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Re: System libraries and the GPLv2

On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 10:27:46AM +0200, Florian Weimer wrote:
> What really annoys me about this whole situation is this: I think no
> one presently argues that the GPLv2 prevents people from distributing
> pre-built binaries for proprietary operating systems.  I can take
> Hotspot (a component of OpenJDK which is GPLv2-only), compile it with
> Microsoft Visual Studio, and distribute the result.  But I suddenly
> can't ship pre-built binaries, as a free software distribution,
> because I happen to have upgraded the system compiler past GCC 4.2,
> thus got the new GPLv3+ license for libgcc, and can't link GPLv2-only
> Hotspot against that anymore.  This can't be right, can it?

well, yes and no. By design GPLv3 is incompatible with GPLv2-only,
so this is "right" in the sense that it works as intended. It's also a
major fuckup for some GPLv2-only users (as you just described), which
as a result made *me* like+trust the FSF and the GPL less.

(And which then also resulted in me choosing GPLv2-only over GPLv2 or GPLv3
more often.)

By now I also think these "or any future version" clauses are… brave.


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