AW: AW: For Approval: German Free Software License

Bernhard Fastenrath bfastenrath at
Fri Nov 26 13:11:57 UTC 2004

Axel Metzger wrote:
> Bernhard Fastenrath wrote:
>>But users of license 1 will migrate to license 2 as soon as you publish
>>it unless you allow OSI a veto in this process and you make this veto a
>>part of the license itself, not the statute of the license board, which
>>might change without a veto from OSI.
> Who gives the GFSL-people "a veto" in OSI-things?

The OSI hasn't asked the GFSL board to delegate a subset of its own
tasks to the OSI, the GFSL board is asking the OSI to do just that.
In my humble opinion this delegation would require, at the very least,
a veto for OSI.

> I think you have no
> realistic view on the balance of powers at stake. Take a look on the
> institutions behind the GFSL. They are too big to depend on anybody. That was
> one of the reasons why they wanted to have their own license. A veto cannot
> be the solution. By promoting solutions like this you take the risk that the
> GFSL-people will renounce for any OSI-approval. The result would be similar
> to the French way of the CNRS and their cecil-license.

> Please read also my answer to Russell Nelson (it's number 65 in the thread
> put in order by date). I presented a line of compromise there. One should
> better talk about participation than about veto-rights.

I can only offer my personal opinion in this matter: OSI has a well
defined task and cannot give up that task and delegate it to another
party willingly (even a small subset) without defeating its own purpose.

>>The "neutral representative authority" you want to create wants to 
>>assume a position like the FSF, because for the individual author
>>the FSF is just that: A neutral presentative authority to provide
>>a legal representative that is willing to defend the terms of the
> No, the FSF has two hats on its head. For some components it acts as licensor
> for others as third party. This raises a lot of difficult legal questions. 

It is the most common case for the licensor to be the author of the
license or to be in control of its content, at least. In the case of the
FSF individual authors already delegate a task to the FSF and, in case
of independent projects, they are sometimes allowing FSF to issue new
versions of the GPL and trust FSF to issue versions that are in their
best interest, which is exactly the position you want to assume for
GFSL software. I cannot find anything disturbing in the fact
that some of the software released under the GPL is owned by the FSF.

What difficult legal questions does that raise? And, by the way:
How is the GFSL compatible with the GPL? I really do not understand
GPL compatibility at all. I can't merge two programs, one under GPL
and under GFSL and decide for myself which license the result carries?

> Best regards,
> Axel

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