Feeds

Moglen on GPL 3.0

Pac Man stikes back

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is soliciting input for the next version of the GNU General Public License (GPL), a release expected to tackle internationalization, web services and security. It's the first revision to the license for 14 years.

The group is preparing to announce nominations for a number of advisory committees that will take community feedback from more than 15,000 individuals and an estimated 800 organizations on the next GPL. The committees will then advocate proposed changes to the community.

The final decision over what goes into GPL 3.0, though, is likely to rest with GPL's original author Richard Stallman, according to FSF general counsel Eben Moglen.

Speaking at LinuxWorld in San Francisco, California, he claimed that GPL 3.0 is likely to be the largest non-government act of legislation in the history of the world, because of the number of individuals and organizations involved. A first draft of GPL 3.0 is expected in early 2007.

According to Moglen, FSF's decision to change the GPL is designed to "shore-up [and] renovate" the license to protect innovation and is not a "defensive play".

In 2001, Bill Gates, Microsoft's chief software architect, said the The GPL was "Pac-man-like", as it undermined the intellectual property and royalty rights of developers. Despite this attack, the GPL has become widely used in commercial and non-commercial development. Some ISVs are now beginning to offer open source products under a dual license model that covers the GPL and a non-GPL "commercial" license. Moglen indicated there would be no compulsion for those with products licensed under GPL 2.0 to upgrade. He said differences between the two licenses would likely be "infinitesimal" but it would be "nice" if those using GPL 2.0 moved to GPL 3.0.

Moglen called GPL 2.0 a "US-centric" license that had performed well in different languages and internal legal markets, but that this could change.

"Internationalization has been sought... but it's a minefield. We will do what we can. It is among the most necessary in the reconsiderations and the revisions of GPL," Moglen said.

On web services, Moglen said GPL required a "single legal phrase" that satisfied companies with different definitions of what it means to run software in the kinds of distributed environments that are the bedrock of web services.

Security will also be a focus, as Moglen said GPL would address what he called "computers users can't trust" or "trusted computing". He appeared to rule-out support for digital rights management (DRM) technologies, that are designed to assign rights of access to code and content to users using different criteria.

"It's not our goal... to separate the world into permanently free and permanently unfree parts... our goal is to use freedom to spread freedom," Moglen said. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Whoah! How many Google Play apps want to read your texts?
Google's app permissions far too lax – security firm survey
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
OpenWRT gets native IPv6 slurping in major refresh
Also faster init and a new packages system
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.