For Approval: GPLv3

Chris Travers chris at
Thu Aug 16 01:19:14 UTC 2007

Rick Moen wrote:
> My understanding is that this is not what OSD#6 concerns.  OSD#6
> essentially says you cannot have OSI cerify a licence that selectively
> withholds necessary rights for left-handed Esperanto teachers, or
> members of the military, or professional clowns, etc.
Ok, the legitimate question is-- does de facto discrimination count?  If 
it does, then this is a violation of the definition.  If not, you are right.

If de facto descrimination does not count, then it may be possible to 
include restriction in a license which are designed to preclude fields 
of endeavor without naming them, as I believe the GPL v3 does (with 
regard to DRM-centric applications).

In short "you may not implement DRM" might not be acceptable, but if you 
effectively forbid the implementation of DRM using other clauses, does 
this make it OK on a technicality?

I mention DRM because I believe that it is the FSF's intended target and 
WIFI firmware/voting machines are just collateral damage.

So, in the above case, where do you draw the line?  I think the only 
sensible line that can be drawn is to forbid de facto discrimination 
against fields of endeavor whatever they are and however they are 
defined.  And yes, this should include WIFI card firmware and voting 
machines even if this was not the intended target of the provision.

> I thus don't think "the profession of locking people out of the ability
> to run modified software on particular pieces of hardware" is among the
> sorts of fields of endeavour OSI has in mind.
Ok, but does it apply to hardware/software packages which must be 
licensed as a whole from the government, such as WIFI cards and their 

My largest concern is simply OSD part 6, that it creates a system which 
is discriminatory against any package which must be certified on both 
the hardware and software level.  This includes WIFI cards and voting 
machines and effectively prevents any GPL v3 code from being used in any 
field where the government has a compelling interest in regulating this 
component.  These include products which interface with the public 
airwaves and products, such as voting machines, where there is a 
compelling interest on the part of one government to regulate other 
governments within its jurisdiction, such as with regard to voting machines.

If the FSF had included a clause stating that "Code from covered works 
can only be included in user devices interfacing with public airwaves if 
that is on a ROM" then that might be a definite violation of this 
definition, would it not?  Yet, I do not believe there is any case where 
such a clause would have made *any practical change to the license at 
all.*  That is why I am saying this is entirely implied.
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