Considering the Future of Copyleft: How Will The Next Generation Perceive GPL?
Copyleft licenses, particularly the GPL and LGPL, are widely used
throughout the Free Software community. However, recent for-profit
corporate interest in Free Software development has led to a renewed
preference toward non-copyleft licensing by for-profit entities.
Meanwhile, many for-profit entities that do use copyleft for their own
software now do so in a manner that most copyleft aficionados find, at
best, distasteful and at worst, abusive.
A long-standing truce exists in our community between fans of
non-copyleft licensing and copyleft. No one in the copyleft communities
disputes that non-copylefted Free Software is an important part of our
community. However, copyleft faces new challenges that make past debates
about the appropriateness of copyleft seem quite minor by comparison.
This talk will discuss all aspects of the complicated situation facing
copyleft, including younger developers apparent preference for
non-copyleft licensing (as expressed, in part, in the "post-open source"
debates, the widespread and common failures for companies to comply with
GPL's relatively easy requirements, and how licensing choices are today,
unlike in the past, rarely in the hands of individual developers, but
instead their corporate employers.
Bradley M. Kuhn is President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy and on the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of the GNU/Linux operating system, and began contributing to various Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn's non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the FSF. As FSF's Executive Director from 2001-2005, Kuhn led FSF's GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. From 2005-2010, Kuhn worked as the Policy Analyst and Technology Director of the Software Freedom Law Center. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. His Master's thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of Free Software languages. Kuhn has a blog at http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/ , a microblog at http://identi.ca/bkuhn/, and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom at http://faif.us/.