[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] ANNOUNCE: Moving Sugar to GPLv3+

Bernie Innocenti bernie at sugarlabs.org
Mon Apr 25 01:14:17 EDT 2011

[cc += christoph]

On Fri, 2011-04-22 at 21:25 -0400, Paul Fox wrote: 
> i think i've missed the point of all this.  bernie's original mail
> points to the FSF rationale for GPL3 as the reason for moving sugar to
> GPL3, but somehow i think there must be more to it.  i.e., what
> exactly are the arguments in favor of _sugar_ changing licenses?
> i have no stake in this decision at all -- i'm just wondering about
> the "why".

Sorry Paul, I had missed your reply to the list. You and Christoph asked
similar questions and I'd like to answer both of them comprehensively,
but tonight I'm too tired to write more than just a short summary :-)

To me, the reasons already given in the GPLv3 quick guide (*) are
relevant to most free software, and therefore also to Sugar. Even if
some of the reasons for updating the license are of legal nature and
we're not lawyers, it doesn't mean there's no tangible advantage for the
project. A license is a legal document, after all, so if we're looking
for technical advantages, we're simply looking in the wrong place.

Christoph also asked what strategic advantages the GPLv3 would bring in
the surrounding ecosystem: Sugar is a member project of the Software
Freedom Conservancy, and has a strong bound with the Free Software
Foundation in the form of donated hosting and infrastructure for the
past 3 years. In this regard, it makes sense for us to be using the
latest published version of their license. If we managed to make Sugar
endorsed by the GNU project, or even make it to the high-priority free
software list, this could result in extra visibility and funding for
development. Currently, Sugar official releases don't even make it to
the LWN announcements page, unlike tiny and obscure GNU packages such as
m4 and gettext.

The main point being debated in this thread is the so-called anti-TiVo
clause. For people like me, it's a necessary fix to make the GPL
continue to work as intended in this era of locked-down devices and laws
prohibiting modifications such as the DMCA. For Martin (and Scott?) the
anti-TiVo clause is overly restrictive and the manifestation of a
radical political agenda.

Since this is the core point of disagreement within the community, the
act of accepting or rejecting the GPLv3 assumes for us the deeper
meaning of refusing or endorsing TiVo-ization and DRM in conjunction
with Sugar.

(*) http://www.gnu.org/licenses/quick-guide-gplv3.html

Bernie Innocenti
Sugar Labs Infrastructure Team

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