New GPL open-source software licence launched

The Free Software Foundation has released the first draft of the General Public License version 3, as the first move to update GPL’s patent and digital rights management provisions, which currently cover most open-source software.

The Free Software Foundation has released the first draft of the General Public License version 3, as the first move to update GPL’s patent and digital rights management provisions, which currently cover most open-source software.

The GPL version 3 draft can be downloaded from the FSF’s website, which comes with an explanation of the changes and a commentary section.

The revised GPL has been launched at this week’s GPL conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Proposed GPL revisions include provisions to ensure digital rights management mechanisms don’t curtail software freedoms, and the granting of patent rights by anyone redistributing GPL-governed software.

In addition, there is a retaliation clause that prohibits an organisation from using privately modified GPL software if it files a patent infringement lawsuit relating to that software.

The FSF hopes to complete GPL version 3 by January 2007. A second discussion draft is planned to be released in June, with a possible third draft in autumn.

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