What The New GPL Means For Enterprise IT

GPLv3 looks good for customers: It increases user protection from patents and lock-in, while clauses that could have affected Web services have been dropped.

fter two years of consultation, the Free Software Foundation has published version 3 of the GPL (GNU General Public License GPL), its first update in 16 years. Since then, GPL-licensed software has become a part of most enterprise IT installations (and a lot more besides), so its revision could have a major impact.

The Linux kernel itself is unlikely to adopt GPLv3, as copyright on it is held by many different contributors and all would have to agree to any licensing change. However, all major Linux distributions also require the FSF's GNU code, so in practice the license will eventually apply to most enterprise Linux users.

The new GPL looks like a win-win for IT. It adds a few restrictions to software vendors, all of these which will benefit customers. The one proposed change that could potentially have hurt enterprise users has been dropped entirely. The main changes from version 2 and previous drafts are:

What The New GPL Means For Enterprise IT.