We've had a few interesting discussions on the GPL3 over the past couple
of weeks. So, I thought I would pitch in my thoughts.
My goal with GRAMPS has always been to protect the freedoms of the end
user. The question I've had to ask myself is: "Is the GPL2 sufficient to
protect the user's freedoms?"
Up until a few months ago, I would have answered this question with a
"Yes". However, seeing the moves that have been taken by a particular
large software development company to try to limit software that
developers like myself have developed, I have been having second
=46rom a little reading that I have done, these are a few major
differences that GPL3 offers (thanks to Linux Magazine for a nice
1. Universality - move away from U.S centric to more international=20
language. Personally, I don't see this as a significant enough
reason to change.
2. DRM - prevents people from using DRM to restrict rights on software.
While I like this idea because I'm not a fan of DRM, I'm not sure
that this really affects GRAMPS.
3. "Tivoization" - prevents hardware mechanisms to be used to prevent
the user from changing the code. My first thought was, "Do you want
some 14 year old kid changing the code on a pacemaker?", but the
GPL3 handles this case, limiting the tivo clause to consumer
devices. While I can appreciate this clause, I don't see this being
a big threat to GRAMPS.
4. Improved License Compatibility - This is nice, but we don't really
have any license compatibility issues right now. We are compatible
with the python license and the gtk/pygtk licenses.
5. Patents - This is the big one, and the whole crux of the MS/Novell
issue - external companies using patent threats to stifle free
software. With the mess that the U.S. software patent situation has
created, I doubt that there is any commercial or free software that
does not violate some software patent. I'm surprised a patent=20
hasn't been granted on the number '1' yet. Realistically, free=20
software developers would be willing to work around any patent that
was identified as infringing (assuming the patent was valid).=20
My personal take - I don't see the MS style threat as being a major
long term risk. The MS threat has not been too successful. The vague
threat no longer seems to be working, and MS is just as vulnerable=20
to the patent threat as free software is (IBM and the Open Patent
Network counterbalances them effectively). The bigger threat is the
patent trolling law firm that has no product of their own. The GPL3=20
would offer no protect for this. But then again, this is a bigger
threat to Microsoft than it is to GRAMPS.
So, I can see some minor advantages to the GPL3. I don't have any
personal objections to the GPL3. And if I was starting the project as a
new project today, I would probably end up choosing the GPL3.
But in the end, the final question is, "For the GRAMPS project, does the
GPL3 offer significant improvements to protecting the user's freedoms
over the GPL2?"
And right now, I don't have an answer. I have no objection to the GPL3.
I just don't know if it offers significant advantages to the GRAMPS