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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<title>GPLv3 - Transcript of Ricard Stallman in Torino (Turin),
Italy; 2006-03-18</title>
<h1>Transcript of Richard Stallman speaking on GPLv3 in Torino; 18th
March 2006</h1>
See our <a href="gplv3.html">GPLv3 project</a> page for information
on <a href="gplv3#participate">how to participate</a>. And you may
be interested in
our <a href="">list of
transcripts on GPLv3 and free software licences</a>.
<p>The following is a transcript of Richard Stallman's presentation
made at <a href="gplv3-torino.html">a GPLv3 event held in Torino
(Turin), Italy on March 18th 2006</a>. A video recording of the
whole event is available at <a
The timestamps in square brackets in the transcript correspond to
that recording.</p>
<p>Transcription of this event was undertaken
by Ciaran O'Riordan and
published as part of <a href="/activities/gplv3/gplv3.html">FSFE's
work to assist the GPLv3 consultation process</a>. Please support
work such as this by joining <a href="">the
Fellowship of FSFE</a>, and by encouraging others to do so.</p>
<p>Richard Stallman launched
the <a href="/freesoftware/gnuproject.html">GNU project</a> in 1983,
and with it the <a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html">Free
Software</a> movement. Stallman is the president of FSF - a sister
organisation of FSFE.</p>
<li><a href="#note-on-ip">First, a note on "intellectual property"</a></li>
<li><a href="#on-to-gplv3">On to the GPLv3</a></li>
<li><a href="#version-transitioning">About "or any later version" and
transitioning between versions</a></li>
<li><a href="#patent-grant">Software patents: explicit patent grants</a></li>
<li><a href="#four-freedoms">The four freedoms of Free Software</a></li>
<li><a href="#drm">Digital Restrictions Management: how it was tackled
without restricting usage or modification</a></li>
<li><a href="#drm-and-laws">DRM and laws about effective restriction measures</a></li>
<li><a href="#licence-compatibility">Licence compatibility</a></li>
<li><a href="#affero-clause">Compatibility with Affero - addressing web services, if you want</a></li>
<li><a href="#compatibility-with-patent-retaliation">Compatibility
with two kinds of patent retaliation</a></li>
<li><a href="#limited-retal">The draft GPLv3 does contain
a very limited patent retaliation clause</a></li>
<li><a href="#displaying-the-licence">Requirements for notifying users
of the licence terms</a></li>
<li><a href="#q1-about-linux">Question 1: What about Linux?</a></li>
<li><a href="#q2-linking">Question 2: About dynamic linking and languages</a></li>
<li><a href="#q3a-judging-the-spirit">Question 3a: What if someone
thinks the spirit has been changed?</a></li>
<li><a href="#q3b-can-free-software-beat-drm">Question 3b: Can
writing Free Software beat DRM or is lobbying needed? (Stallman's
answer discusses democracy)</a></li>
<li><a href="#q4-who-is-involved">Question 4: Who is involved in the process?</a></li>
<li><a href="#q5-why-you">Question 5: Why is there not a team running
it instead of you, and who will run it next time?</a></li>
<li><a href="#q6-what-was-rejected">Question 6: What ideas for GPLv3
were rejected?</a></li>
<li><a href="#links">Links to documents for more information on the
topics covered</a></li>
<h2>The transcript</h2>
<p>Richard Stallman:</p>
<p class="indent" id="note-on-ip">
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
[1h 27m 06s]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
It is devastatingly harmful to use the term "intellectual property"
because that term implies the existence of something which does not
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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".
<p class="indent">
That's all you need to do to deal with the specific thing he said.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent" id="on-to-gplv3">
So, at this point, I should go to the intended topic, which is
version three of the GPL.
<p class="indent">
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
<p class="indent" id="version-transitioning">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent" id="patent-grant">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
Did someone earlier already describe the four freedoms?
<p class="indent">
Then I better do so.
[1h 42m 43s]
<p class="indent" id="four-freedoms">
Freedom zero is the freedom to run the program as you wish for any
<p class="indent">
Freedom one is the freedom to study the source code and change it to
do what you wish.
<p class="indent">
Freedom two is the freedom to help your neighbour, that's the freedom
to make copies and distribute them to others when you wish.
<p class="indent">
Freedom three is the freedom to help your community, that's the
freedom to publish or distribute modified versions when you wish.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent" id="drm">
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]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent" id="drm-and-laws">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent" id="licence-compatibility">
Another area in which we've made large changes has to do with
compatibility with a wide range of other Free Software licences.
<p class="indent">
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
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent" id="affero-clause">
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
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p id="compat-pat-retal">
[2h 01m 33s]
<p class="indent" id="compatibility-with-patent-retaliation">
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
<p class="indent">
Patent retaliation means, if you sue somebody for patent infringement,
then you lose the right to use this code.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
This is one kind of patent retaliation clause that we accept.
[2h 04m 21s]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent" id="limited-retal">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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
<p class="indent" id="displaying-the-licence">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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]
<p class="indent" id="end-of-presentation">
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
<a href=""></a> 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.
<p class="indent">
So, I'm ready for questions.
[2h 10m 55s]
<p id="q1-about-linux">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
<p id="q2-linking">
Q2: (Question asked in Italian, something about linking and dynamic
<p class="indent">
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.
<p id="q3a-judging-the-spirit">
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...
<p class="indent">
Stallman: Yes. Because we're not changing the spirit. These are
small changes.
Q3a2: OK, so basically, you're the one who judges...
<p class="indent">
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.
<p id="q3b-can-free-software-beat-drm">
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]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
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?
<p class="indent">
Stallman: I don't know.
Q3b3: Do you imagine that there should be need for
intervention or lobbying at the legal level?
<p class="indent" id="democracy">
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?
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
It's very important.
[2h 19m 53s]
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
If you can't copy it - don't buy it!
[2h 20m 23s]
<p id="q4-who-is-involved">
Q4: (Question in Italian, mentions Eben Moglen)
<p class="indent">
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 <a href=""></a> 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.
<p class="indent">
And thus, there are probably hundreds of people participating in
checking the draft and trying to make sure it does the right thing.
<p id="q5-why-you">
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?
<p class="indent">
Stallman: I don't know other people who can do this.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
Stallman: I hope. We're going to have to replace me somehow, sooner
or later.
[2h 24m 30s]
<p id="q6-what-was-rejected">
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?
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
Another example of what we decided not to do was putting the Affero
clause into the GNU GPL in some way.
<p class="indent">
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.
<p class="indent">
So, these are some examples of changes we decided not to do. Some for
reasons of principle and some for practical reasons.
<p class="indent">
So, thank you for your attention, and happy hacking.
<h2 id="links">Getting more information</h2>
<li>FSFE: <a href="gplv3.html">FSF Europe's GPLv3 project page</a></li>
<li>FSF: <a href="">The GPLv3 website</a></li>
<li>FSF: <a href="">The current draft of GPLv3</a></li>
<li><a href="fisl-rms-transcript.html">A transcript of Richard
Stallman's talk from the 2nd international GPLv3 conference, April
transcript of the opening session of the first international GPLv3
conference</a> (Eben Moglen discusses the changes made to the
<li><a href="">A transcript of
Richard Stallman's GPLv3 talk from FOSDEM 2006</a></li>
<li>FSF: <a href="">The page
on the official GPLv3 wiki listing transcripts and similar texts</a></li>
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