Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Third GPLv3 Draft Released

Today, FSF released the third GPLv3 draft on http://gplv3.fsf.org/gpl3-dd3-guide . It's great that the entire, complex process now has completed its next milestone, and I can fully understand why the FSF has seen it necessary to proceed at a pace somewhat slower than originally intended.

My thoughts go back well over a year to the Free Software Foundation's first conference on GPLv3, at the end of January 2006. It was a great meeting, and as a Committee B member and representative of MySQL, I was asked by China Martens of IDG for my input. My reply "I think there was a good balance between different hair and beard lengths" ended up on China's compilation "2006: The IT year in quotes" as "a colourful description of the cross-section of attendees".

I wish I had something equivalently colourful to describe the third draft of GPLv3. "A good balance between FSF's interest to protect software freedom in the name of the end user, and the interests of the industry to develop sustainable business models upon Free Software"? I hope I will feel able to use that for the final GPLv3 one day.

For now, MySQL continues to be actively engaged in the Free Software Foundation’s GPLv3 drafting process, the next step of which is the upcoming 60 days that should end up in a final draft. Our flagship product, the MySQL database server, remains licensed under GPLv2.

Until the new version of GPL is finalised, we won’t be in a position to determine whether GPLv3 is an appropriate license for MySQL products. As I said at the end of last year in my blog, until we get clear and strong indications for the general acceptance of GPLv3 over GPLv2, we feel comfortable with a specific GPLv2 reference in our license. So while we support and care for the GPLv3 process, don't expect us to be amongst the first GPLv3 movers.

By the way, don't miss Eben Moglen's keynote at the MySQL Conference & Expo 23-26 April 2007 in Santa Clara, California! Eben is not only a brilliant mind and shaper of the future, but one of the best public speakers I have ever heard.

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