Open source expert speaks out on GPLv3

If you’re following the GPLv3 draft process (previous coverage) here’s an extremely informative post by Mark Radcliffe. From the post:

Mark Radcliffe joins us this week to give his expert opinion on the latest draft of GPLv3. Mark is a friend and one of the industry’s premier IP attorneys, especially with open source licensing questions. He is outside counsel for the OSI and chairs Committee C in the GPLv3 drafting process.

In other words, he knows his stuff.

Dave and I invited Mark to contribute to Open Sources on GPLv3. Here’s his response:

The most recent draft of the GPLv3 was released on Wednesday, March 28. This guest blog will summarize the legal issues in the draft and some of the open issues. I have been involved in the process since the beginning because I am the chair of Committee C, the Users Committee, and I serve as outside general counsel on a pro bono basis for the Open Source Initiative. These comments are mine alone and do not represent the views of any of my clients.

The draft is part of a year long process of preparing the first new version of the GPL in fifteen years. The existing version of the General Public License (“GPLv2”) is, by far, the most widely used open source license: more than 70% of open source projects on SourceForge are licensed under GPLv2. GPLv2 is used by many well known programs such as the MySQL database and the Linux operating system.

He then goes on to detail, at a high level, the changes that have been made in this draft. He also explains what the rest of the draft process will look like.


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