Brussels / 2 & 3 February 2013


State of the GNUnion

FSF licensing policy challenges in 2013

This talk will cover the main challenges facing the Free Software Foundation's Licensing and Compliance lab in 2013, and will invite discussion of the FSF's work and policies in this area. We'll explore:

  • Copyright assignment: Some high-profile GNU maintainers have recently criticized the FSF's copyright assignment policy and system. What are these criticisms, what does the FSF intend to do about them, and what's the point of its assignment process to begin with?

  • GPL adoption: Last year here, in "Is copyleft being framed?", I put numbers supposedly showing declining GPL adoption in perspective, showing problems with the data, questioning the conclusions drawn from the data, and presenting different data leading to the opposite conclusions. We'll look at the questions that were raised since then about my data, and at some new data that's been made available, and draw new conclusions.

  • App Stores: When Apple's App Store launched, the FSF concluded that its terms were incompatible with the GPL -- and with any kind of strong copyleft. Since then, we have several new App Stores; most notably from Google and Microsoft. Are the Apple terms still incompatible with the GPL? Are the other stores any better? Are these stores undermining GPL adoption, and should copyleft relax its standards in order to get free software to this audience, or should it stand its ground?


John Sullivan