A second draft of the general public licence (GPL) version 3 fails to address several key problems, critics claim.
The new draft was released last Thursday and introduced several changes to the way the licence handles digital rights management (DRM) technology and patents.
The general public licence is the most prolific open source licence and among things is chosen to govern the Linux kernel.
The initial GPL3 draft prohibited the use of any DRM technology in open source technology. The current proposal has watered down the DRM provisions and is now only seeking to ensure that developers can access and modify GPL licensed software.
"The clarified DRM section preserves the spirit of the original GPL, which forbids adding additional unfree restrictions to free software," The Free Software Foundation (FSF) said in a statement.
"GPLv3 does not prohibit the implementation of DRM features, but prevents them from being imposed on users in a way that they cannot remove."
The licence's patent provision has been changed too. The first draft required that users of GPL software grant a default licence to the application for any patents that the user owned.
"We have replaced the express patent licence grant with a covenant not to assert patent claims, and the new paragraph on reservation of implied rights is not limited to implied patent licences," the Free Software Foundation said about the second draft.
Linux leader Linux Torvalds had rejected the first draft, calling some of the proposed changes "insane".
The second draft has not changed much, Torvalds said on the Groklaw legal website. He has confirmed being the author of the posting.
"All the changes I've seen have been about largely stylistic issues - wording changes, things like that. I don't think any input on any really fundamental disagreement has been on the table."
He went on to explain that he choose the GPL for Linux because it promotes fairness and sharing of code. The FSF, however, is using the licence to address issues like DRM and patents.
"The GPLv3 is much inferior. It no longer works in the 'fairness' sense. It's purely a firebrand, and only good for the extremist policies of the FSF," Torvalds said.
"That's why I think the GPLv2 is much better. It allows us all to agree to just work together, without making it a religion."
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