The following editorial was contributed by Ciarán O'Riordan of FSFE. Working for FSFE since April 2005, Ciarán has been raising public awareness and participating in public discussion on GPLv3 since the launch in January 2006 and contributes heavily to FSFE's GPLv3 project.
Discussion draft 3 of GPLv3 is due in early November, approximately. Before that is finalised, I'd like to review the debate over DRM and the Linux kernel developers. Discussion draft 3 may be the final discussion draft, so I'd like to encourage discussion of this issue so that people can make comments now (via gplv3.fsf.org) which can be taken into account for draft 3.
GNU GPL version 2 is a great licence. It's an amazing licence when we remember that Richard Stallman wrote it pretty much on his own with some legal counsel. This year, the community's input is solicited and four teams comprising 130 people have been formed to research each issue raised by the community. With fifteen years of hindsight, and will brains from around the World, I think we can write an even better licence.
The decision for whether the Linux kernel will relicense to GPLv3 can really be made when the official GPLv3 is published in early 2007. Relicensing Linux will not be simple, due to it's hundreds or thousands of copyright holders, but it can be done if there is a will. (I previously wrote about how this works in "Can the Linux Kernel Relicense?") Right now is the time for debating what the licence can do, should do, and what options it should leave open. In this article, I'll focus on DRM.