Re: GPL "or any greater version"
Raul Miller writes:
> > 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.
> > Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the
> > Program specifies a version number of this License which applies to
> > it and "any later version", you have the option of following the
> > terms and conditions either of that version or of any later version
> > published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not
> > specify a version number of this License, you may choose any
> > version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.
> > There are ten instances of the word "version" in that section. Only
> > one can possibly be read as "version of the Program." That is the one
> > inside the double quotes; but actual practice does not support that
> > reading.
> I'm not sure what you mean by "actual practice". Do you mean actual
> practice by the FSF?
Yes. For example, core files of gcc (example at ) specify "either
version 2, or (at your option) any later version." I claim this is
what section 9 means by the "any later version" in double quotes. You
seem to claim that that part of section 9 means "any later version of
gcc." I claim a copyright notice like this unambiguously means "any
later version of the GPL":
GCC is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option)
any later version.
> > > > Your reading of GPLv2 section 9 is totally unsupported.
> > >
> > > If that's the case you should have no problem providing specific
> > > objections to my examples which used concrete nouns and the same
> > > grammatical structures.
> > Fine. First "elaborated" expansion:
> > > If gcc-3.3.3 prerelease 2 specifies version 2 of the GPL which
> > > applies to gcc-3.3.3 prerelease 2 and "any later version of gcc",
> > > you have the option...
> > "any later version of gcc" has no specific referent. The GPL applies
> > to code that is actually distributed under it, not code that may or
> > may not be distributed in the future, and the GPL does not specify
> > what constitutes a "later version" of the Program.
> I imagine that's why it was in quotes.
> That said, I'd take "any later version of gcc" to mean "a work based
> on gcc".
That is what I would take it to mean, too, if the license actually
said that. But it doesn't, and every other mention of "version" in
section 9 is clearly a reference to the version of the GPL.
> > Just yesterday you argued that section 9 of the GPL did not allow a
> > program to specify distribution only under version 2, but required
> > accepting "future version of the GPL" -- for example,  and .
> > What happened?
> > - http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/08/msg00713.html
> > - http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/08/msg00730.html
> I don't know why you included . In  there are exchanges like:
> . > Instead, I distribute only under GPL v2.
> . But GPL v2 explicitly allows other users to make this version choice
> . themselves. So later users still have the option to use GPL v3, just
> . like you did.
I included  because of claims like this:
. The terms in section 9 do not offer distributors the option
. of avoiding future versions of the GPL.
> More fundamentally, my argument has been that "GPL v2 only" means only
> under the terms of GPL v2, which includes the later version option.
> In other words, "GPL v2 only" does not exclude later versions.
> In other words, what are you really asking about?
Your arguments yesterday seemed to hinge on interpreting GPLv2 section
9's "any later version" to mean any later version of the GPL. Your
arguments today seem to hinge on interpreting it to mean any later
version of the program. I seek to better understand your position.