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FSF Releases "Last Call" Draft of GPLv3

From: Joshua Gay
Subject: FSF Releases "Last Call" Draft of GPLv3
Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 13:52:00 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20070306)

FSF Releases "Last Call" Draft of GPLv3

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA---Thursday, May 31, 2007---The Free
Software Foundation (FSF) today released the fourth and "last call"
draft for version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), the
world's most widely used free software license. The Foundation will
hear comments on the latest draft for 29 days, and expects to
officially publish the license on Friday, June 29, 2007.

The new draft incorporates the feedback received from the general
public and official discussion committees since the release of the
previous draft on March 28, 2007. FSF executive director Peter Brown
said, "We've made a few very important improvements based on the
comments we've heard, most notably with license compatibility. Now
that the license is almost finished, we can look forward to
distributing the GNU system under GPLv3, and making its additional
protections available to the whole community."

The FSF has also published an essay by Richard Stallman on the
benefits of upgrading to GPLv3. "Keeping a program under GPLv2 won't
create problems," he writes. "The reason to migrate is because of the
existing problems which GPLv3 will fix, such as tivoization, DRM, and
threats from software patents. . . . Further advantages of GPLv3
include better internationalization, gentler termination, support for
BitTorrent, and compatibility with the Apache license."

Changes in this draft include:

  * GPLv3 is now compatible with version 2.0 of the Apache License.

  * 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.

  * Terms have been added clarifying how you can contract for
    private modification of free software, or for a data center to
    run it for you.

  * A reference to a US consumer protection statute has been
    replaced by explicit criteria, for greater clarity outside the

More information about this draft including rationale documentation
detailing the latest changes is available at;
Stallman's essay, Why Upgrade to GPL Version 3, can be found at Since this is the "last call"
draft, the FSF is strongly encouraging community members to scrutinize
the license text and leave feedback through the web site.

About the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL)

The GNU GPL is the most widely used free software license worldwide:
almost three quarters of all free software packages are distributed
under this license. It is not, however, the only free software

Richard Stallman wrote the version 1 and 2 of the GNU GPL with legal
advice from Perkins, Smith & Cohen. Version 1 was released in 1989,
and version 2 in 1991. Since 1991, free software use has increased
tremendously, and computing practices have changed, introducing new
opportunities and new threats. In 2005, Stallman began revising the
GPL for version 3. In January 2006, the FSF began a systematic process
of public review and feedback, with legal advice and organizational
support from the Software Freedom Law Center.

About the GNU Operating System and Linux

Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a
free software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only
operating system developed specifically for the sake of users'
freedom. See

In 1992, the essential components of GNU were complete, except for
one, the kernel. When in 1992 the kernel Linux was re-released under
the GNU GPL, making it free software, the combination of GNU and Linux
formed a complete free operating system, which made it possible for
the first time to run a PC without non-free software. This combination
is the GNU/Linux system. For more explanation, see

The GNU components in the GNU system will be released under GPL
version 3, once it is finalized. The licensing of Linux will be
decided by the developers of Linux. If they decide to stay with GPL
version 2, then the GNU/Linux system will contain GNU packages using
GNU GPL version 3, alongside Linux under GNU GPL version 2. Many other
packages with various licenses make up the full GNU/Linux system.

About Free Software and Open Source

The free software movement's goal is freedom for computer users. Some,
especially corporations, advocate a different viewpoint, known as
"open source", which cites only practical goals such as making
software powerful and reliable, focuses on development models, and
avoids discussion of ethics and freedom. These two viewpoints are
different at the deepest level. For more explanation, see

The GNU GPL is used by developers with various views, but it was
written to serve the ethical goals of the free software movement. Says
Stallman, "The GNU GPL makes sense in terms of its purpose: freedom
and social solidarity. Trying to understand it in terms of the goals
and values of open source is like trying understand a CD drive's
retractable drawer as a cupholder. You can use it for that, but that
is not what it was designed for."

About The Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to
promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and
redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and
use of free (as in freedom) software---particularly the GNU operating
system and its GNU/Linux variants---and free documentation for free
software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and
political issues of freedom in the use of software. Its Web site,
located at, is an important source of information about
GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media contacts:

Brett Smith
Licensing Compliance Engineer
Free Software Foundation
617-542-5942 x18

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