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After an 18 month process that included four drafts, various meetings, and very public disagreements over its contents, the Free Software Foundation announced the release the latest version of the free software license, GPLv3, on Friday. Richard Stallman will announce the release at noon via a live video stream from its headquarters in Boston.
"Beyond the creation of an improved license, the process of drafting version 3 has helped highlight vital issues for the community of free software users," the foundation said in a statement.
This marks the first time in 16 years since the license has been modified. Among the changes are policies that would prevent future patent-protection arrangements with commercial software developers like the one struck between Novell and Microsoft.
FSF President Richard Stallman recently spoke about this version: "The reason to migrate is because of the existing problems which GPLv3 will fix, such as 'tivoization,' DRM, and threats from software patents. Further advantages of GPLv3 include better internationalization, gentler termination, support for BitTorrent, and compatibility with the Apache license."
So far it remains uncertain whether or not the Linux kernel will adopt GPLv3, Linux founder Linus Torvalds has stated that he sees no benefits in adopting the new license for the Linux kernel, although he might change his mind if it would allow Linux to adopt the ZFS file system developed by Sun Microsystems.