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GPLv3 set for formal launch

Let the countdown begin

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After months of pre-launch wrangling, legal jousting and clause tweaking, the Free Software Foundation is ready to launch the final version of the GNU GPL version 3. The champagne corks will officially pop at 12 noon, EDT, tomorrow, Friday June 29.

Announcing the launch, the FSF said: "Now with the release of GPLv3, we will see new defenses extended to free software. These defenses will continue the long history of fighting all efforts to make free software proprietary."

Delivering the updated licence has not been an easy task. As various draft versions were made public for community discussion, the new terms of the license came under heavy fire.

Most controversially, the writers had included a clause that seeks to prevent patent protection deals like that struck late last year by Microsoft and Novell.

Naturally Microsoft was among the first to the fray, with proprietary software body the ACT (Association for Competitive Technology) joining the fight in short order. Its lawyers argued that the clause could leave both the drafters and the users of GPL open to new liabilities, and accusations of tortious interference.

But the FSF and its allies dismissed the suggestion, pointing out that no one would be forced to use the licence. It also noted that the versions that have been made public are just drafts. Tomorrow, we will find out just how much the controversy has affected the terms.

If you want a piece of the open source action, point your browser at www.fsf.org to see the bearded one make the announcement. ®

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