Re: GPL licenses and the "any later version" phrase (was: Re: A possible GFDL compromise)
paul cannon <firstname.lastname@example.org> a tapoté :
> On Sat, Aug 30, 2003 at 12:15:50AM +0200, Mathieu Roy wrote:
> > Without him, things are more unsettled. To be honest, I have no strict
> > guarantees that the FSF cannot change but I hope that if someday the
> > FSF disregard the GNU project and the Free Software definition
> > promoted by RMS, people will change their distribution policy
> > (software distributed under the GPL v2 and later version until the GPL
> > vCorrupted) and will claim the GPL vCorrupted not to be a valid GPL in
> > the spirit of the previous versions, not applicable to their software.
> If you've already specifically allowed your software to be released
> under it, i.e., by stating that the user may elect to redistribute
> under the terms of "any later version", how can you retroactively remove
> that permission?
You always can retroactively change the license for your
software. It's *too late* only if people who received your software
before you change your license continue to distribute it. They can
distribute it under your previous license, but only the previous
versions, not the new, relicensed, version.
That's why software project once free can become proprietary, like
SourceForge to name a famous one.
> > If this hypothetical new GPL vCorrupted is more restrictive than the
> > GPL v2, there's no reason to care about. A contrario, if this
> > hypothetical new license is less restrictive, forgetting to protect
> > authors as the GPL those authors picked, I think they should be able
> > to sue people that would be trying to use/distribute the software
> > under the terms of this corrupted new license.
> How could they do that? They explicitly allowed users to distribute that
> software under "any later version". They'd be suing for doing what they
> explicitly allowed in the license.
They explicitely allowed users to distributed they software under
"any later version" _of the GPL_. If this new corrupted GPL have
nothing in common with the previous one but the name, it won't be a
lawful GPL. This is in the GPL text:
9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or
new versions of the General Public License from time to
time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the
present version, but may differ in detail to address new
problems or concerns.
If a new version is not "similar in spirit", it's surely possible to
claim that the new GPL is not valid.
> > > > The advantages of the "or any later version" is bigger than the
> > > > possibility of such a GPLv4, IMHO.
> > >
> > > What are those advantages?
> > If you write a GPL v2 only software, you'll have to edit every headers
> > of your software's files once the GPL v3 will be published.
> /Only/ if I choose to re-license that software under a different license
> (GPLv3). As it now seems that the GPLv3 will in fact be less free, I
> will probably not /want/ to do so.
Less free? More restrictive you mean?
If you distribute your software under GPL v2 and later version, people
will be able to use their software, at their option, under the GPL v2
and v3. So your software won't be less free at all.
> > And, if we forget the horrid scenario at the beginning of this
> > message, there's no problem with it.
> So you would suggest that I simply rely on the goodwill of other people
> and other organizations to ensure that things stay free?
No. I said previously that, normally, I do not think that a clever
court would accept a license that claim to be in the continuation of
another one while this license forget all the specific of the previous
Not a native english speaker: