[Fsfe-ie] GPLv3 press release *draft* on the wiki

Jean-François Bucas jfbucas at tuxfamily.org
Fri Jan 20 19:47:55 CET 2006

Hello Ciaran,

Here is a version of your press release i'd like to read in a newspaper.
Little reorganisation and small changes and cuts... you may not agree...
Take it as you wish :)



// When, who, what ?
January 20th. A year-long public consultation process has begun for the 
drafting of the third version of the most widely used free software 
license: the GNU General Public License a.k.a. "the GPL". Free Software 
Foundation launched the process by opening their discussion forum for 
accepting comments.

// Reminder and history
Version 2, published in 1991, forms the legal basis of civil liberties 
of hundreds of millions of people across all continents as well as 
billion euro business plans.

Most software licenses are written so as to prevent collaboration and 
cooperation among users and developers of that software. Free software 
licenses have to do the opposite.

The purpose of the GPL is to ensure that everyone who receives a copy of 
the programs it covers are free to study what the software is doing, 
free to modify the software or have it modified for them by a third 
party, and free to redistribute both the original software and any 
modifications they have made.

Despite this legally tricky task, the GPL has proved very sturdy. Only 
twice has a prosecutor based it's argument on the GPL being flawed, once 
in Germany, once in the USA, and in both cases the GPL was ruled 

// Examples
Well known software use the GPL include the Linux kernel, the GNU tools, 
  the Open Office office suite, and even games as Quake3. The popular 
browser Mozilla Firefox use for his part a very similar licence.

// Why change it ?
Legislation and technology have changed since 1991. The modifications 
being considered for version 3 are to serve the same purpose as version 
2, but updated for today's environment.

One example is software patents. Although Europeans are currently 95% 
safe from software patents, other parts of the world are not so lucky. 
In the USA and Japan, software developers are under constant threat of 
patent litigation. Europeans cannot rely on still being safe a year or a 
decade from now, depending of EU's legislators.

The draft GPLv3 contains a clause which terminates your rights to use 
and modify the software if you bring a patent suit against someone else 
who modifies or distributes the software. Thus, people who use patents 
to attack free software developers shall lose the benefit of using free 

A second example of a problem which should be addressed by GPLv3 is 
Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). DRM is a plan to put all 
computers under the control of current monopolies from the software and 
copyrighted entertainment industry. The draft of the GPLv3 has 
provisions to prevent GPL covered software from being usable for the 
purpose of enforcing DRM. It does this by requiring that if passwords 
are needed to control the software, they must be made available to the 
recipient of the software. This allows DRM to be used, but only when the 
software user has equal control over what the software does.

// Citations
Ciaran O'Riordan of IFSO said from the GPLv3 launch event :

     "While we in IFSO are looking forward to participating in the 
process, we also have a responsibility to help other Irish stake holders 
to participate. So during 2006 we hope to raise awareness among free 
software businesses and free software users, about what is happening and 
how they can get involved and have their say."

Person#2 added

     "Of all free software license, the GPL has proven to be the most 
investment friendly. Making vendor lock-in and monopolies practically 
impossible, the GPL makes a level playing field where everyone is bound 
by the same rules. Updating the license is necessary to preserve this 

//About IFSO
IFSO was founded in January 2004 with the aims of promoting and 
protecting software which comes with the freedom to study it, modify it 
and redistribute it: Free Software. The founders of IFSO had been 
working together before then, primarily on the campaign against software 
patents. Independence, transparency, and the ability to cooperate and 
collaborate with others have provided the systems of freedom. IFSO works 
to ensure that new legislation does not restrict the writing, using, or 
distribution of free software. IFSO would also hopes to encourage 
businesses which write, deploy, or support free software.

Hope this helps !

Jean-François Bucas

Ciaran O'Riordan wrote:
> The hoped release time for this is Monday.
> http://www.ifso.ie/cgi-bin/wiki.cgi/GPLv3_press_release
> Comments appreciated.  It still needs fact checking.  It's long, but that's
> fine so long as it's laid out so that reading the first half will still give
> a clear picture.  Being complete is useful because hopefully people will
> link to this and it will be read by web users as well as journos.

More information about the FSFE-IE mailing list