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[ossig] Overhaul of Linux License Could Have Broad Impact

"Overhaul of Linux License Could Have Broad Impact"
New York Times (11/30/05) P. C3; Lohr, Steve
New York Times (11/30/05) P. C3; Lohr, Steve A forthcoming overhaul of 
the General Public License (GPL) could have a seismic impact on the 
software industry, which has come to see open source initiatives such as 
Linux become viable alternatives to traditional commercial products. 
Linux alone accounts for an estimated $40 billion worth of software and 
hardware. The work of overhauling the GPL begins today when a document 
outlining the process is posted at www.gplv3.fsf.org 
<http://www.acm.org/technews/articles/2005-7/www.gplv3.fsf.org>. The 
first revision to the license in 15 years, expected to be completed by 
summer or fall of next year, will also likely reexamine software 
patents. The driving force behind the GPL is Richard Stallman, founder 
of the Free Software Foundation, who has sought to use copyright law to 
protect the unfettered right to use, study, copy, and modify software. 
Stallman authored much of the open source Unix code, though it was not 
until 1991 that Linus Torvalds incorporated his work into the kernel 
that would eventually become known as Linux. Stallman, like much of the 
open source community, believes that proprietary software restricts the 
free flow of information, describing software patents as "utterly 
insane." He does, however, acknowledge that commercial software is 
necessary for Linux's continuing success, due to the economic 
impossibility of a computer able to solely run open source software.

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