Feeds

Moglen on GPL 3.0

Pac Man stikes back

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sway: Microsoft's new Office app doesn't have an Undo function
Content aggregation, meet the workplace ... oh
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.