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Re: GPLv2-only considered harmful [was Re: GnuTLS in Debian]

On Tue, Dec 31, 2013 at 02:54:50PM +0000, Clint Adams wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 29, 2013 at 03:50:06AM +0100, David Weinehall wrote:
> > Apart from the termination clause, the GPLv2 is far more concise,
> > I don't see tivoization as a problem (it's the software I want to
> > protect, not anyone's combination of it with hardware), nor do I care
> > about compatibility with Apache 2.0 -- I do, however, care about
> > compatibility with GPL v2, which GPL v3 isn't.
> So your doomsday scenario is that if you license something
> GPLv2+, someone might fork and modify it to be GPLv3+, and
> then someone else with a different doomsday scenario can't
> incorporate those modifications into GPLv2-only software?

In essence, yes.  While I do realise that no version of the GPL
guarantees that I can fold back downstream modifications into my
codebase (since the modifications need only be released further
downstream), there's a huge difference between "there's a theoretical
chance that the awesome improvement written by downstream user X will
never reach you" and "You cannot include said improvement even if you do
get hold of the modification".

While the situation is probably familiar to many developers who choose
BSD licenses for their software only to see their code folded into GPL
or proprietary software without being able to merge back the
improvements, they have in the first place chosen a license that has
this possiblity as one of its intentions.  The BSD allows for this, I
would almost say that it encourages it.  BSD licensed code is folded
into proprietary software all the time.

That's also why I *don't* use BSD-style licenses for software that
I write, but rather GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1.

The fact that the GPLv3 changed the license to be incompatible with, and
(at least in my opinion) not equivalent to the GPL v2, violates what I
saw as one of the attractive things with the GPL, being the "share and
share alike" way of thinking.  I always envisioned the (or later) clause
to be meant for fixing minor issues (unclear phrasing, inadvertent
stuff, etc.) like the changes from LGPL v2 to LGPL v2.1.

If someone really feels that some portion of codes I've written would be
useful for their project I'm more than happy to license that particular
bit -- almost -- whichever way they want (GPLv3, BSD, MIT, ...),
but I'm very uncomfortable with the notion of having forks of my
projects use a different license than my software does.

Regards: David
 /) David Weinehall <tao@debian.org> /) Rime on my window           (\
//  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   //  Diamond-white roses of fire //
\)  http://www.acc.umu.se/~tao/    (/   Beautiful hoar-frost       (/

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