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

Christoph Derndorfer christoph.derndorfer at gmail.com
Mon Apr 25 08:14:15 EDT 2011

On Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 7:14 AM, Bernie Innocenti <bernie at sugarlabs.org>wrote:

> [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


thanks a lot for your response, much appreciated.

Having said that I'd be lying if I claimed to understand all the details
now. Both sides of the argument seem to make some good points though without
having any experience in the area nor training in the deeper legal issues I
personally think it's hard if not impossible to make a call here.

So what I'm more focused on at this point is the process for this decision.
You started this thread by writing "The oversight board is considering a
motion to upgrade the license of Sugar from "GPLv2 or later" to "GPLv3 or
later"." which sounds like SLOBs will be taking an executive decision on
this matter, or am I misunderstanding something here?

If that is indeed the case then I'd love to hear what other board members
think because apart from you and Sebastian nobody has commented on this
topic yet.

Secondly you wrote "Before proceeding to a vote, we'd like to request
feedback from the community. In particular, we'd like to know how this
change might affect you as a Sugar end-user, distributor, contributor or
maintainer." It can be argued that contributors and maintainers have so far
spoken up in this thread but users and distributors haven't. I'm not quite
sure why this is the case but it's probably safe to assume that David has
somewhat of a point when he says that licensing isn't necessarily on the
critical path of tasks for users and deployments (which says nothing about
whether licensing should or shouldn't be a critical task for Sugar Labs
itself IMHO). Additionally I would suggest that reaching out to the relevant
people and organisations privately, pointing them to this thread, and
encouraging them to post their opinion might get some replies as not
everybody follows sugar-devel and IAEP religiously.


Christoph Derndorfer
co-editor, olpcnews
url: www.olpcnews.com
e-mail: christoph at olpcnews.com
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