GPL version 3 draft released next week

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) will be holding its first conference on the next revision of the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) next week. The conference follows a period of consultation in which a first draft of the new licence will be under discussion.

Last September the FSF announced it planned a revision of the GPL. The last revision of the GPL (version 2), written by Richard Stallman, was in 1991. Since then the open source movement has mushroomed.

Many major corporations – which have various legal requirements, for example in the area of patent law and the status of software running on remote servers – now run open source software such as Apache, MYSQL or Linux, which is governed by the GPL. There are also issues involving the use of GPL software in devices protected by DRM.

Following the conference, the FSF plans to get more feedback from the open source community. The process will include public discussion, identification of issues, considerations of those issues, and publication of responses.

If all goes well, the FSF expects to publish a second discussion draft by the summer 2006 with a final discussion draft due in the autumn. The final GPLv3 licence is expected to appear in the spring of 2007.

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