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Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- linux-watch: "GPL version 3 arrives"

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPLv3 comedy unfolding -- linux-watch: "GPL version 3 arrives"
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2007 22:27:35 +0200

GPL version 3 arrives 

Jun. 29, 2007

As expected, the FSF (Free Software Foundation) released the
long-awaited GPLv3 (GNU General Public License version 3), the third
generation of the world's most popular free software license.

"Since we founded the free software movement, over 23 years ago, the
free software community has developed thousands of useful programs that
respect the user's freedom," said Richard Stallman, the founder and
president of the FSF during a noon EDT online presentation. "The
programs are in the GNU/Linux operating system, as well as personal
computers, telephones, Internet servers, and more. Most of these
programs use the GNU GPL to guarantee every user the freedom to run,
study, adapt, improve, and redistribute the program."

According to the FSF, the GPLv3 strengthens this guarantee, by ensuring
that users can modify the free software on their personal and household
devices, and granting patent licenses to every user. It also extends
compatibility with other free software licenses and increases
international uniformity.

Jeremy Allison, a Google employee and member of the Samba team, which
has long been a GPLv3 supporter, stated on Samba's behalf that he sees
the new license as "a great improvement on the older GPL," and that it
is "a necessary update to deal with the new threats to free software
that have emerged since version 2 of the GPL."

The FSF also stated that "The warm embrace of much of the community
should come as no surprise, for the license is the final result of an
unprecedented drafting process that has seen four published drafts in
eighteen months."

Other open source advocates, notably Linus Torvalds and many of Linux's
other core developers, find the GPLv3 unacceptable. James E.J.
Bottomley, CTO of Steeleye and Linux kernel developer, recently gave a
"Tip of the hat to the FSF," adding that "they listened to our [Linux
developers] complaints about the license." Still, he doesn't see it
changed enough, and therefore expects that "The universe will be GPLv2
and GPLv3. The kernel will be GPLv2, the tool-chain (the FSF-created
development tools) will be GPLv3." 

The FSF, however, even without the support of the single most important
open-source project -- Linux -- tries to paint the new license in the
rosiest colors possible. "By hearing from so many different groups in a
public drafting process, we have been able to write a license that
successfully addresses a broad spectrum of concerns. But even more
importantly, these different groups have had an opportunity to find
common ground on important issues facing the free software community
today, such as patents [story], TiVoization [story], and Treacherous
[aka, "Trusted"] Computing," said Peter Brown, the FSF's executive
director in a statement.

Karl Berry, long-time GNU developer and Texinfo maintainer, believes
that "the GPL is the fundamental license that ties the free software
community together, and version 3 does an excellent job of updating the
license to the present-day computing reality." 

Over fifteen GNU programs will be released under the new license today,
and the entire GNU Project will follow suit in the coming months,
according to the FSF. The FSF will also encourage adoption of the
license through education and outreach programs. "A lot of time and
effort went into this license. Now free programs must adopt it so as to
offer their users its stronger protection for their freedom," said

Stallman and Eben Moglen, well known intellectual property lawyer and
for many years the legal counsel for the FSF, began revising the GPL for
version 3 in 2005. Beginning in January of 2006, the FSF began a
systematic process of public review and feedback, with legal advice and
organizational support from the Software Freedom Law Center.

The final GPLv3 license is published at the FSF website. As had been
predicted, there were no significant changes from the last draft. 

-- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

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"Live cheaply," he said, offering some free advice. "Don't buy a house,
a car or have children. The problem is they're expensive and you have
to spend all your time making money to pay for them."

        -- Free Software Foundation's Richard Stallman: 'Live Cheaply'

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