software that could be used for those purposes is also entirely permitted, and will be permitted by GPL version 3.
[1h 44m 58s]
However, freedom zero does not include imposing your purposes on someone else who is going to run the program, because his freedom zero is the freedom to run the program for any purpose of his. So, there is no such thing as the freedom to use any software to impose your purpose on someone else. In fact, that should be illegal. I'm serious. And that's what DRM is.
When somebody distributes a player, that has DRM in it, what he's doing is trying to restrict your running of your computer for his purposes, which is directly in conflict with the four freedoms that you should have.
And that's what GPLv3 is in certain ways trying to stop and it does this simply by assuring you all four of the freedoms when you use the software. You see, because DRM - Digital Restrictions Management - is a plan to restrict the public, anyone distributing a version of a GPL-covered program as a player for DRM media always does something to stop the public from modifying the player, because his purpose in distributing a DRM player is to restrict you, he has to make sure you can't escape from his restrictions, from his power. That means he is always going to try to deny you freedom one. Freedom one is the freedom to study the source code of the program and change it to do what you want. What you want, might be, to escape from his restrictions, and if you have freedom one, you can escape from his restrictions. So his goal is somehow or other, for practical purposes, to deny you freedom number one.
[1h 47m 26s]
Now, what he might do is, use non-Free Software, and then completely deny you freedom number one. In fact, that's what they usually do. We can't change that with the GPL because they're not including any GPL-covered code. They don't have to pay attention to the GPL. There should just be a law against it. It should be illegal. DRM should be illegal, but we can't change laws by modifying the GPL.
However, there are those that want to use GPL-covered software for this purpose, and they want to do so by turning freedom number one into a sham, a facade. So they plan to do something like, make a modified version of the GPL-covered program, which contains code to restrict you, and distribute that to you and somehow arrange that you can't really modify it, or if you modify it it won't run, or if you modify it and operate it, it won't operate on the same data.
[1h 48m 42s]
They do this in various ways. This is known as Tivo-isation because this is what the Tivo does. The Tivo includes some GPL-covered software. It includes a GNU+Linux system, a small one, but it does, and you can get the source code for that, as required by the GPL because many parts of GNU+Linux are under the GPL, and once you get the source code, you can modify it, and there are ways to install the modified software in your Tivo and if you do that, it won't run, period. Because, it does a check sum of the software and it verifies that it's a version from them and if it's your version, it won't run at all. So this is what we are forbidding, with the text we have written for GPL version three. It says that the source code they must give you includes whatever signature keys, or codes that are necessary to make your modified version run.
In other words, it ensures that freedom number one is real. That you really can modify the source code, install it, and then it will run and not only that, we say, they must give you enough to make the modified version operate on the same range of data. Because, you see, Microsoft's plan, which they call Palladium, and then they change the name - they change these names frequently so as to evade criticism, to make criticism difficult, to make any kind of comment on their plans difficult. You talk about their plan and they say "Oh, we've dropped that, we have a different plan now". And probably it is different in some details, but the point is that they generate encryption and decryption keys using a check sum of the program which means that a different program can't possibly access the same data. Although, that's just the base level, and then on top of that they implement other facilities where the program simply has to be signed by the authorised signer in order to be able to access the data.
[1h 51m 29s]
Well, GPL version three says that if they distribute a GPL-covered program in this way, they must provide you with the key necessary so that you can sign your version and make it access the same data. Otherwise, they would say "Yes, you can run your modified version, but it will have a different check sum, so your version will only operate on data files made for your version, just as our version only operates on data made for our version". And what that means is that all the available files will only work with their version and your changed version will not be able to access them. That's exactly, in fact, how Treacherous Computing is designed to work. The plan is that they will publish files that are encrypted and it will be impossible to access those files with any other program, so GPL version three is designed to ensure that you really, effectively, get the freedom to take the program you were given, modify it, and run the modified version to do a different thing on the same data on the same machine.
But, there's one other way that we're trying to thwart DRM. You see, one thing they do is, some countries, including, I'm sad to say, this one, have adopted unjust laws that support DRM. The exact opposite of what they ought to do, which is prohibit DRM, and what they say is: when media have been encoded for DRM, then writing another program to access that media is illegal, and the way they do this is they say that DRM constitutes an effective, they call it "protection" I call it "restriction", measure. So, what we say is, by releasing a program under GPL version three, you agree that it is not an effective restriction measure. In other words, you authorise others to develop on their own software to read the output of your program.
This also is a matter of recognising and respecting their freedom to develop software and use their computers. And this, what I've described so far, is all that GPL version three says about DRM.
[1h 54m 36s]
Another area in which we've made large changes has to do with compatibility with a wide range of other Free Software licences.
We've always understood GPL version two, and version one, as being compatible with some other Free Software licences. Namely, those that don't require anything except what the GPL requires. So, for instance, there is the X11 licence, all it requires is that you keep the licence there. This doesn't actually demand anything that conflicts with the GPL, so we've always interpreted it as being compatible with the GPL, and what it means to say that two free software licences are compatible is that you can take code from a program under licence A and code from a program under licence B and put them together in one program and you have not violated either licence.
If both licences permit the combining of the code, then you can combine the code, and that's what it means to say the licences are compatible. Now, it's very useful to be able to combine the code, so compatibility of the licences is a convenient thing. Now, it's impossible for all Free Software licences to be compatible. You see, the GPL makes certain requirements and we are not willing to have them taken off, and so another licence, such as GPL version one, that doesn't have those requirements, cannot be compatible with GPL version two or three. That's impossible.
A licence like the Mozilla Public License has its own specific requirements, but it requires things the GPL doesn't require. It can't be compatible, I believe. So we can't be compatible with all of them, but we went through other Free Software licences and we identified certain kinds of requirements that are pretty harmless and we wouldn't mind if people could attach those kinds of requirements to GPL-covered programs, and we made an explicit list of those kinds of requirements. Section seven of the draft of GPL version three says you can put your own terms and conditions on code that you add to the GPL covered program, and your terms and conditions can include these kinds of requirements. You can also give additional permission. Any kind of additional permission you like. So your terms on your code can be more permissive than the GPL itself. And section seven makes it completely explicit that this is compatible with the GPL.
[1h 58m 22s]
Now, these, the added kinds of requirements that you can make, include different requirements as regards credit and notices and how to identify changes on your code. That's harmless, that only really is relevant when people change your code, and when they do that they will see your terms at the beginning of your code and they will know what to do. And it can include a requirement that they not use certain of your trademarks in ways that trademark law forbids. And this would just be a way of reinforcing trademark law using the copyright on your code. And that's harmless because you could actually do that with trademark law in the first place. So this doesn't actually restrict people in any way that they wouldn't be restricted otherwise.
[1h 59m 28s]
You can put on requirements that -- and this is a non-trivial kind of requirement that we've decided to let people put on -- requirements that if people run your code, on a publicly accessible server, then it must have a command that the user can use to download the source code of the version that is running. Which means that if someone makes changes and puts the changes in his version, on his server, he has to make his source code changes available to the users who talk to his server.
This requirement is known as the Affero clause because it's used in the Affero GPL. The Affero GPL is like GNU GPL version two except it has this requirement as well.
We were thinking of including some kind of requirement like that in GNU GPL version three. We didn't want to make it apply to everything automatically. That would be a drastic change, so we would have to make it something that people could activate explicitly for their programs, and then I realised people could activate it explicitly for their programs by putting the Affero GPL on their programs and as long as the GNU GPL says it's compatible with that, that's a way you could activate that requirement for your code and it means we don't have to put any specific thing about that in the GNU GPL, we only have to make the GNU GPL compatible with it and we did.
[2h 01m 33s]
There's another kind of requirement that we've decided to permit, and this is patent retaliation clauses. Now, the reason is that there are several other Free Software licences that have patent retaliation clauses.
Patent retaliation means, if you sue somebody for patent infringement, then you lose the right to use this code.
Of course there are many ways to do that because every patent retaliation clause puts on some specifics, if you sue him or him for patent infringement in certain circumstances, then you lose the right to use this code, and the question is, what are those circumstances, what are the conditions under which the retaliation operates.
Now, we saw that there are some very broad and nasty patent retaliation clauses. Some of them say, "if you sue me for patent retaliation, for any reason about anything, you lose the right to use this code". Now that's bad because it means, suppose I sue you for patent infringement and you have a patent so you counter sue me, and then my Free Software licence retaliates against you and you lose the right to use that code, now that's not fair because in that case you are defending yourself, you're not the aggressor, so we decided to accept only patent retaliation clauses that are limited enough that they do not retaliate against defense, that they only retaliate against aggression, so there are two kinds of clauses that we identified that do this. One is, if the clause itself, makes a distinction between defense and aggression, so it says, if you sue somebody for patent infringement and it's aggression, then you lose the right to use this code, but if you are suing in retaliation for aggression, then what you are doing is defensive and then we do not retaliate against you.
This is one kind of patent retaliation clause that we accept.
[2h 04m 21s]
The other kind is, if you sue, alleging that some Free Software, relating to this code is patent infringement, then you lose the right to use this code. In the broad space of possible kinds of patent retaliation clauses, we picked two kinds, each of which is limited enough that it will not retaliate against people for practicing defense with patents. It will only retaliate against aggressors. And we've said these two kinds of clauses are OK to add to your code in a GNU GPL covered program. This is a conceptually complicated thing. There's no way to make it any simpler, I hope, at least, that I've explained it clearly.
The GPL itself does contain one very limited kind of patent retaliation, but it's a different kind. It says you if make changes in a GPL-covered program and then somebody else makes similar changes and you sue him for patent infringement then you lose the right to continue making changes and copying the program to your own machines.
This is a very limited situation and it's meant to protect against one particular kind of abuse on the part of server operators where they make an improvement, which they're free to do, and run it on their servers and they don't release their source code and if the code does not have the Affero clause on it then they don't have to release the source code, and then you decide that you are going to implement a similar improvement and then they sue you for patent infringement.
So, once again, we're making a change that keeps people honest and makes sure that the four standard freedoms that the four standard freedoms that the GPL has always tried to ensure, really apply in all cases.
This is pretty much it, but there is also one interesting change in the section that deals with modified versions. There has always been a requirement that if you get a program that prints some kind of notice about the licence when it starts up, you can't take that out. We've generalised that so that it applies to various kinds of user interfaces in various ways.
So, for instance, if the program is graphical and it has an "about" box, the about box has to say "this is Free Software under the GPL". And if it starts up interactively and asks for commands, then it has to print the notice at the beginning, and the requirements are a little bit different depending on how obtrusive this would be. For example, the about box is simply a menu item sitting in a menu, well that doesn't bother anybody, so we just say that always has to be there.
On the other hand, printing a notice at start up can be annoying, there are certain programs which shouldn't print notices at start up. So what we say is that if the program that you got doesn't print a notice and you change it, then your program doesn't have to print a notice either. You know, if you change Bash, well Bash isn't supposed to print a notice when it starts up and we don't require you make it print a notice, but if you gave it a GUI, with menus, you would have to put in an about box because the about box doesn't do any harm.
[2h 10m 02s]
I've covered all the issues I can think of that are worth discussing, and I am willing to ask for questions however you can discuss a question with me but if you think you see a problem, you should go to the site gplv3.fsf.org and report this problem and get it considered through our discussion committees and they'll either publish an answer eventually, or they will pass the issue on to me and I'll think about whether a change is needed.
So, I'm ready for questions.
[2h 10m 55s]
Q1: I would like to ask, what is the position of Stallman, and to clarify a bit about the different position of the Linux community about Digital Rights Management.
Stallman: I can't speak for them, and I don't want to try. All I can point out is that Linux is one of thousands of programs in the GNU+Linux operating system. These programs already have various different licences. If some of those programs continue to be distributed under GPL version two while others move to GPL version three or to "GPL version three or later", that won't be any disaster. The developers of Linux are the ones who will decide which licence to use on their program, but I'm confident that most of the GNU+Linux system will be under the GPL version three, regardless of what the Linux developers decide about their program.
I hope that they will move to GPL version three because I want to see Linux resisting Tivo-isation. Linux, after all, is one of the programs that has already been Tivo-ised.
Q2: (Question asked in Italian, something about linking and dynamic languages)
Stallman: Actually, there are changes making it clearer that it doesn't matter which kind of linking is being used. If there are two modules that are designed to be run linked together and it's clear from the design from one or the other that they are meant to be linked together then we say they are treated as one program and so I hope that will make it a little bit clearer although that's not really a change, it's a clarification. That's what we believe GPL version two means already.
Q3a: I have two different questions. The first is what happens if anyone released code under GPL version two maybe ten years ago and now isn't happy with version three and says you're changing the spirit, when I said I would release it under version two and subsequent version, I didn't think of these. Do you imagine he would be bound to version three, or...
Stallman: Yes. Because we're not changing the spirit. These are small changes.
Q3a2: OK, so basically, you're the one who judges...
Stallman: Well, maybe a court might, but I can't believe that anyone not strongly prejudiced would conclude that this is a change in the spirit. A change in the spirit certainly permits change in the details of the requirements and anyone who released it under version two or later should have seen the changes that were made from version one, which were not as big but they were the same kinds of things. So yeh, if he released it under GPL "two or later" you'll be able to use it now under version three.
Q3b1: OK, the second question is that, as you know, I'm involved in these United Nation processes on the Internet governance, so I'm interested to know, do you think the fight against Digital Rights Managements and Trusted Comp[interrupted]
Stallman: Digital Restrictions Management, and Treacherous Computing. Don't use the enemy's propaganda terms, every time you use those terms you are supporting the enemy.
Q3b2: OK, so the correct term is Treacherous Computing right? So on the fight against these new mechanisms, do you think it can only be won by writing Free Software, releasing Free Software?
Stallman: I don't know.
Q3b3: Do you imagine that there should be need for intervention or lobbying at the legal level?
Stallman: I think Treacherous Computing should be illegal. But I don't know how we're going to convince governments to actually do that because governments mostly are not very democratic anymore. They mostly are the pro-consuls of the mega corporations, their job is to keep us in line under the rule of the empire. That's why they run for office, they get into office, they do what the emperor -- the emperor being the mega corporations -- tells them to do, and their job is explaining to us why they can't do what we want them to do. It's very very sad and once in a while somebody has enough courage to refuse to obey, somebody like [sounds like Hugo Chavez].
Q3b4: So do you think it's not even worth trying?
Stallman: Oh, it's worth trying. It's just going to be hard, the point is you have to keep putting the pressure on these politicians. In France, there is a battle going on and we still might win it about the legalisation of peer-to-peer copying on the Internet. This shows that when enough people get energised, the empire can lose a battle.
It's very important.
[2h 19m 53s]
Stallman: Another thing that people should do is refuse to buy anything that's based on DRM. Don't buy corrupt disks, that is the fake CDs that have music set up so that you're blocked from copying it. Don't buy DVDs unless you have DeCSS and you can copy it.
If you can't copy it - don't buy it!
[2h 20m 23s]
Q4: (Question in Italian, mentions Eben Moglen)
Stallman: Well, first, I'm the one who decides what goes into GPL version three, and, of course, whenever I think of language I'm usually working with Eben Moglen since he's a lawyer and he's the only one that can tell me if the language will really do what I hope it will do. Meanwhile, a lot of other people are involved. For instance, you can go to the gplv3.fsf.org site and study it and if you think you see something that's not good or whatever kind of problem you might think there is, you can report it and your comment will go to a discussion committee and, there are four discussion committees, it will go to one of those committees which will then group your comment with other comments that raise that same issue and then they will study each issue and post the issue and their response to it and your comment will be connected to the issue which they grouped it into so it will be connected to the response as well.
And thus, there are probably hundreds of people participating in checking the draft and trying to make sure it does the right thing.
Q5: In the end of the process of deciding what modifications of the licence will be done there's one single person, that is you. Can you explain why this decision and you have not chosen to make some group?
Stallman: I don't know other people who can do this.
I hope that the process that's going on now will help develop people who can be part of some group activity but at the moment, I don't know anyone that I could delegate this to. Obviously I can't always forever be the person doing this, barring unforeseen advances in medical technology or AI and nanotechnology, which I certainly hope will come soon but they're not likely, but at this point, I think this is the right thing to do.
Q5.2: Maybe it will change in the future.
Stallman: I hope. We're going to have to replace me somehow, sooner or later.
[2h 24m 30s]
Q6: You told us about what GPLv3 will be, but what about the issues that are included, the suggestions that you refused. Can you give us some samples?
Stallman: Well, when I decided that we had to do something to resist Digital Restrictions Management, the obvious way to do this would be restrictions on what kinds of jobs the program can be made to do, but I decided that that would be the wrong way to do it and so I thought hard and I came up with a way to achieve the job by directly protecting the freedom of each user without any restrictions about what technical job a version of the program can do.
Another example of what we decided not to do was putting the Affero clause into the GNU GPL in some way.
Another example of something we decided not to do, we decided not to put in very much in the way of patent retaliation clause and the reason is we have doubts about how effective those clauses really can be. We have doubts about whether our community actually has enough power that the threat of our retaliation would scare anyone.
So, these are some examples of changes we decided not to do. Some for reasons of principle and some for practical reasons.
So, thank you for your attention, and happy hacking.
Getting more information
- FSFE: FSF Europe's GPLv3 project page
- FSF: The GPLv3 website
- FSF: The current draft of GPLv3
- A transcript of Richard Stallman's talk from the 2nd international GPLv3 conference, April 21st
- A transcript of the opening session of the first international GPLv3 conference (Eben Moglen discusses the changes made to the license)
- A transcript of Richard Stallman's GPLv3 talk from FOSDEM 2006
- FSF: The page on the official GPLv3 wiki listing transcripts and similar texts