Re: GPL "or any greater version"
Raul Miller writes:
> > > 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.
> On Fri, Aug 27, 2004 at 02:37:47PM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
> > I omit your "expansions" of this because I think they are somewhere
> > between exercises in silliness and exercises in perversity.
> In other words: you disagree, but don't want to express any specific
No. In other words: I elect to not feed the troll more than necessary.
> > 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.
> This is the point in dispute.
You are the only one who seems confused about this.
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
> > 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.
> This is a rephrasing, not an attempt to preserve grammatical structure
> with illustrative concrete nouns.
A rephrasing of what? If you think I pulled the above out of the air,
you are far less experienced in maintenance or distribution of GPLed
software than is appropriate for someone who advcocates such a bizarre
interpretation of its license terms.
> I disagree with this rephrasing in part because the use of concrete
> nouns in the place of abstract nouns shows a different meaning for the
> grammar used in the license.
I hope you will then file bug reports against the very large number of
programs that actually that text (or substantially similar text) in
their copyright notices.
> I also disagree because the meaning you're suggesting conflicts with
> the structure of the license as a whole. [It would create a number
> of internal conflicts in interpretation of the GPL, in a variety of
.. such as what?
> > 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.
If you like, consider the exact text of GPLv2 section 9 to contain a
bug. The actual use of "any later version" (as exemplified in the
section "How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs" and many
pieces of free software) is clear, in spite of your disagreement.
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 .