GPL v4 — Not

Richard Fontana started a project called “GPL.next,” in which he is writing — in true open source style, via GITHUB — a new version of GPL based on v3.  He stresses that it is not an official FSF version.  The open source community will likely be watching this process, to see how the different drafting approach might make a difference.  Fontana worked extensively at SFLC during the GPLv3 drafting process.

GPLv3 has has less penetration into the world than its authors may have hoped, and many private companies still have policies against using GPLv3 code — primarily due to concern (or confusion) over the complex patent provisions and User Product provisions.  

For some insight into the reasons behind the project, this presentation is interesting, but may be obscure to anyone who is not steeped in open source. 

Articles on the topic here:  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/07/gnu_gpl_forked/, http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source-software/the-next-gpl-why-its-being-shaped-github-197025.  As Simon Phipps points out, GPLv3 is percieved as too complex, and was a compromise between the strongest free software advocates (who favored a license more like AGPL) and corporate interests (who favored a license that was more clear and concise). 

An update: the original GITHUB page is now a broken link, perhaps due to controversy over using the acronym GPL, which Fontana explained referred only to “General Public License” and not the GNU GPL — which is what is commonly referred to as GPL.  

Another update: It has been moved to Gitorious.