GPLv3: The Ending Of FSF And Stallman?

Aron Schatz
September 12, 2006

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It seems as though the arguements about the version 3 of the GPL are really heating up. The changes in the draft of the new version will make GPLed software very hard to put in some devices. In the end, many companies may move away from the GPL and go with a more 'free' license. Irony...


In addition, GPLv3-based software will be completely off the table for medical devices. Government safety and efficacy testing is rigorous and very specific. A device must be tested in the exact configuration it will operate in, and regulators won't take, "Well, we hope it will be this one" as an answer. More importantly, the lawyers would have a field day with "open" devices. Perhaps most ignored, however, is the effect this policy would have on software where privacy protection is important. For example, the government document creation and management market is a key target for the open-source community. Yet the definition of DRM in the new license would cover key-based access control for tools that create documents as well as music and movies.


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