FSF Releases “Last Call” Draft of GPLv3

        Hello folks, some grand news for FOSS enthusiasts. The Free Software Foundation will publish the version 3 of the famous GPL shortly. As per the FSF site, it is to be released tomorrow, June 29th 2007. This, would be a landmark even in the history of software. Companies like Microsoft that had been cheating lots of people on patents and Royaolties will face setbacks.

The FSF has also published an essay by Richard Stallman on the benefits of upgrading to GPLv3. “Keeping a program under GPLv2 won’t create problems,” he writes. “The reason to migrate is because of the existing problems which GPLv3 will fix, such as tivoization, DRM, and threats from software patents. . . . Further advantages of GPLv3 include better internationalization, gentler termination, support for BitTorrent, and compatibility with the Apache license.”

Changes in this draft include:

  • GPLv3 is now compatible with version 2.0 of the Apache License.
  • Distributors who make discriminatory patent deals after March 28 may not convey software under GPLv3. Novell is not prohibited from distributing this software because the patent protection they arranged with Microsoft last November can be turned against Microsoft to the community’s benefit.
  • Terms have been added clarifying how you can contract for private modification of free software, or for a data center to run it for you.
  • A reference to a US consumer protection statute has been replaced by explicit criteria, for greater clarity outside the US.

In his essay on why one should mavo to the third version, RMS clearly and beautifully says how powerful and protective the third version of GPL is ? To quote a few paragraphs,
One major danger that GPLv3 will block is tivoization. Tivoization means computers (called “appliances”) contain GPL-covered software that you can’t change, because the appliance shuts down if it detects modified software. The usual motive for tivoization is that the software has features the manufacturer thinks lots of people won’t like. The manufacturers of these computers take advantage of the freedom that free software provides, but they don’t let you do likewise.

Another threat that GPLv3 resists is that of patent deals like the Novell-Microsoft deal. Microsoft wants to use its thousands of patents to make GNU/Linux users pay Microsoft for the privilege, and made this deal to try to get that. The deal offers Novell’s customers rather limited protection from Microsoft patents.

Copyright 2007 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article are permitted worldwide without royalty in any medium provided this notice is preserved.

For More about GPLv3: http://gplv3.fsf.org;

For RMS essay on why to move to GPLv3: http://gplv3.fsf.org/rms-why.html

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