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GPL 3: Open source to open closed shop

Delayed license release goes public

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The open source movement will tomorrow publish the next public discussion draft of its free software license, GPL 3.0, after cloistered talks over patent challenges from software corporations delayed its release.

Free Software Foundation (FSF) licensing compliance engineer Brett Smith said in a statement yesterday: "We had never planned to let so much time pass between public releases of the license."

The last discussion draft of the GNU General Public License (GPL) was released last July. There was an explanation for its delay.

"We felt it was important to fully discuss a few specific issues, including the recent patent deal between Novell and Microsoft, before proceeding with the process."

However, he said: "We remain absolutely committed to hearing input from as much of the free software community as possible before publishing a final version of the license."

The current draft will be open for discussion for 60 days after its release at 10am (East Coast US time) tomorrow (Wednesday).

Microsoft and Novell signed an agreement not to sue one another over patents related to Linux after Microsoft made public statements that staked a claim on portions of Linux code.

The FSF's Eben Moglen said last summer that the next GPL release, version 3, would deal with the threat from rich, corporate patent holders. ®

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