No GPLv3 for OpenSolaris, not for now

The GNU General Public License (GPL) and the OpenSolaris operative system have something in common. They are going right now through big changes process.  Smaller, but not less important, the one for the OpenSolaris, bigger and with, i believe, strong consequences for the GPL.

Sun Microsystem, who initially started Solaris (proprietary os), and then released it as a Free Software project with the name of OpenSolaris and under the terms of the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), is trying nowadays to improve its commitment towards the Free Software, and releasing some Java projects under the terms of Free Software license is a prove of that, besides some announcements the company made during the past months.

The GNU GPL is under a big revision process which will bring, probably within a couple of months, to the release of the GNU General Public License version 3, the new version is needed to afford the big changes that the Free Software and the information technology fields in general came across during the last 15 years (date in which the last time GPL had been revised).

Earlier in January i came accross to this news, about the intention by Sun of relicensing OpenSolaris under the terms of the GPLv3 (or at least GPLv2 or any later version). Of course the news wasn’t official, it was more a declaration of intention, and it couldn’t have been differently since the GPLv3 has not been published yet, and you can’t state such a declaration about a licensing issue of a big project, as OpenSolaris is, without having had the possibility to read the official-final version of the license.

Yesterday i’ve found this nice and clear article which updates the issue, and make it clearer that the OpenSolaris Governing Board (OGB) decided not to go for the GPLv3 relicensing, at least not for now. The article reports that the discussion has been open to different possible decisions, all of them have been evaluated and they reached the outlined conlcusion. But besides the final decision, what impressed me the most in the article, was the fact that actually the OGB (at least in my understandings of what i can read) understood the importance of the GNU GPL in general and its forthcoming new version. OpenSolaris need to get a more attractive license to gain more popularity, and more support from the community. It seems the OGB understood that the Free Software community (users and developers) choose the software it wants to use also accordingly to the license they are covered with and not only for the nicest feature.

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