The Free Software Foundation has released the third draft of the General Public Licence, which has gotten a lukewarm response over compatibility issues.

“GPL v3 is a thorough rewrite, and it has brought in much broader involvement from a range of stakeholders,” wrote erik schmidt of Tech Law Forum. “But given that the Apache Foundation and the FSF’s goals differ, it may be unrealistic to expect the FSF to issue a compatibility seal of approval for Apache by the time GPL v3 is finalized.”

Linux creator Linus torvalds, meanwhile, was slightly more enthuasitic about the revisions. “I’m actually pretty pleased. Not because I think it’s perfect, but simply because I think it’s certainly a lot better than I really expected from the previous drafts,” he said. “Whether it’s actually a better license than the GPLv2, I’m still a bit skeptical, but at least it’s now ‘I’m skeptical’ rather than ‘Hell no!’”

Some wondered if the new GPL would invalidate Novell’s partnership with Microsoft, but Novell’s BrucE lowry tried to put out that fire. “Nothing in this new draft of GPL3 inhibits Novell’s ability to include GPL3 technologies in SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and other Novell open source offerings, now and in the future. This is good news for our customers,” he wrote. “If the final version of the GPL3 does potentially impact the agreement we have with Microsoft, we’ll address that with Microsoft.”

Bruce Perens tried to put the FSF’s efforts in perspective: “The intent of GPL3 (and most other Free Software licenses) is to give you the right to modify the covered software. GPL version 3 takes more trouble than other licenses to make sure that this right actually works with embedded systems,” he wrote. “It essentially trades the makers of those systems the right to base their devices on our great GPL software, in exchange for the consumer’s right to make that hardware run new and innovative programs that weren’t envisioned by its manufacturer.”

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