Six-Month International Review Process Leads to Revisions and
BOSTON and NEW YORK, July 27, 2006 -- The Free Software Foundation
(FSF) and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) today have released
the second discussion draft of the GNU General Public License (GPL)
version 3 (GPLv3). This new draft marks the middle of a year-long
public review process designed to evaluate proposed changes and to
finalize a new version of the GPL.
The GNU GPL is the most widely used free software license worldwide:
almost three quarters of all free software programs (also known as
"Free/Libre and Open Source Software", or FLOSS) are distributed under
this license. Since the GPL's last revision more than 15 years ago,
free software development, distribution, and use have changed
Since the release of the initial GPLv3 discussion draft in January,
members of the free software community have submitted nearly one
thousand suggestions for improvement. Many have continued the
discussion at international GPLv3 conferences held in the United
States, Brazil, and Spain. With the help of discussion committees,
the Free Software Foundation and the Software Freedom Law Center have
considered all the issues raised by public comments. The new draft of
GPLv3 contains extensive revisions in light of these comments.
"We have considered each suggestion with care," said Eben Moglen,
founder and Chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, which
represents various free software projects and is assisting FSF in
revising the new license. "By listening to people from around the
world, we are working toward a license that acts consistently in many
different legal systems and in a variety of situations."
"The primary purpose of the GNU GPL is to preserve users' freedom to
use, share, and modify free software," said Richard Stallman, founder
of FSF and original author of the GPL. "We depend on public review to
make the GPL do this job reliably."
About the Revisions
The new draft clarifies that the license only directly restricts DRM
in the special case in which it is used to prevent people from sharing
or modifying GPLv3-covered software. The clarified DRM section
preserves the spirit of the original GPL, which forbids adding
additional unfree restrictions to free software. GPLv3 does not
prohibit the implementation of DRM features, but prevents them from
being imposed on users in a way that they cannot remove.
Other significant revisions in the new draft include a reworked
license compatibility section, and provisions that specifically allow
GPL-covered programs to be distributed on certain file sharing
networks such as BitTorrent.
Additionally, this release includes the first draft of the GNU Lesser
General Public License (LGPL) version 3. The LGPL license covers many
free software system libraries, including some published by the Free
The text of the new GPL and LGPL drafts can be found on the web at
<http://gplv3.fsf.org/>. The site also includes audio commentary from
Eben Moglen; a rationale document which describes the changes to the
new draft; and further information about the GPLv3 revision process.
As with the first draft, community members are encouraged to submit
comments online at gplv3.fsf.org
Throughout the remainder of the process, there will continue to be
international GPLv3 discussion conferences, including one next month
in Bangalore, India. A third discussion draft of GPLv3 is expected to
be released this fall, and the final version will be released between
January and March of 2007.
"Last November, we published a document which outlined the process for
drafting the new GPL," said Eben Moglen, chair of SFLC. "As of now,
we are still on schedule for a final release in early 2007."
HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!