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Re: forbidding later version of GPL for xsoldier

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On Mon, 10 Jun 2002, Glenn Maynard wrote:

>On Sun, Jun 09, 2002 at 05:04:21AM -0600, John Galt wrote:
>> >Unless you own the copyright the GPL does not give you permission to relicense.
>> >Stating that you may only use the GPLv2 changes the current license and is just
>> >as forbidden as deciding you want to re-release it as BSD licensed software.
>> What part of "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 
>Um, he's saying that if a program says "you may use version 2 or later", you
>can't change that to "you must use version 2", except in your own code,
>since that's changing the license.

Um, then what's the point of clause 9 at all?  The GPL is invoked only 
upon distribution.  No distribution, no invocation of the GPL, no problem.  
"You" (the licensee) have the option of distributing under the GPL 2 only, 
when you invoke the GPL by distributing the Program, whether or not you 
have modified it.  Clause 9 is not preceded by any language indicating 
that it applies only to modifications, so it must be considered valid for 
any invocation of the GPL.

>If I release a program with the intent that it be available under later
>versions of the GPL, I certainly don't want people forking it and changing
>my code's license to remove this permission.  If that might introduce license
>incompatibilities in the future, then preventing this becomes very
>important.  Nothing grants permission to remove this.

Clause 9 does.  Clause 9 also pretty much states that all versions of the 
GPL will be compatible "in spirit".  A non-backwards-compatible GPL 
version would invalidate the first paragraph of clause 9, so the second 
paragraph will never be checked against.

As an aside, there is precedent for a common licensee relicensing code, 
ironically perpetrated by GPL-devotees, most often on BSD licensed code. 
In fact, I submit that since the GPL is the most-often-switched-to license 
when there's a licensing switch, there is a very real, however very small, 
portion of code that was never intended to be GPL'd that is now relicensed 
under the GPL, often by people with no more status than that of common 
licensee WRT the code in question.

>> Free Software Foundation." do you not understand?  Or is it the part of 
>> "Each licensee is addressed as "you"." that you're misunderstanding?  It's 
>I can't see any way in which he misunderstood anything.  I'm guessing
>you misunderstood his post.
>> which is enumerated in clause 9.  To be more exact, by using the GPL, the 
>> author ceded his right to determine the final form of the license to the 
>> FSF unless he used a specific version of the GPL, subject only to the 
>> promise of the FSF in clause 9 that they wouldn't change the spirit of 
>> the GPL.
>Nobody is disputing this.
>(Aside: this is only the case when the "or any later version" licensing is

- -- 
Sacred cows make the best burgers

Who is John Galt?  galt@inconnu.isu.edu, that's who!!!
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