GNU and FSF News for July 2007

Posted 6 Jul 2007 at 16:03 UTC by robogato Share This

The GPL version 3 is out. Is anyone using it yet? Freshmeat says yes. Will it transform the software industry? Eben Moglen says yes. Will it change the Novell-Microsoft deal? Microsoft says no, then announces changes in the same press release. Is Microsoft's goal to start a Linux civil war? EWeek says Maybe. Read all about it in this week's installment of GNU and FSF news. As always, you can also find out where RMS is speaking this month and read the latest news on other GNU projects including GCC and GNOME.

GPL Version 3 Released

As expected, the GPL version 3 was released on June 29. The FSF Press Release contains all the details. There is also a FAQ explaining the compatibility between GPLv3 and other versions of the GPL. The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association issued a press release commending the FSF on the GPLv3 release. If you want to know even more, there's a transcription of Eben Moglen's address titled The Global Software Industry in Transformation: After the GPLv3.

One aspect of the GPLv3 that people have been talking about is how it will affect the Microsoft-Novell deal. Microsoft has issued a statement that says the GPLv3 doesn't apply to them, ever, at all, under any circumstances. Er, but just in case, they're hedging their bet by changing the SLES coupons rules, saying the SUSE Linux coupons they're distributing will not cover any software that adopts the GPLv3. Groklaw concludes, the GPLv3 works! Presumably this means when you get your SUSE Linux via Microsoft using a coupon, you will only get the non-GPLv3 portion of it. It's not clear what this means for Novell as more GNU software moves to the GPLv3. Will they maintain they're own pre-GPLv3 fork of the entire GNU OS to keep MS happy? Will they distribute only a Linux kernel to be incorporated into a GNU OS that must be obtained elsewhere? will they split the kernel and other non-GPLv3 software onto a separate CD that can be distributed by Microsoft via their coupon? EWeek provides the (unlikely) speculation that the result will be a "Linux civil war" with the Microsoft-encumbered Linux (SUSE, Linspire, and Xandros) fighting it out with Free Linux (Red Hat, Ubuntu, Mandriva, Debian, CentOS, PCLinuxOS, Slackware and maybe 300 or so other distros).

The big question is whether anyone will use the new license and the answer appears to be yes. A survey of in the days since the release reveals a steady stream of programs making the switch. Not surprisingly, smaller projects are making the switch faster than larger projects. Here's a sample of programs that have already moved to GPLv3 from the last few days of the freshmeat blog: GNU Radius, MyServer, GNU tar, Xnee, apparix, Postal, libmatheval, kachelmann, GNU Moe flactagger, Plugged Editor, htmlobserver, Fcc, GNU Ocrad, GNU ed, GNU ddrescue, Arg_parser, Adcd, and GNU MailUtils. Other programs known to have been updated already include cpio, gv, GNU Source Installer, and Gama.


According to the news:

C interoperability support (ISO Bind C) has been added to the Fortran compiler. The code was contributed by Christopher D. Rickett of Los Alamos National Lab.
Experimental support for the upcoming ISO C++0x standard been added. Enabled with -std=gnu++0x or -std=c++0x, this offers a first look at upcoming C++0x features and will be available in GCC 4.3. Code was contributed by Douglas Gregor of Indiana University, Russell Yanofsky, Benjamin Kosnik of Red Hat and Paolo Carlini of Novell, and reviewed by Jason Merrill of Red Hat and Mark Mitchell and Nathan Sidwell of CodeSourcery.

A conversion to the GPLv3 license is expected in a forthcoming version as well.


A new issue of the GNOME Journal is out with an article on GStreamer audio effects, an interview with Ken VanDine, an introduction to Accerciser, a Python-based accessibility testing tool, and a 2007 Wrap-up.

GUADEC 2007 Update

The 8th annual GNOME Users and Developers European Conference (GUADEC) is coming up 15-21st July 2007 in Birmingham, England. The latest new on the conference can be found on the GUADEC News page. GUADEC registration is now open, by the way.

FSF High Priority Free Software Projects

The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of what they believe are the highest priority projects at any given time. If you're looking for something fun to work on or just want to make the world a better place, this is a good place to start.

"There is a vital need to draw the free software community's attention to the ongoing development work on these particular projects. These projects are important because computer users are continually being seduced into using non-free software, because there is no adequate free replacement. Please support these projects."

Where's RMS This Month?

Richard Stallman will be speaking at the University de Picardie in France on July 10. He will give a talk in Maracaibo, Venezuela on July 21. On July 26-28 he will be speaking at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois as part of the North American Computers and Philosophy (NA-CAP) conference. He will also take part in a FOSS/Open Access panel discussion at the NA-CAP conference. Topics include the usual talks on the goals and philosophy of the Free Software Foundation, the history of copyright, and the GNU Operating System.

This monthly news summary about the Free Software Foundation and GNU project was distilled down from FSF press releases, blogs, email lists, and website news pages. The idea is to provide a concise summary of FSF/GNU news from the past month for those who don't have the time or interest to find and read all the original news sources within that community. I'm also looking for a volunteer to take over writing this news summary each month. If you'd like to volunteer, let me know

Again, posted 6 Jul 2007 at 16:38 UTC by joolean » (Journeyer)

Thank you, Steve! You rock.

Once Again, posted 6 Jul 2007 at 19:36 UTC by mako » (Master)

Thanks. These are absolutely wonderful. Please keep them coming.

Should Ogg Frog adopt the GPL v3?, posted 21 Jul 2007 at 04:19 UTC by Rippit » (Apprentice)

I'd like your advice as to whether Ogg Frog should adopt GPL v3, and if so, whether the license notice should require specifically version three, or allow the recipient to choose a later version.

The licence notice in its source (which is as yet unreleased) has version two, and requires only that version, because I didn't know what to make of all the controversy over v3 during its comment period.

I completely understand why one might prefer allowing for later versions, to solve the future's challenges to Free Software, but I'm also concerned that Richard Stallman is a mere mortal, and that Bill Gates is a very wealthy man: GPL v4 could well be a step backward.

If you wish to reply privately, mail me at

Thanks! -- Rippit the Ogg Frog

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