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March 3, 2006

Technical Advisory Board Conference Call Minutes

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

Action Items:

 - 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

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.

TAB Charter


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