Subject: Re: GPLv3 Drafting Soliticitation
From: Matthew Flaschen <matthew.flaschen@gatech.edu>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 23:14:18 -0400

Andrew C. Oliver wrote:
> You're honestly going to submit a word document to the free software
> foundation?

My first thought too.  You'd best try OpenDocument (also, bolding and
italics in the actual license aren't any use for text files).  Anyway, I
agree that the current GPLv3 draft reads somewhat awkwardly, and may not
even accomplish what the FSF intends (particularly around
Novell-Microsoft).  I've commented on the FSF site already (which wasn't
all that hard), so I'll focus on your draft.

You've tried to take the passion out of the intro, which is not going to
fly.  The GPL is a political document in addition to a legal one.  It's
supposed to be persuasive; the preamble is a big part of it.  The
preamble you've written does nothing to help the cause.  Some parts,
like your unnecessary quoting (scare quotes) of /free/, hurt.  You've
also removed all the rationales, which are useful from a comprehension
angle too.  You've unnecessarily changed the end instructions the same way.

You've rearranged the definitions in some useful ways, but also missed
the point in others (e.g. Standard Interface).  I also don't see the
point of defining "modify" the way you did.  Your changes to "No Deny
Users' Rights Through Technical Measures" introduced a mistake.  It says
"you disclaim your intent to limit or modify the covered work".  The
current draft is right: "you disclaim ian intention to limit operation
or modification".  Your changes to the interactive user interfaces
section are also wrong; they broaden it unnecessarily (e.g. by requiring
display  of the information, rather than a feature to access it).  You
change the meaning of the termination clause by allowing a notice at any
time.

There may be other issues.

Best,

Matthew Flaschen