For Approval: GPLv3

Michael Tiemann tiemann at
Thu Aug 16 01:42:54 UTC 2007

On 8/15/07, Chris Travers <chris at> wrote:
> 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?

Some OSI licenses effectively forbid the assertion of patents against users
of the software.  That's fine and dandy. I believe that effectively
forbidding the prohibition of user modification is similarly fine and dandy,
and consistent with the larger movement (certainly of free software, to some
extent, open source as well).

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.

As I argued in my previous email, I do not believe that GPLv3 forbids your
other two examples, so I cannot agree that it de facto prohibits them.  This
shows why it's wrong to draw the line at a presumed de facto position, and
instead stick to what is expressly prohibited and to judge whether that's
against a field of endeavor or not.

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