Moglen resigns as FSF director

One of the main forces behind the development of the GPL is stepping down from the Free Software Foundation to concentrate on working for the Software Freedom Law Centre

Eben Moglen has resigned as a director of the Free Software Foundation, a position he has held for seven years.

Citing the "winding down" of the drafting of General Public License version 3 (GPLv3), Moglen explained on his blog that "leaving is always hard, but there couldn't be a more appropriate or less disruptive time".

GPLv3 is the third iteration of the most popular licence for open-source software, which has been primarily developed by the FSF. GPLv3 has been bitterly disputed, not least because of a recent patent deal between Microsoft and the manufacturer of Suse Linux software, Novell.

Moglen will now devote more of his time to his role as chairman at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), the legal service which he founded in 2005 to represent key free-software and open-source projects, including the FSF.

"I thought, and continue to think, that [Discussion Draft 3 of GPLv3] would serve beautifully as the final GPLv3," wrote Moglen on his blog. "I agree with [FSF head Richard Stallman] that it was very important to add another cycle of public discussion, and I'm sure the FSF will be making some changes based on that discussion, as it has in response to comments all along. But I think the big issues have been correctly addressed, and that the detailed work — which as lawyers we have to take more seriously than everyone else — is ready for the pressure of reality."

Moglen's blog post went on to note that the drafting project had taken its toll on his professional and personal lives, and he was keen to concentrate more on writing and his professorship of law at Columbia University. "As I return to teaching at Columbia, I need to concentrate more of my remaining spare time and effort on the affairs of the SFLC, which is inevitably going to mean less involvement with the affairs of other organisations I care very much about," he wrote.

He praised the SFLC's work in setting up new administrative and legal strategies for free-software projects. "They are counselling young projects making astonishing, new free software that's going to be rocking businesses' world three or four years from now," Moglen wrote. "We're taking risk out of projects everybody is using or is going to want to use. Helping my colleagues do that work, supporting their growth as they support their clients, is the right thing for me to do right now."