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Re: forbidding later version of GPL for xsoldier

On Mon, Jun 10, 2002 at 01:08:25AM -0600, John Galt wrote:
> >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.

Clause 9 seems pretty straightforward: if the copyright holder has
decided to allow it, you can use later versions of the license for his
code.  It doesn't say that if he has given permission to allow this, you
can freely remove this permission from forks.  It almost seems the
opposite; if the copyright holder allows the version choice, and you
choose GPLv2, then clause 9 says that the permission remains.  The
Program says "version 2 or later", you chose version 2, and version 2
says "... and people can continue to choose versions".

Of course, I could be far off here--dual licensing gets messy--but if I
am, I'd like to know how.

> >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.

The GPL is compatible "in spirit" with lots of licenses; that's extremely
vague.  It doesn't mean the same thing as "GPL-compatible", which is very
specific.  If the GPLv3 closes some loophole in the GPLv2 by adding a
restriction, it'll be GPLv2-incompatible, but still be compatible "in spirit".

> 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.

I could agree with David Starner that this is "rude", but aside from
thta, it's not the same thing: you're adding restrictions to the BSD
license (which that license does not prohibit) to make it the GPL.
The GPL license prohibits adding extra restrictions.

Glenn Maynard

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