les Nouvelles - June 2007

GPL Version 3: Two Steps Back For Open Source Licensing, Interoperability, And Open Innovation?

Francis M. Buono

McLean Sieverding

The information technology (“IT”) industry is experiencing the highest level of interoperability in its history and customers today are the direct beneficiaries experiencing an unprecedented level of competition, choice, and innovative solutions. The world has changed considerably in that a key path to achieving interoperability is often the partnering and technical collaborations among otherwise ardent competitors. This unprecedented level of cooperation has led to significant technological developments and innovations that serve customers well. Unfortunately, the latest proposed revision to the “General Public License” (“GPL”), the principal license under which hundreds of open source software (“OSS”) products, including Linux, are distributed, contains certain provisions that, if adopted, would threaten not only to drive a major rift among OSS developers seeking to license their products, but also to upend such interoperabilityenhancing collaborations and chill innovation and customer choice. Hopefully, the authors of this proposed revision—dubbed “GPLv3”—will reconsider this close-m

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