The minutes of TAB meetings are provided for informational purposes only. Discussions and decisions described in the minutes should not be interpreted as official or definitive TAB or OSDL policy. While efforts are made to ensure their accuracy and completeness, we regret we cannot guarantee that they are. If you have corrections or additions, please contact tech-board at lists.osdl.org
March 3, 2006
Technical Advisory Board Conference Call Minutes
Attendees: James Bottomley Randy Dunlap Tom Hanrahan Greg Kroah-Hartman Matt Mackall Eben Moglen Leann Ogasawara Ted Ts'o Arjan Van Der Ven Chris Wright
- Discussion with Eben - Report from the OSDL Board Meeting - Legal Charter for the Fellowship Fund - TAB Charter - Other
- Finalize the TAB Charter via email - OSDL to help address the Hardware Lending Library - needs funding
Discussion with Eben
First said a little something about the license. The process of making GPLv3 was/is an incremental process. There would be no profound alterations in relationships to users, makers, and distributors of GPL software. The hope was to make improvements to make for a zone of usability. To permit combination of code while maintaining copy left is soluble in the enhanced comparability sections of the new draft. It has been a complicated negotiation because of a fair amount of pushbacks from deep pocket patent holders. The approach to the patent problem is going to be valuable and will help people both patent holding and non-patent holding to cooperate better. The benefits of the GPLv3 draft submitted in January largely has to do with enabling larger scale cooperation. There is already a sufficient degree of market force behind copy left software. It's an incremental change from GPL to GPL with no philosophic change. It is directed towards securing broader cooperation abilities while protecting the copy left.
It was mentioned/suggested that it would be good to provide very clear examples and boundaries; what is considered derived and what is considered DRM. Right now there is too much room for gray area. Eben wants to come out of this with the best teaching materials as possible. FAQ styles, Wiki of explanations, etc. that teach at large and small levels. He hopes all of that will fit the needs being addressed. However, some of the answers could and do depend on local law.
Another question was trying to understand the DRM implications with respect to signing binaries. It first needed to be clear that this was a discussion on policy, where signing affects the functionality of the program. Your actual ability to get the program to run in its original content because some other technical bit checks for the signature to execute the code, then it is part of the code. When the signature does not change the functionality of the code, but is part of the process for checking the completeness of freshness of the archives, that signature is not part of the source. An example was then posed. RH does a gpg signature on kernel modules. At building time of the kernel, a private key is created and then that key is thrown away. Every time anyone builds the kernel, they generate a new key. It does not affect the functionality of the project code. It was said that this doesn't appear to be a problem for the GPLv3. Anyone who builds the program module and kernel, the key that is generated is theirs. They created it and consequently tossed it. The GPLv3 is not compelled to ask if anyone is authorized to install a kernel. It also don't inquire if it has to be convenient. The only thing it asks is can a user who wants to, and who is authorized to, and who posses the source given to him/her, along with the binary, can he/she install and run modified version, and the GPLv3 says yes. If the current language of the policy is hard to comprehend, they need to work on it more. The TAB felt that the intent was fine, it was more the language that needed work. Again, the TAB felt that this was another area where an example would help. And it didn't have to be a kernel example, it could be higher up and apply to applications and plugins.
It was also brought up that considering the current affairs of the kernel and it remaining GPLv2, how will derived kernel work that is written as released as GPLv3 work, as a dual license scheme? The question comes down to do you have permission to drop that code into GPLv2. You need permission from the rights holder.
There was a request to talk a little about the patent changes in GPLv3. There are 3 things done that aren't in v2. Replacement of an implicit grant by and explicit grant. However, globalization is a problem here. The second thing is to the expanded Section 7. There are forms of patent retaliation provisions but they are cooperating with code that comes into GPL code but retain those restrictions. There is a small retaliation provision in that if you sue someone else for making the very same GPL'd code changes you did, you then lose the rights to modify the code. The third and final part of Section 11 is if you have a patent cross license <call dropped out>. Vendors have lots and lots of cross licenses. Vendors wind up exporting patent risk downstream. Some are very aware and have become taking measures to avoid downstream risk, others have not.
There was also discussion on why Eben wanted to talk with the TAB. The TAB does not represent all the kernel developers (these was only 4-5 in the room + 2 on the phone). There are many critical kernel developers that were not present, ie Linus. However, it was noted that those present in the room were crucial users of the GPL. He wanted to talk to people who are welcome to the idea of the GPL. He wanted to talk with the most knowledgeable people in the world. He wanted to hear and learn from the members of the TAB. How does the TAB see these questions as people and as experts. The goal is to make a license that will work well for people.
The GPLv3 comes down to a drafting challenge. The agreement of appropriate policy.
Report from the OSDL Board Meeting
The OSDL board discussed a few donations, the Linux trademark, and a report from Stuart. They talked about the Fellowship Fund Legal Charter. The TAB has approximately 7 days to discuss then give our final word. James passed out the TAB charter as well.
Legal Charter for the Fellowship Fund
There was no objections from anyone regarding the legal charter. The only question was what happens to any remaining funds if the program or OSDL were to terminate. Any remaining funds to go OSDL or into bankruptcy. Some had an issue with that. It was pointed out it is a trust issue. Unless the TAB wants to go about setting up their own trust, and someone wants to be held responsible for it, the TAB has to operate under the terms of the OSDL charter. A motion was made to accept the current draft of the Fellowship Fund Legal Charter as final. Motion passed.
There were some discrepancies between some copies of the Charter people had, which one was the latest version. James sent the proposed version to the mailing list. The TAB is to hold discussion about finalizing the TAB Charter via the mailing list. The only point of contention appears to be the confidentiality clause. Some feel it is sufficient, others do not. As an action item, it is to be settled out on the list.
It was noted that the verbatim style of the minutes might pose a legal liability. It was related to the notion that tape recorders are not allowed for liability reasons. A few members of the TAB voiced they didn't really like the verbatim style anyways thus the minutes will now come in summary and action item form.
It was also asked if there were any funds for the Hardware Lending Library. OSDL was unaware and took it as an action item to look into it.