Version 3 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv3) Published; Significant Changes for Open Source Software Licensing


The Free Software Foundation (FSF) on June 29 published the final, official new version of the GNU General Public License, GPLv3. The new version is the result of extensive public comment and heated debate, and could have far-reaching effects on the use of open source software. GPLv3 is the successor to GPL version 2 (GPLv2), first published in 1991, used extensively today, and among the most popular open source licenses available.

GPLv3’s key changes include:

a new approach to patents, including an explicit patent license and a patent non-assertion


a new requirement that companies conveying GPL-covered code in “user products” provide

the information necessary to install modified versions on those products (a.k.a. “antitivoization”),

a new approach to digital rights management (DRM), including an express waiver of anticircumvention

rights, and

new language implementing the GPL’s “viral effect,” affecting when it applies and what is


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