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Torvalds 'pretty pleased' about new GPL 3 draft

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Linus Torvalds, leader of the Linux kernel project and a major figure in the open-source programming movement, said Wednesday he's "pretty pleased" with changes in a third draft of the General Public License (GPL) released Wednesday.

The Linux kernel and many higher-level software packages are governed by the current GPL 2, and Torvalds has expressed strong displeasure with earlier version 3 drafts. After a preliminary analysis of GPL 3, however, some of those concerns are gone or moderated, he said.

"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!'"

In particular, one provision against digital rights management has been narrowed, and another that Torvalds feared could lead to multiple incompatible versions of the GPL has been removed or defanged.

"I'm much happier with many parts of it. I think much of it reads better, and some of the worst horrors have been removed entirely," Torvalds said.

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GPLv3 third draft: Linus likes it, ACT hates it

Stressing that it's his initial take on the new draft, Torvalds wrote in an e-mail response to a request for comment Wednesday that the third draft is "a huge improvement on the previous ones." He's particularly impressed by the work the FSF has done on revising the language referring to patents.

Not surprisingly, the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), a technology lobbying organization, which has been highly critical of GPLv3 especially in relation to DRM in the past, was negative about the latest draft of the license.

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