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Re: Linux and GPLv2

Daniel Carrera <dcarrera@math.umd.edu> writes:

> Måns Rullgård wrote:
>> > Given the vast number of Linux contributors, this means that Linux
>> > won't be able to migrate to the GPLv3 when it comes out, correct?
>> That would be the case.  Is this a problem?
> For a large colaborative project, possibly. Using only the GPLv2
> means you are trapped in that license. Having an "or later" allows
> some measure of adaptability. Suppose that there is a good reason
> why the GPLv2 needs to be updated (e.g. to deal with software
> patents). Then you would like to have the choice of moving to the
> GPLv3 if you want.

We have to consider the possibility that GPLv3 will say something we
don not want.  Then we do not want people distributing it under those
terms.  Never give permission to do something you do not know what it

>> What if I don't at all agree with GPLv3?
> Well, then it means you gave people more freedoms than you
> intended. You can still make a GPLv2 fork and make all subsequent
> releases GPLv2 only.

Only if all the copyright holders agree.  Suppose A has accepted
contributions from B, with the "or later" option, and it turns out
that A does not approve of v3.  Now B refuses to drop this, so A is
effectively forced to distribute his code under a license he does not
approve of.

> The point is, the "or later" gives you more flexibility and
> choice. I think it's a prudent precaution.

The "or later" gives the FSF more flexibility to change the license
terms for a vast amount of software they really have no connection at
all with, with or without the approval of the copyright holders of
said software.

I'd be very cautious about placing my code at the hands of a third
party in such a manner, and I think it is unfortunate that so many
authors release code under the GPL (with "or later" option), without
properly considering the implications.

Måns Rullgård

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