Bonum Certa Men Certa

Bruce Perens: Clearing up Anti-GPL3 FUD

Bruce Perens has posted an editorial in which he tries to dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding the upcoming GPLv3.

Firstly, there is an interesting bit of additional background about the events leading up to the departure of Stuart Cohen from OSDL and it's eventual dissolution/subsequent creation of the Linux Foundation.

Some of the bad publicity about GPL3 is deliberate. A particularly bad article by Dan Lyons of Forbes magazine painted an offensive picture of GPL3 and Richard Stallman, even accusing Stallman of having sex with flowers (!!!) after Lyons failed to comprehend a scientific joke [1]. The article was "pitched" to Lyons and Forbes [2] by then OSDL director Stuart Cohen. ODSL was abruptly shut down by its own members, eliminating Cohen's job, after Lyons' article and another odious incident [3]. To save face, it was announced that OSDL would be "merged" with Free Standards Group.


The explanation of the flowers misunderstanding is an interesting read in and of itself, but of course Bruce covers much more than rhinophytophilia, he also talks a bit about how GPLv3 will cause Novell to either abandon their Microsoft deal or "it may freeze them in amber as an example of the state of software in early 2007, as the rest of the Free Software community and Linux distributions move into the future".
And what about Novell-Microsoft? Will there be a provision to block that deal in GPL3? How will it work? Richard Stallman announced on Monday March 19 that GPL3 will contain a provision that blocks the Novell-Microsoft deal. It works this way: if any entity that distributes the software arranges to protect a particular group from patents regarding that software, it must protect everyone. This mends the loophole exploited in the Novell-Microsoft agreement without being discriminatory or unfair.

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