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GPL Draft Faces Challenges, Linux Insiders Warn

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Supporters of the next GNU General Public License are girding for an onslaught of comment and controversy, but they remain confident that the open-source community will survive and be made stronger for the effort.

A draft of the next version of the GPL, the most widely used free-software license, is due early next year. The GPL was created by Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman, who last updated it in 1991.

GPL Version 3 is being written by Stallman and FSF General Counsel Eben Moglen, who said he's acutely aware of the daunting challenges of the task as well as the huge potential for disruption and infighting.

"I have butterflies in my stomach about it," Moglen said at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo here last week.

But he said he's hopeful the experience will also be a creative one "where [the open-source community] can realize they are linked together, that they can't pull this apart and that it is too big to fail."

Moglen said that as many as 150,000 individuals as well as 8,000 organizations, governments, foundations, groups and businesses around the world are expected to contribute to and comment on GPL Version 3.

"This is an enormous number of people, who all have a vast diversity of opinions," he said.

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