Luis Villa’s GPL v3, the Q&A

GPLv3CopyleftAt the end of this month the long awaited version 3 of the GNU General Public License will finally be released and slowly but surely various projects will adopt this new license upgrade. If you have only followed the public drafting process that has gone on since November 2005 from a distance or if you were already sold on the first draft in January 2006 you certainly want to read up on Luis Villa‘s GPL v3, the Q&A (part 1), a lot has been improved since those early days. As a small teaser here are the first and the last Q/A (and this is only part 1 of 4!):

Q: So why are we here?

A: At the end of this week, after 16 years, the Free Software Foundation should bless version three of the GNU General Public License, the sequel to what is arguably the most widely used and most impactful copyright license ever.1 Quite literally everyone who makes software – open, proprietary, or web – needs to understand the v3 and figure out if it is evolutionary, revolutionary, or DOA, and how it impacts them as a potential contributor, consumer, cooperator or competitor. This is my small contribution towards that understanding.

Q: Bottom line- in a year, what are we going to be saying about GPL?

A: Over the next few days I’ll explore the details of how developers and companies might feel about the new license, but I think the bottom line is that within a few years many will switch over. Communities who feel particularly threatened by patents, who badly want to draw from Apache, or who are particularly inclined to protect users and disregard possible costs to developers will adopt it particularly quickly. After that, adoption will slow for a while, but as users, developers, and corporates get comfortable, the various small improvements will gradually make it the default license for a plurality of new open source code, despite the understandable reservations (some well-grounded, some not) that many people currently feel.

So go read it and make sure to catch up when parts 2, 3 and 4 are published.