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Re: GPL "or any greater version"

> > 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.

> Raul Miller writes:
> > In other words: you disagree, but don't want to express any specific
> > disagreement.

On Fri, Aug 27, 2004 at 03:19:28PM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
> No.  In other words: I elect to not feed the troll more than necessary.

If you honestly think I'm a troll, you should be ignoring me entirely,
except to tell other people not to respond to me.  And, perhaps, including
a reference to some page which refutes what I have to say.

I don't think I'm a troll (though I do think I've been spending too
much time on this issue), and I think that your calling me a troll
is insulting.

> > > 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.

You're claiming the FSF license volunteer was certain about this issue?

>    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
> reading.

I'm not sure what you mean by "actual practice".  Do you mean actual
practice by the FSF?

I don't know of any cases where the FSF indicates that it's not acceptable
for users to use future versions of the GPL in any context where GPL
version 2 is specified.

Maybe you could at least be a bit more specific about this "actual

> > >     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?

My mistake -- that was an exact quote.  It wasn't a rephrasing of the
license section in question, it's just not a part of the license.

This confusion on my part messed up a bunch of my response, so
I'm going to delete that section.

> > > 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.

I imagine that's why it was in quotes.

That said, I'd take "any later version of gcc" to mean "a work based
on gcc".

> 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.

My disagreement with you doesn't change the meaning of the section
"How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs".

It's only for a case which the FSF doesn't care to present any examples
of that our disagreement is significant.  You're claiming that it's clear
that those examples [well, what would be examples if there were any]
are clearly intended by the GPL.  I'm claiming they are not.

> 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, [1] and [2].
> What happened?
> [1]- http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/08/msg00713.html
> [2]- http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/08/msg00730.html

I don't know why you included [2].  In [1] there are exchanges like:

. > Instead, I distribute only under GPL v2.
. But GPL v2 explicitly allows other users to make this version choice
. themselves.  So later users still have the option to use GPL v3, just
. like you did.

More fundamentally, my argument has been that "GPL v2 only" means only
under the terms of GPL v2, which includes the later version option.
In other words, "GPL v2 only" does not exclude later versions.

In other words, what are you really asking about?


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