A third discussion draft of the GPLv3 was released yesterday. The draft will be open for comment for a period of not less than two months; then a "last call draft" will be published and be open for 30 days. Assuming everything is in place, the licence will come into effect shortly thereafter.
One can gauge the extent to which the Microsoft-Novell deal has affected the free and open source software space when the delay is in the main attributed to that very deal.
In an explanatory note issued a day before the release of the third discussion draft, the Free Software Foundation said: "The basic harm that such an agreement (the Novell deal) can do is to make the free software subject to it eï¬€ectively proprietary. This result occurs to the extent that users feel compelled, by the threat of the patent, to get their copies in this way."
This is in reference to the portion of the agreement between Microsoft and Novell which specifies that neither company would sue the other's customers for patent violations.
"We take the threat seriously, and we have decided to act to block such threats, and to reduce their potential to do harm," the note said.
In the new draft, section 11 specifically deals with this problem and does not allow deals of this nature to be struck, deals that ensure that the distribution sold by one company is exempt from patent claims.