Specific Changes to the

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-01-16 Print this article Print

License"> Some changes to the license include the following text, found in the draft document:
  • "To propagate a work means doing anything with it that requires permission under applicable copyright law, other than executing it on a computer or making private modifications;
  • Modified work must carry prominent notices stating that you changed the work and the date of any change;
  • The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. Object code means any non-source versions of a work. The propagation of covered works is permitted without limitation, provided it does not enable parties other than you to make or receive copies. Propagation which does enable them to do so is permitted as distribution;
  • As a free software license, this License intrinsically disfavored technical attempts to restrict users freedom to copy, modify, and share copyrighted works. Each of its provisions shall be interpreted in light of this specific declaration of the licensors intent;
  • Regardless of any other provision of this License, no permission is given to distribute covered works that illegally invade users privacy;
  • If you distribute a covered work knowingly relying on a patent license you must act to shield downstream users against the possible patent infringement claims from which your license protects you;
  • When you distribute a covered work, you grant a patent license to the recipient, and to anyone that receives any version of the work permitting, for any and all versions."
    Moglen also said that while he and Stallman were not "grand theorists of patent retaliation, we have been saying for 20 years that patents would be a terrible threat to software freedom, and I hope it is clear to all now that we were correct."
    GPL 3.0 in its current form would bring unlimited rights to use software under the GPL, but would also prevent anyone trying to use patents to stop others from making amendments. The distribution clauses have been only slightly modified and no changes have been made that would make any existing distribution fall outside the GPL, Moglen said. "No one must come to the conclusion they must fight to remain in the community if what they were doing was legal under the GPL 2.0 and nothing they were doing was restricting user rights in some sort of DRM-ish way," he said. The "copyleft" clause of the license has been modified for greater clarity. Copyleft is a method for making a program, and all its successive versions, free. "Anyone who has a copy of the binary is entitled to a copy of the source, no matter how they came upon it. Notices of copyright status and attribution have also been modified," he said. "GPL 2.0 was as strong a copyleft license as could be, and we have now added additional permissions, or exceptions, as they were known under GPL 2.0. GPL 3.0 formalizes that and has some additional rules," he said. The concept of unwritten permissions had caused a certain amount of grief and "was a provision we no longer wished to renew," Moglen said. In other changes, any permissive free software licenses that were not compatible with GPL 2.0 would now be compatible with GPL 3.0, he said. "For example, the patent requirements of the Eclipse License meet the requirements of this license as well as ASL, which are separated from GPL 2 by their patent retaliation terms. Were this draft discussion document the actual GPL 3.0 license, the Eclipse Public License would be compatible with it," Moglen said. Asked which free and open-source licenses would not be compatible with GPL 3.0, Stallman said the BSD Advertising clause was still not allowed, as going against the goals of the license. Moglen added that the goal was to take permissive licenses and to make them compatible with the GPL wherever possible, particularly where unintentional content had caused them to be incompatible. But there are still licenses with forms of patent retaliation that could be used in aggression, and those would still be incompatible with the GPL because the treatment of patent retaliation remained overly broad, he said. Next Page: Issues still on the table.

    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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