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Re: GPL "or any greater version"

Raul Miller writes:

> > Raul Miller <moth@debian.org> writes:
> > > In my opinion the bit that says <<and "any later version",>> refers
> > > to later versions of the program -- in other words, what the license
> > > elsewhere calls works based on the Program.
> On Fri, Aug 27, 2004 at 12:53:58PM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
> > That's the real misunderstanding.  That very clearly refers to any
> > later version of the GPL, not any later version of the program.
> Here is the clause again:
>    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.

I omit your "expansions" of this because I think they are somewhere
between exercises in silliness and exercises in perversity.

There are three obvious remarks to make:

First, the GPL does not use "version" anywhere in the license text to
refer to the Program, only to the GPL itself.  The only place that it
mentions version is "Gnomovision version 69" in the explanation of how
to use the GPL to protect your program, which is not part of the
license itself.

Second, your proposed reading of "any later version published by the
Free Software Foundation" has a big problem for the large fraction of
GPLed software that is *not* published by the FSF.

Finally, the example of how to use that phrase -- and how it is
generally used in copyright notices -- is this:

    This program 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 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

Your reading of GPLv2 section 9 is totally unsupported.

Michael Poole

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