FSF publishes 'last call' draft of GPLv3; looks good for Novell

Summary:The Free Software Foundation published its near final draft of the third version of the General Public License and expects to officially publish the license on June 29.The GPLv3--you know the one that's a big risk to the Microsoft-Novell pact--has been tweaked to incorporate feedback and address license compatibility.

The Free Software Foundation published its near final draft of the third version of the General Public License and expects to officially publish the license on June 29.

The GPLv3--you know the one that's a big risk to the Microsoft-Novell pact--has been tweaked to incorporate feedback and address license compatibility. Overall though the latest GPL (blog focus, all news and Techmeme) looks good for Novell. eWeek's Peter Galli concluded that the latest GPL preserves Novell's Microsoft deal.

For its part, Novell said the following on its blog:

Nothing in the last call draft of GPLv3 suggests that the final version of GPLv3 will inhibit Novell’s ability to include GPLv3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell offerings as these technologies become available. We note that the language which grandfathered the Novell–Microsoft agreement remains in the draft. We will continue to distribute Linux and other GPL’d technologies. All of this is good news for our customers.

The terms of the last call draft suggest that the final version of GPLv3 will not interrupt our partnership with Microsoft. We remain committed to that partnership, which we believe will help grow the Linux market and satisfy longstanding customer needs. We look forward to providing the fruits of our joint technical interoperability to our customers and our fellow community members in accord with our previously outlined roadmap.

Among the key changes in the GPLv3 according to the FSF:

  • GPLv3 is compatible with version 2 of the Apache License. It also supports BitTorrent.
  • Novell can keep its deal with Microsoft, but future deals won't be acceptable. The FSF said: "Distributors who make discriminatory patent deals after March 28 may not convey software under GPLv3. Novell is not prohibited from distributing this software because the patent protection they arranged with Microsoft last November can be turned against Microsoft to the community's benefit."
  • More clarification on how customers can modify free software.
  • Consumer protection has been outlined more.

As for further reading, Richard Stallman published an essay on the new GPL and why folks should move to it. The FSF also has a guide on the new draft and an FAQ.

Topics: Microsoft, Open Source, Software

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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