An army of lawyer ants face GPL Version 3 decision

Version 3 will eventually triumph, once the content industries come around. And that may be sooner than we think. In other words Linus is right, but a lot of lawyer ants are going to get stepped on along the way.

The folks at eWeek report that Sun will release OpenSolaris under GPL v. 3 when that license becomes final, probably some time this spring.

The current version of the draft is dated September, and runs to about 4,400 words, as against 2,500 for the current Version 2 license, which came into effect in 1991.

Linus Torvalds insists neither the Version 3 draft nor Digital Rights Management (DRM), which it expressly prohibits, are a big deal. From the 30,000 foot view he's right.

But on the ground a lot of lawyer ants are getting stepped on, unnoticed by those taking the 30,000 foot view. (This little guy, for instance, lives at Math-Science Nucleus.org.)  

Sun's decision gives new momentum to other lawyer ants, at Novell, who might adopt Version 3. It may not change the ant minds at mySQL, which for now is rejecting the new license.

And it is DRM that is at the heart of the dispute. At a time when the people meant to benefit from DRM is starting to back away from its consequences (like dominance of their industry by Apple) the whole argument may seem like a general looking backward.

But officially the content industries remain rigid -- no DRM, no content -- and until that changes the subject remains relevant.

My prediction? Version 3 will eventually triumph, once the content industries come around. And that may be sooner than we think. In other words Linus is right, but a lot of lawyer ants are going to get stepped on along the way.  

Which some say may not be a bad thing.

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