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GNU GPLv3 turns 5

by Joshua Gay Contributions Published on Jun 29, 2012 05:27 PM
The GNU General Public License version 3 turns five; Eben Moglen states, "GPLv3 anticipated the issues of today and will help us deal with the challenges of tomorrow."
Happy 5th Birthday GPLv3

Happy Birthday, GNU GPLv3!

Five years ago, today, the GNU General Public License version 3 was released. The drafting process for creating the license took nearly two years and saw four revisions, each of which went through extensive public review.

I asked David Turner, former FSF licensing and compliance engineer, how he felt about having been a part of the drafting process and what his biggest contribution was. David wrote that, "it was a great honor to be part of the process to rewrite the license that first got me interested in software freedom," and that he is most proud of having contributed to the provisions of the license that allow for Internet distribution of source code.

I also reached out to FSF's general counsel, Eben Moglen, to ask him his thoughts on GPLv3, both then and now. His response was as eloquent as always, stating:

GPLv3 carries RMS's constitution for free software into the new century. It made the legal institutions of free software truly global, not centered in US law. It strengthened free software's defenses against patent aggression just in time for the patent war we long warned would inevitably come if patenting of software was allowed. And it drew a line against the imprisonment of free software in devices that don't permit their owners to modify the software inside. GPLv3 anticipated the issues of today and will help us deal with the challenges of tomorrow.

I am certain I could not have stated it better!

Happy Birthday GPLv3!

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