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Re: Linux and GPLv2



On Sun, 13 Mar 2005 18:29:36 -0500 Glenn Maynard wrote:

> There's a more significant problem: if you say "or later", and you
> don't like GPLv3--either because it allows things you don't like, or
> (as recent events suggest may be more likely) includes restrictions
> you don't like, people can take your work, modify it, and place their
> modifications under GPLv3-only.  If you want to keep your code
> available under GPLv2, you can't incorporate those changes, since
> they're not available under v2.
>
> Considering that a primary motivator of the GPL is to prevent the case
> where you can't incorporate other people's enhancements to your work
> due to licensing, this seems like a potentially major failure.

Indeed.

[...]
> > 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.
> 
> The "or later" is intended, as I understand--from rational logic, as
> I don't believe I've seen any statement from the FSF--to allow the
> FSF to fix problems in the GPL.

You've seen it, believe me!
It's in the GPLv2 text itself!  ;-)

|   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.
                   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

>  Without "or later", it's impossible:
> the only way a "bugfixed" GPL could be used is after getting explicit
> permission from every copyright holder of a GPL work.  Further, and
> just as importantly, the "bugfixed" GPLv3 would be incompatible with
> the original GPLv2!  That would fragment the GPL at a fundamental
> level.

Yes, at level that only dual licensing (which is what "GPLv2 or later"
actually is) can cure...

> 
> That would be fine, if the FSF had maintained its traditional
> consistency. Frankly, they broke that trust with the GFDL, and so I'd
> sympathise with people no longer willing to use the "or later"
> language.  The above problem doesn't go away, though.

Agreed entirely.

The "or later" trick works as long as the FSF is trusted to actually fix
problems and release better and better GPL versions.
But I'm not sure that this trust is deserved any longer...

:-(  and  :-((  and then  :-(((


-- 
          Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
......................................................................
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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