Open Source License: welcome SaaS, good-bye Free Software!

The Free Software Foundation few days ago released the GNU General Public License version 3, as earlier draft versions it doesn’t “fix” the SaaS Loophole, leaving unhappy some entrepreneurs.

Freedom A Substantial hole, by Rich.w

While I have already expressed my concerns commenting others’ posts, I believe it is time to tell it straight and loud. In my opinion GPLv3 got on stage too late, now there are simply too many stakeholders to take a decision like closing the GPL Loophole and SaaS could seriously prevent Free Software take over, more than anything else.

I am not alone, at linux-mag wrote:

More than the patent protection, more than the digital restrictions, this one change to the GPL could have the biggest impact on the license’s importance in the future.

Also Tim O’Reilly took a clear position, stating:

There are both popular and unpopular ways of circumventing the Free Software Foundation’s General Public License. A very unpopular method, we’ve come to find out, is via promises of patent protection for users of specific software. However, if you’re looking to leverage Free Software without completely fulfilling the requirements of the license, a better method would be to exploit the software as a service (SaaS) loophole, which the latest draft of the GPL3 just legalized.

The Joomla! community has been discussing a lot business model based on the GPL recently. The FSF is cracking “open” door to the SaaS, leaving them – and not only them- a chance to de facto ignore the license.

A number of people is are happy with the GPLv3, but I am not. This has not been a strategical decision, neither a tactic one, but the only available now. And I blame Richard to postpone it until too late.

I am really sorry about that.

Technorati Tags: GPLv3, SaaS, Free Software