After a year and a half, GPLv3 is finally due this Friday, June 29th. Starting with the January 2006 launch, our focus in FSFE has on raising awareness and informing the free software community. Making transcripts of the January 16th launch and RMS's first GPLv3 presentations...
...and getting them on Slashdot was a good start.
We will have a situation where GPLv3 has been read by many people and a lot of the community have been involved in debating the words used.
Licensing is a very important consideration for the free software community. It requires experts, and it has to be done by people who have the free software community's interests in mind. So it's something we can't let our corporate associates do on our behalf.
Some lawyers were required, but the type of expert we needed most were those who care about the long term future of free software and who would give their time to research and discuss the implications of various policy decisions.
Because the free software community had never done anything like this before, there were almost no people with this type of experience. That's why raising maximum awareness was essential.
For FSFE's part, having secured funding from NLnet, we organised an international conference in Barcelona. And thanks to funding raised by others, and sometimes personal expense, we were able to have speakers at 20 or 30 other events. That, and all the transcripts - with translations in Dutch, Thai, German, French, Spanish, and maybe others. I was surprised at how popular the transcripts were.
And after all that work, I think GPLv3 is in a strong position. Many free software users and distributors have probably not read GPL version 2. That is because it is easy enough to use that people can to use it by following the example of others and doing what seems intuitive. GPLv3 will also be this easy, but after 18 months of debate, as well as having a new licence, I think we now have a new and valuable level of licence knowledge in the community.