Issues Still on the

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

Table"> Stallman said they had tried to make sure that none of the added license requirements caused future legal issues or trouble for those with programs already running under GPL 2 and for GPL 3.0. "We have done our best, but if you see anything in a requirement added that could be problematic for things licensed under GPL 2 or later, please tell us about this, as we really need to fix them," he said.
The GPL is also not a contract and people are not required to accept the license in order to receive a copy of the program, Moglen said.
But, Stallman said, "That does not mean that we are in favor of, or against, copyright law. We are not defending the global copyright system imposed on the world. We use it simply because it is there and we are trying to do some good with it wherever we can." Another issue the community now needs to face head-on is how to prevent people from being deliberately endangered by risks that others with patents do not face, Moglen said. "In short, we need to face the issue of cross-licensing. The basic principle is that parties should act with recognition of the dangers that patents impose and demand that they act to constrain the harm that patents are doing to that community at large," he said. Doug Levin, the president and CEO of IP (intellectual property) tracker Black Duck Software Inc., said he welcomed the move to address DRM, licensing and patent issues. "The new draft addresses DRM in the context of complex legal, computing, cultural, business and societal problems," he said. Other issues addressed by the GPL 3.0 draft include IP licensing and patents, as well as the differences in copyright law between English-speaking countries, Western Europe and Asia. "These will have lawyers making a variety of nuanced arguments," Levin said. But he noted that GPL 3.0 would require greater software compliance management because of the rigorous distinction being drawn between source and object code, "as well as the need to document exceptions to GPL 3.0, which the license permits." Karen Copenhaver, the general counsel for Black Duck Software, said a primary issue to be vetted by the community during the GPL3 review process was whether the right to share and improve software licensed under the GPL extended to end users. "In other words, is a user of a Web-based application that is based on modified GPL-licensed code entitled to request and receive the source code for the application? This could be one of the great debates during this process," she said. In the conclusion of his 75-minute address, Moglen said that while some would argue that the license should be shorter—and he and Stallman shared that view—there was a year to try and fix that. "But the protection of freedom and free software is not an easy task or process. However, I am glad that this is all now your problem and no longer ours," he joked. Stallman also apologized for the difficulties involved in holding this event in the United States, and the difficulty involved for many in getting here. "We looked at the possibility of holding the event elsewhere, or holding parallel events, but this was not possible. So all we can do is apologize," he said. 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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