LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – ZDNet’s Eben Moglen Interview with Andre…

LAWFUEL – The Law News Wire – ZDNet’s Eben Moglen Interview with Andrew Donoghue -Eben Moglen admits he is a “talker” and his performance during our brief 30-minute chat does nothing to persuade otherwise. The former general counsel to the Free Software Foundation was at the Red Hat Summit in San Diego on Thursday to put his considerable oratorical skills to use, updating attendees around the soon-to-be-launched third instalment of the GNU General Public License — a set of rules and restrictions that underpins the use of a lot of open-source software.

However, following reports that he has effectively stepped down from the Free Software Foundation (FSF), it seemed strange that Moglen was at the summit speaking about the GNU General Public License (GPL). But Moglen claims that reports that he is stepping away from the FSF have been exaggerated. He is merely putting a little distance between himself and the organisation.

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), the legal service which he founded in 2005 to represent key free-software and open-source projects, will continue to serve the FSF; he just wants to step out of the limelight, he said.

“One of the things that people hate to admit is that sometimes a community is actually stronger if you step away from it,” he claimed.

Moglen will now devote more of his time to his role as chairman of SFLC and to his teaching post at Columbia Law School. Comments posted in his blog shed some more light on the motivation for the change. “We’re taking risk out of projects everybody is using or is going to want to use. Helping my colleagues do that work, supporting their growth as they support their clients, is the right thing for me to do right now,” he said.

It’s not surprising, given his gift for speech and passion for furthering the use of free and open software, that his name was on a list of individuals that emerged earlier this month that were apparently facing a potential “gagging” order from the SCO as part of its ongoing legal tussle with IBM over patent infringement in the Linux operating system.

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