General Public License (GPL) version 3 is published by FSF after 18 months of work and equal amount of discussions and debates. The makers say it is not very different from the earlier version, which gained a lot of popularity. GPLv3 is an adaptation to new requirements and new events that happened in the open source space.
One of the issues handled is Tivoization. It is a technique which manufacturers have used to stop the users from running their own versions of software. This was one of the points where the makers found objections from the likes of Linus Torvalds. In fact Linus Torvalds strongly felt that GPLv2 is much better at allowing freedom than GPLv3.
In addition, GPLv3 also explicity targets the future Microsoft-Novell deals, by making it inclusive of other GPL users.
This might be a good development for open source, but I know of a lot of developers, including yours truly, who hardly have a clue about the changes. It will be great if someone can explain the license in simpler terms, that is, without the legal language. I have not found anything better than Stephen Shankland’s attempt yet.
GPL is one of the most popular open source licenses, however, there is still doubt about its compatibility. Many developers simply bypass many questions to go ahead and do what they like to do – develop. However it is important to pick a license, you cannot escape that.