[wp-hackers] WordPress and GPLv3

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Fri Dec 28 18:22:40 GMT 2007

On 12/28/07, Roy Schestowitz <r at schestowitz.com> wrote:
> > Continually talking about some kind of "smear campaign" just makes the
> > GPLv3 advocates look even more foolish.
> I am not a GPLv3 advocate, but a programmer who favours Free software.
> The GPLv3 protects me from circumvention of the agreement upon which
> development is based. It is nothing  more than an /evolutionary/ change
> that closes loophole. Nothing has changed. Same rules, more explicit
> language.

There are no loopholes in the GPLv2. It does exactly what it claims to
do, nothing more or less, and it cannot be and has not ever been

The GPLv3 adds new things (anti-tivoization clause, anti-DRM clause,
additional restrictions allowed clause) that are both unnecessary and
undesirable, not to mention LESS FREE.

> About the smear campaign, would you like me to give you a detailed list
> of incidents where lobbying arms and secretly-hired people speak in the
> press? I have plenty of that material at hand, but it just needs
> organising. I am willing to do the work if this will end a
> chracterisation which -- to use your own words -- makes me "foolish".

You misunderstand. What is foolish is that you seem to think that all
anti-GPLv3 people are somehow affected by this "smear campaign" that
you continually go on about, as if we've been misled or something.
We're not. We're intelligent, thinking human beings capable of arguing
our own positions and making up our own minds. Whether there was any
such campaign or not is wholly irrelevant.

> I was by no means trying to offend you, but strong language (not
> directed at myself) seems to have changed the tone a bit. I realise that
> textual correspondence has its deficiencies and negative social effects.

No, what you were trying to do is obvious. You were trying to dismiss
my opinion by arguing that I had been misled in some way. I find that
highly offensive.

Might I suggest arguing the facts instead of the personalities in the future?

> > Compatibility is indeed, very important. This is where the version
> > does indeed make a difference, because the GPLv2 is incompatible with
> > the GPLv3. Switching to the GPLv3 will suddenly invalidate a lot of
> > plugins licensed under GPLv2.
> This is not correct. It's a generalisation. See
> http://blogs.zdnet.com/Burnette/?p=331

No, it is absolutely correct. WordPress plugins are not aggregates,
they are extensions of the original work (which is WordPress). Ask the
FSF, they'll absolutely agree that if WordPress is GPLv3 then the
plugins cannot be GPLv2.

> > To be quite blunt about it, if WordPress went GPLv3, I'd either fork
> > it or I'd switch to somebody's else's forked version of WordPress that
> > remained under the GPLv2. Why? Because I like the code I use to be
> > free-as-in-speech, not free-as-in-socialism.
> According to this, the 4 freedoms represent free speech, whereas the
> addition of a phrase that /explicitly/ forbids Tivoization (something
> that was always intended, but not included in the text) turns this into
> socialism. I fail to understand how openness of devices can be equated
> to socialism, and in a negative way.

The GPLv3 is less open because it prevents Tivoization. The GPLv3 is
less open because it prevents use of a technological measure to
control the work (aka DRM). The GPLv3 adds restrictions to the usage
of a work instead of just to the distribution of the work.

As for whether this was "always intended", that's missing the point
entirely. I never intended any such thing, which is why I support the
GPLv2. It does exactly what I want it to do, nothing more or less. The
GPLv3 adds things that I did not intend and do not agree with.

Really, what's so hard to understand about this? Why do you seem to
think that I'm somehow misinformed? I read the two licenses. I
understand the two licenses. I like what the GPLv2 says, I don't like
what the GPLv3 says. Is this somehow unacceptable to you? They are
different licenses which do different things. Intentions be damned,
I'm looking at the TEXTS here.

> I sense a lot of hostility here and it is directed very specifically at
> the creation of appliances. I can vividly recall a thread which Matt
> Mullenweg started about 3 years ago. It was about one of us wp-hackers
> starting a /closed/ project that is a WordPress derivative +
> GPL-licensed plugins. Yes, it was frowned upon.

I have not read any such thing, however if a WordPress based appliance
were to be created and sold, the GPLv2 would ensure that any source
changes would have to be released. What more do you want? The GPLv3
would force the makers of such an appliance to, basically, make it
*not an appliance*. That's going too far, in my opinion.

> WordPress has always walked the extra mile to ensure that openness of WP
> is maintained

The GPLv2 can do that quite well without adding the useless and
less-open clauses of the GPLv3.

> I would be disappointed to see embrace of a philosophy that
> excludes or separates.

So would I, that would be why I would absolutely not use a GPLv3
version of WordPress. The GPLv3 is divisive and exclusive. It does not
allow compatibility. It does not allow usage. Like I said, I would
switch to a forked version of WP using the original license (or fork
it myself) immediately. Then I could continue to use open code,
instead of closed code.


More information about the wp-hackers mailing list