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January 2006 Archives

January 26, 2006

4500 words? you ought to be kidding.

The GPLv3 draft analysis at newsforge kind of proudly proclaims that the GPLv3 draft has 4500 words, when GPLv2 was less than 3,000. That means, there's 50% more legalese to understand for the non-lawyers who deal with open source software.

I'm not a lawyer. I'm a fan of concise and understandable legal text. I have seen the confusions that GPLv2 creates: For instance, Debian felt they were unable to distribute a version of mutt that was dynamically (!) linked against an OpenSSL library that was licensed under an advertising-encumbered BSD style license. (The success of dynamic linking depends on two libraries having precisely the same ABI. Theoretically, it's possible to build an unencumbered library with the same interface. Hence, the SSL library was part of the system context that mutt expected, nothing more, nothing less.)

But a new GPL with 4500 words and a hard to understand DRM clause makes me extremely nervous. It makes it ever more tempting to go for a concise BSD style license instead - but then again, the "virality" of the GPL is a good thing.

About January 2006

This page contains all entries posted to No Such Weblog in January 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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