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GPL: Third Time's The Charm?

The third iteration of the third version of the General Public License backs off -- a little bit -- on some of its more controversial aspects.

Thomas Claburn

March 30, 2007

1 Min Read

The Free Software Foundation released the third, and most likely final, draft of the third version of the General Public License for comment last week and, as expected, it incorporates controversial provisions concerning digital rights management, patents, and software as a service. The GPL governs the use of open source software. The third version has been a hot topic since the first draft was floated by the FSF early last year. Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds has indicated he might not adhere to GPL3.

The third version is narrower in some of its prohibitions, says Mark Radcliffe of DLA Piper and general counsel of the Open Source Initiative, such as the ban on DRM technology, which has evolved to simply addressing situations in which DRM might prevent people from exercising their rights under the GPL.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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