RealTime IT News

Better Late Than Never For GPL 3 Draft 3

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has finally revealed plans to release the third discussion draft of the GPL version 3 license tomorrow. GPL, the defining license of the Free Software movement, has not undergone revision since the GPL version 2 license was released in June 1991.

The new draft comes eight months after the second draft was released and will reflect the new open source world order that has been wrought by Microsoft and Novell in the intervening time span.

Expected to be broader and have global applicability to both documentation and hardware, the third draft will take aim at the deal between Microsoft and Novell, which provides Novell users with a promise from Microsoft not to sue Novell's Linux customers for alleged Linux patent infringements.

The first draft release of GPL 3 added strict language and terms in reference to DRM (Digital Rights Management) and patents. The second draft softened the language somewhat but still drew criticism from large vendors, such as HP.

A new termination provision will also be added. GPL version 3 will provide for both notice and cure, so that immediate termination is not the only remedy for license violations, as opposed to GPL version 2, which only provides for immediate license termination if a user is found to be in violation.

At the recent Open Solutions Summit in New York, Mark Radcliffe, a partner in legal firm DLA Piper, noted that the third draft would likely include specific provisions to prevent another Novell/Microsoft-type deal on patents. Radcliffe said he expects the new draft to also include copyright language that is less U.S. centric.

The third draft will be open for public comment for a period of at least 60 days, though the FSF may extend that period or publish additional language for review after the 60-day period is over depending on feedback.

"After this discussion period is over, we will publish a last-call draft," Brett Smith, licensing compliance engineer at the FSF, wrote in a mailing list posting. "That draft will be open for comment for 30 days, and the final license will be published shortly afterwards."