New York Times reports that the rules governing the use of most free software programs will be revised for the first time in 15 years, in an open process that begins today. Free software has become a mainstream technology in recent years, led by the rising popularity of programs like the GNU Linux operating system. Industry analysts estimate that the value of hardware and software that use the Linux operating system is $40 billion. The overhaul of the General Public License, which covers Linux and many other free software programs, is an issue of far greater significance today than before. (Note: This site requires registration.)