With regard to the discussion process around the first draft of GPL 3.0, Moglen said some 700 comments have been received thus far, a number far lower than he had imagined when the discussion document was released earlier this year. But that is not because of disinterest in the process, but rather because the system created for this is creating a high quality of dialogue and avoiding the duplication of comments.But, while there are a wide range of issues that have been raised so far, the patent and DRM (Digital Rights Management) provisions are the two that are attracting the most comments. While the current patent system is of limited value to most companies and creates great uncertainty, doubt and unhappiness among their customers, anything GPL 3.0 does to make them responsible for the downstream consequences of those patents involves a change and raises fears. "Nobody loves the current system or how they have to deal with it, but they also dont want what they see as unilateral nuclear disarmament," Moglen said. "The case between Research In Motion and patent holding company NTP was a very important moment as it was a stark reminder that as long as there are patents out there, no one is safe, no matter how many promises they have." GPL 3.0 brings with it an incremental change down a road that all of these patent holders are going to have to go down, he said. With regard to the GPL 3.0 DRM provisions, Moglen said this issue has the potential to become a crisis on the same scale that patents are today and that license is simply protecting the free software industrys ability to create code by tinkering with it. The GPL 3s DRM provisions are raising eyebrows. Click here to read more. "The ability to tinker with and change code without constraint is an effective tool for free software developers, and without it our mode of creation will be obliterated. DRM attempts to take that tool away from us," he said. Moglen said he expects that by mid-May the FSF will start issuing opinions and resolving issues raised in the commentary process. That will be followed by the release of a second GPL 3.0 DISCUSSION document, along with the first discussion document of the Lesser GPL. Following another break in the fall to consider comments, issue opinions and resolve issues on that second draft will be a last-call comment period of some 60 days and the wrapping up of the process. "By late 2006 or early 2007 we will issue a set of copyleft licenses that are updated to current market conditions and which we expect will remain effective for seven to 10 years," Moglen said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
The feedback is helping the FSF see alternative arguments that it had not considered, where clarification is needed and how the dialogue around policy could be sharpened, he said.