GPLv3 Launch

GPLv3 was launched on Friday (29) after close to eighteen months of public involvement in it’s drafting process. This has been an important milestone in the free software world as an upgrade to the GPL to address some of the more modern concerns have been a long time coming. I think Bruce Perens sums this up well when he said:

“When the GPLv2 and GPLv1 were written, we got music from phonograph records,” he says. “The most complicated input device people had in their homes was a touch-tone telephone. The only thing that was even close to digital rights management were these dongles you’d hang on the back of your computer that would authorize you to run software — digital rights management didn’t even really exist.”

You can read the rest of the Wired article — here.

I was at the Free Software Foundation with a couple of my mates and you can find some of the photographs, here. RMS made the announcement in a room rigged with audio equipment, so everyone was really quiet. In a room where the dropping of a pin could be heard, the shutter release of my DSLR came like claps of thunder. So I resorted to just watch the whole thing rather than draw the wrath of the assembled mob of free software types.

GPLv3 has finally taken flight. It’ll be a lot of work to re-license all the GNU tools under GPLv3 but the process has already begun. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens.

Update (14 July): The announcement from RMS.

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Sahana receives FSF award

I attended the 2007 FSF members meeting today – codenamed “Year of the upgrade”.

–snip–

09:15-10:00 Breakfast, registration, and pgp key signing
10:00-10:25 Peter Brown, Executive Director – “Libre Planet”
10:25-10:50 John Sullivan, Program Administrator -“BadVista and the Campaign for Free Software Adoption”
10:50-11:05 Justin Baugh, Senior System Administrator – “Hardware Free from Restrictions”
11:05-11:20 Joshua Ginsberg, Senior System Administrator – “FSF Systems Administration”
11:20-11:35 Break
11:35-12:10 Brett Smith, Licensing Engineer – “Compliance and GPLv3”
12:10-12:50 Richard Stallman, President – “Software Patents”
12:50-13:50 Lunch and mini-rockbox installfast
13:50-14:40 Gerald Sussman, Director – “Robust Design”
14:40-15:20 Eben Moglen, General Counsel – “After GPLv3”
15:20-16:00 Board members panel and Q&A – “Year of the Upgrade”
16:00-16:15 Break
16:15-17:30 Members Forum – including a presentation by Mako Hill on “Defining Free Culture”
17:30-17:50 Free Software Awards Ceremony

–snip–

Four members from the Sahana team (Chamindra, Pradeeper, Mifan and Ravindra) were present at the meeting to receive the Free Software award for Project of Social Benefit!! This is a truly great achievement, kudos to you all!

Just as I expected, I bumped into Niibe this year as well, and we caught up on some of the Debian work that I’ve been doing with him. Niibe is my mentor at Debian and has been helping me immensely to get my packages into Debian.

Other notable attendees were Bruce Perens and Ted Ts’o.

I noticed Ted when he entered the room, towards the latter part of the event. It was only later that I found out that he was to receive the FSF Award for the Advancement of Free software. I didn’t expect to see any high profile kernel hackers as himself at FSF events although there was one attendee who was the splitting image of Alan Cox, but a little poking round revealed that to be a false lead.

The presentation by Mako Hill on “Defining Free Culture” was quite informative on some of the good work he’s been upto lately. Eben Moglen‘s oratory was impressive as always and Gerald Sussman confounded the audience with some deep mathematics. RMS spoke on software patents.

Some photos from the event are available on my flickr.

Past events: FSF Members Meeting, 2006