GPLv3 drawing criticism
Earlier today, I read an article at InformationWeek.com that discusses the upcoming version of the General Public License, to be released later this month. It seems some within the open source community aren't happy with the additional protections being added to the new License:
On one front, Microsoft continues to challenge the legitimacy of Linux and other open source products, claiming they violate hundreds of Microsoft patents. Microsoft is offering patent-protection deals to Linux distributors to shield them from any future lawsuits it might file. Last week, it disclosed pacts with Linux distributor Xandros, which represents less than 1% of the market, and Korean manufacturer LG Electronics, which embeds Linux in some of its devices. The deals have the same "we won't sue your customers" provision of an earlier arrangement with Novell.
Last week, new doubts were voiced not by Microsoft, but by William Hurley, chief architect of open source strategy at BMC Software and chairman of the Open Management Consortium, a group committed to producing open source IT infrastructure management software. GPLv3 is designed to forestall Microsoft's patent deals, restrict digital rights management, and ban restrictions that sometimes get placed on open source embedded in hardware. Maybe GPLv3--intended as a license that grants freedom to developers--is trying to do too much, suggests Hurley.
In a blog posting titled "The Death Of A Software License," Hurley argues that the Free Software Foundation is moving away from developers' core interests and getting bogged down in its own political agenda. "The FSF should realize by now their influence is waning," Hurley wrote. "They're really hamstringing themselves with version 3, taking the license further and further from where industry developers are heading."
I find it interesting that Hurley perceives the GPL as having been developed in order to grant freedom to developers when the Free Software Foundation is very clear about their dedication to "promoting computer users' rights to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs." That's computer users, not developers. The GPL is available for developers who want to release their software in keeping with that notion. It sounds to me like Hurley's interest in completely free software is what's actually waning, more than anything, as his complaints seem to be centered around limitations on commercializing software licensed under Version 3.
Here is info about the latest draft of GPLv3.
Any thoughts from fellow open source advocates here?