Bonum Certa Men Certa

GNU Catchup: GPLv3 Up, Up, and Never Away

The GNU and FSF unofficial 'newsletter' ought to remind us that GPLv3 adoption continues to be very healthy.

Migration to the GPLv3 continues at a steady pace. Palamida's GPLv3 Information site showed 534 total GPLv3 packages as of August, up from 300 in July.


This should not surprise anyone, knowing what has been known for a while, but there's plenty of disinformation out there, including predication of gloom and doom for the GPL.

Articles of interest:



When the GPLv3 first arrived, only a handful of programs made the shift. The most significant of these was Samba making good its promise to move its popular Windows-compatible file/print server program to the GPLv3.

Since then, according to data collected by Palamida, an IP (intellectual property) management company, the GPLv3 is picking up steam. By July 31, Palamida found that 277 open-source projects had moved to using the GPLv3. At the beginning of the month, only 82 projects, most of them created by the Free Software Foundation, which created the GPLv3, had made the switch.




In an email to me last month, Linus Torvalds, who has been portrayed in the media as GPLv3's main opponent, describes the language that he and other use on the Linux kernel mailing list as "blunt, to the point, and not very polite." When journalists quote pieces of it, he notes, often "the context of that language is then lost entirely" -- and he adds that "it's not just the text of the thread itself that is the context; the context is also how technical people discussing things amongst each other is in itself a very different context than a trade magazine article."




Linus's position is clear. He's repeatedly said that he'd use GPLv3 in certain situations if there was a practical advantage, but he prefers v2 over v3. That's fine. I prefer v3, but v2 is still a great licence.




Microsoft is extremely keen to avoid "legal debate" over whether its recent partnerships with Linux firms such as Novell, Xandros, and Linspire, mean Redmond must assume any of the new licenses' legal obligations.




This is Thursday's IT Blogwatch: in which Microsoft squirms out of GPLv3's clutches, perhaps.




So, by threatening everything and promising nothing (because would Microsoft really sue anyone for patents, knowing how many competitors in the Linux community have patents of their own?), Microsoft has skillfully managed to get open source players to endorse Open XML. A variant of the classic Badger Game if I ever heard one.

Faced with cons like this, I am beginning to realize that having something like the GPLv3 around is a very good idea. Even though the new GPL could not have prevented this scam, it may help in the future.

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