Hit the Ground Running

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-10-28 Print this article Print

Moglen said that a firm end date for the process around GPL 3 will also be announced, and that will be about a year out from the announcement. The plan was also to "hit the ground running," and there would be an opening international conference, followed by regular public meetings around the world in a way that users could understand and access, he said.
GPL 3 aims to address a range of issues facing open-source developers and vendors, including intellectual property licensing and patent concerns, the question of how to deal with software used over a network, and trusted computing.
Read more here about GPL Version 3. Diane Peters, the general counsel for the Open Source Development Labs of Beaverton, Ore., told eWEEK that, from OSDLs perspective, there were two different aspects to the revisions. The first related to substantive changes in rights and obligations that will be modified. "As we all know, the growth and success of open source from a technological and business-model perspective has grown at a race and pace that could not have been anticipated when GPL 2.0 was first adopted," she said in another exclusive interview with eWEEK ahead of OSBC East. "I anticipate those areas as being the ones in which many of the changes will be focused and debate will ensue; issues such as Web services, trusted computing, source code distribution requirements, and patent termination provisions," Peters said. The other aspect, which was equally important, was clarifying the language defining rights and obligations that were not changing substantively, so as to eliminate ambiguities that resulted in uncertainty for businesses and developers. "The challenge will be balancing the need for clarification with the FSFs stated objective of preserving the license as the literary work of Richard Stallman," she said. Asked what role Stallman would play in the process, Moglen said all of his strengths and skills would be fully on view throughout the process, "but he is also a man who wants to get things put before him in a clear, well presented and concentrated way so that he can rule on issues in a fashion that will put the best of what he has to offer the movement in its best light," he said. While there would be some eight people working full-time on the process around GPL 3, there would also be some 60 other people chairing committees and playing major public roles in the discussions, "but they will be outsiders with interests and stakes and concerns. I also expect there will be many thousands of people who want to be heard and they are all important to the process," he said. Companies and other parties who wanted to help hold international meetings would be allowed to do so as hosts, and some resources would be raised as travel money for those members of the community who needed to participate but could not afford their own travel would have the opportunity to do so, Moglen said. "But this is not going to be a sponsored process. We cannot allow that, so the Software Freedom Law Center, acting for the FSF and FSF itself will staff and provide the necessary logistics for this process," he said. Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, has told eWEEK that while the GPL is not perfect, and one of his issues has been how verbose it is, "nothing is ever perfect. So while I may have some niggling concerns with the GPL, they are in the details, and, in the end, I actually think that the GPL simply is the best license for the kernel." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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