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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-02-02 Print this article Print

The issue of Web services has to be considered, he said. Some in the community are calling for a strong "copyleft" license with code that is used and changed to be returned to all. Others want the opposite. "I do not believe that we will be reach consensus on this front, so I believe the license will have to accommodate options as to the question of Web services, but this must be squared with the ideological pursuit of freedom," he said.
Another change to the technical paradigm that the license must address is the issue of trusted computing and the threat it poses. "If I knew what the solution to the problem of trusted computing was, we would have a draft version of it in circulation by now," Moglen said. "There is also no belief now that the GPL violates the constitution or IP law, and we will not be held back by the actions of SCO [Group] and [its CEO] Darl McBride.
"I do not yet know what we will do in this regard, and we will have to choose among the options before involving others in the question of the license and its contents," Moglen said, promising that a document will be provided that gives the major rationale for the license choices made and the options considered. Some Linux users, such as Con Zymaris, CEO of Cybersource Pty. Ltd., a Linux and open-source solutions company in Melbourne, Australia, said trust is a critical issue that extends beyond the IT industry.

"We, as IT professionals, must act as stewards for the coming century, which, more than any previous era, will be built atop information technology," Zymaris said. "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."

Everyone seeking input will be given a chance to comment and propose changes to the license, Moglen said. "The new Software Freedom Law Center will be used for this part of the process, and all will be given a chance to express their views, regardless of size and power," he said. Read here about the role of the Software Freedom Law Center. "The dignity of every stakeholder must and will be respected. No one will get everything they want, including Mr. Stallman, but everyone will feel heard. The minimum time for such a process is a year, and I have no idea what the maximum is. But there must be a date that allows closure and after which it is over. People must know when we will be through," he said. In the end, this will be a legislative process in a stateless way, in a legislature whose users are not voters or geographic constituencies, but the proponents of powerful ideas. "It is going to be a hard scrabble to get what you want into the license. Everyone will feel that way. In my career of almost 20 years as an educator, I have never faced a problem as complex as this. This will be a community experience and process," Moglen said. While the process is going to be a screaming match in some ways, it is also going to be a noble effort when all is done. "While there will be lots of stuff we will not be proud of, this is an extraordinary adventure. "There are billions of dollars riding on this now; lots of peoples livelihoods depend on us getting this right," Moglen said, before concluding that "we will outlast the richer and more powerful forces in the software industry that seemed invincible some 10 years ago." 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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