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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "GPL v3 takes shape in Sydney"

From: rjack
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- "GPL v3 takes shape in Sydney"
Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2006 09:07:24 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.0; en-US; rv:1.7.2) Gecko/20040804 Netscape/7.2 (ax)

Alexander Terekhov wrote:;1950825836;fp;2;fpid;1

In opening the seminar, the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre's executive
director, David Vaile, said the purpose of the event was not to reach a
consensus but to ventilate issues surrounding GPL3, in particular its
suitability for non-US legal systems.

It is estimated between 70 and 80 percent of all free and open source
software is licensed under the GPL, including prolific software like
Linux, Samba, and more recently Java.

UNSW professor of law Graham Greenleaf said the GPL is an "outstanding
attempt" to create an internationalized "one-size-fits-all" open source

"We encourage submissions as to what improvements can be made even at
this late stage," Greenleaf said.

In both a pre-recorded video and live telephone call, Eben Moglen
communicated the purpose of the GPL and how updating it will preserve
the FSF's philosophy of protecting developers, and users, rights.

Moglen said the next draft of GPL3 is due in four weeks with the final
version to be published on March 15, 2007.

"GPL3 is an attempt to make a licence that would work identically across
the world's legal jurisdictions and we believe we have come close to
this," Moglen said, adding that the licence includes measures to provide
a "usable patent defence".

"IT and consumer electronics companies have strong patent portfolios and
we believe the last draft will show how the community can defend itself
against patent infringement processes."

Also on the GPL3 radar are digital rights management, which Moglen said
is an "imperative problem" the licence must address, not undoing any
business needs of vendors, and addressing compatibility with other free
software licences.

Moglen said GPL2 pushed free software from a niche concept into
mainstream technology and stressed knowledge is best produced when it is
free to share.
GPL3 will be inherently incompatible with the version it replaces, but
according to Tridge that is less of a concern than having a static
licence which is rendered obsolete by changing laws.

"GPL3 delighted me and I hope more people choose it for the right
reasons, not the wrong reasons," Tridge said, adding open source
projects are in danger if they are complacent and stay with old licences
because laws governing their validity continue to change.

Tridge said the GPL is aimed at ensuring the "chain" of software rights
from developer to user is not diluted because it allows direct contact
with the work's author.

"DRM can be used as an impediment to rights and patents may prevent
distribution," he said.

While conceding the GPL is not for everyone, Tridge said the fact that
more people are thinking about the licence they use and software vendors
can still run proprietary applications on GPL-licensed operating

Some projects, include the Linux kernel, intend to stay with GPL2 in the
immediate term, but Tridge is confident most projects will convert to
version three over time.

"The Samba project intends to move to GPLv3 quickly after it is
released," he said. "We've been following the development of GPLv3
closely, and think that it suits us very well."

A panel session was then held at the event, with nine members of the
open source and legal communities discussing how GPL3 can be enhanced.

One popular idea was to make GPL3 clearer to understand and an
"abridged" or summarized version which would be good for the community.

Not adding to the complexity of the document was also suggested because
the licence is lengthy and nobody has discovered a way to reduce it yet.

Moglen praised the efforts of all international contributors to GPL3 but
did say the licence represents the FSF's own mission and its development
is not a process of consensus legislation.


"The Samba project intends to move to GPLv3 quickly after it is
released," he said. "We've been following the development of GPLv3
closely, and think that it suits us very well."

I suspect the Samba project is so nervous about software patents because of Microsoft's patent # 5,218,697 --- "Method and system for networking computers having varying file architectures".

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