Feeds

Linus: read-up on your GPL 3.0

When is a derivative not a derivative?

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Linus may have it wrong on digital rights management (DRM), but it's the vague wording and confusing concepts - like what is meant by a "derivative work" - that is causing the real headaches over the next General Public License (GPL).

A representative of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), leading the effort around GPL 3.0, said that Linux creator Linus Torvalds had "misread" the license's provisional terms.

He said GPL 3.0 is intended to stop developers using GPL code to build DRM products, services or protected content. That means not allowing developers to build code that requires a DRM key to be unlocked and certainly not allowing developers to prosecute others for unlocking their code without the use of specially provided DRM keys - or, in other words, "hacking".

"We want to discourage use of GPL to further DRM efforts," Freedom Software Law Centre counsel Richard Fontana said at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) in San Francisco on Tuesday. The Freedom Law Centre represents the FSF.

Torvalds last month ruled out putting the Linux kernel under GPL 3.0 because he believed it required contributors to make their private signing keys available. The draft GPL 3.0 states DRM is "fundamentally incompatible with the purpose of the license".

Fontana said: "Linus Torvalds has misread it... We require disclosure of the codes if it's necessary to make the software run."

So that's clear, then. All that remains are a handful of unclear definitions in other parts of the license that require clarification.

Open Source Institute (OSI) general counsel Lawrence Rosen, appearing with Fontana on an OSBC panel discussing GPL 3.0, pointed to statements in the proposed license that lack legal clout. These included the sentence: "The sole purpose of this section is protection of the integrity of the free software distribution system.

"I'm trying to identify what sections of paragraphs or words are trying to express some kind of philosophy, and which have legal effect and require or prohibit you from doing things," Rosen said.

There is still further confusion over what should happen to a piece of software that is created when GPL code is linked to non-GPL code. Does that count as a "derivative" work or a "collaborative" work? And in either case, which license will apply to the new code? "This license [GPL 3.0] doesn't resolve that," Rosen said. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
Plus: iThings and desktops at risk of NEW SSL attack flaw
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.