Saturday, February 3, 2007

GPL 3.0 Process - Update

It appears that the GPL commentary and review process is on track. A final draft will be produced by mid-February and the final version will be released by March 15, 2007.

Over one year ago attorneys and other interested parties met at MIT on January 16th to get an introduction to the first draft of GPL 3.0 by the Richard Stallman, Eben Moglen and the FSF.

There are significant issues which are pending, primarily the DRM, patent and GPL compatibility provisions. Any one of these issues may spell doom to GPL 3.0.

As a consequence of this open drafting process some industry changes have been pre-announced: The Linux kernel (currently under GPL 2) is not expected to move to 3.0; MySQL has moved to a “GPL 2 only” model similar to the Linux kernel, and in contrast, Sun announced support of 3.0 (indicating support for a dual license of Open Solaris under GPL3 and Sun’s CDDL license).

If you watch the HBO series "Rome" you know why it was not built in a day. If you look at this process, you know the same. The process has not been perfect and it has been extended (in part because of changing industry circumstances like the Novell-Microsoft deal on patent provisions). But it appears to have consistently hued to the original vision. It has been an open process, enabling developers and large companies alike to make edits to the 3.0 drafts and other suggestions.

I hope that as the process comes to a conclusion that Richard, Eben and the FSF preserve and apply their original vision of the process, listen attentively to industry and other interests, and not agree to quick and expedient fixes.

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