Share and Share Alike

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-11-22 Print this article Print

These include making a decision about Web services. Currently, if developers write an application using GPL parts and if that application is distributed, users must abide by the GPLs requirements of share and share alike, Moglen said. But the right of private modification is also an important right that needs to be sustained, he said.

Another important area is trusted computing, "which means computers you cannot trust," Moglen said, adding that if the FSF uses its leverage correctly, it could affect what kinds of trust are recognized in the network.

"But if we dont use our leverage correctly, we could wind up in a world where free software is injured very badly, where you can modify code but you cannot do anything with that modified code because the hardware will not run that code because it cannot be signed Microsoft or IBM," he said. "If that happens, free software will be excluded from hardware, and that is not an outcome we can tolerate."

"[Trust is] a critical point and extends well beyond the IT industry," said Zymaris. "We, as IT professionals, must act as stewards for the coming century, which, more than any previous era, will be built atop information technology. If we want a free society in the future, we must prevent any organization or collective from attaining such a level of immense control over the platforms of the future."

Moglen declined to specify when GPL 3 will debut. "We need it to be right, and the community needs to be available and adopt it and make good out of it," he said.

There is also a great deal of work to be done to allow the large number of stakeholders who have grown up around the GPL to have an opportunity to express Opinions and to have their thoughts taken into account in trying to frame the best possible license, Moglen said.

The FSF may start soliciting the input of the open-source community as early as this year. The primary goal is ensuring that code licensed under the current version of the GPL, Version 2, can be combined with code licensed under Version 3, said officials of the Boston-based FSF.

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


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