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Last update: 2007-09-14

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Announcing the GPL Version 3 Development and Publicity Project (GPLv3)

GNU Public Licence v3 Development and Publicity Project

[Press release by FSF, Sept 9, 2005] Stichting NLnet grant of 150.000€ to support activities

The Free Software Foundations are proud to announce the creation of the global "GPL Version 3 Development and Publicity Project".

The project will bring together thousands of organizations, software developers, and software users from around the globe during 2006, in an effort to update the worlds most popular Free Software license. The GPLv3 promises to be one of the largest participatory comments and adoption efforts ever undertaken.

The sister organizations in the United States and Europe are also happy to announce a total grant of 150.000€ from Stichting NLnet to support this truly unique project.

The global process will be overseen by the Free Software Foundation with support from its legal counsel the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC). Free Software Foundation Europe will be coordinating the European activities closely with both organizations and contributing to the global communication effort.

Peter Brown, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation says, "With the release of GPLv3, we aim to further internationalize the reach of the Free Software movement. To develop this new license, we will be contacting communities across the globe to ensure their participation in the update of one of the most important social documents of our time."

Georg Greve, President of FSF Europe added, "We are working closely with our sister organisation and the SFLC to make sure GPLv3 will address the overarching and national European issues," and "Europe has a strong undergrowth of highly skilled Free Software developers and small and medium Free Software enterprises. It will be our goal to strengthen this development and help European governments to build upon it."

In announcing the grant to the FSF and FSF Europe, Teus Hagen chairman of NLnet said, "NLnet's support of the GPL and the Free Software movement, and its desire to see the successful adoption of GPLv3 achieved in the spirit of internationalization, made the funding of this project an important priority for us." Hagen said, "We hope to encourage other grant making organizations to help fund this unique project".

Written by Richard M. Stallman, the founder of the GNU Project and Free Software Foundation, the GNU General Public License ("the GPL") is the Constitution and central license of the Free Software movement, securing users' rights to freely study, copy, modify, reuse, share and redistribute software.

The GPL builds upon the ethical and scientific principle of free, open and collaborative improvement of human knowledge, which was central to the rapid evolution of areas like mathematics, physics, or biology, and adapts it to the area of information technology.

By now, the GPL is employed by tens of thousands of software projects, companies and governments around the world, and is supported by large communities of software developers and users who wish to share their work for the benefit of all.

The GNU system, the Linux kernel, Samba, MySQL, and many thousands of other GPL'd programs, offer high technological quality as well as political and economic independence and sustainability. GPL'd software runs on or is embedded in devices ranging from cellphones, PDAs and home networking appliances to mainframes and supercomputing clusters. Independent software developers around the world, as well as every large corporate IT buyer and seller, and a surprisingly large proportion of individual users, interact with the GPL.

The current version of the license, which was written in 1991 and is now 14 years old, has become central to the activities and operation of a large part of all companies and governments and is now in need of review.

Stichting NLnet, a non-profit foundation based in The Netherlands, has a mission to stimulate network research and development in the domain of Internet technology. It releases developed software under the GPL.

For details of the project, please refer to or contact; European activities will also be presented at, or via contact to

Project GPLv3

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