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Re: GPL2 + required to have the place to get the recent version

Gunnar Wolf writes ("Re: GPL2 + required to have the place to get the recent version"):
> I'm leaving aside the question that has been picked up, regarding
> whether this can be made under the GPLv2, or whether this is a
> "requirement" or a "polite request"...
> The requirement itself seems very similar to the "advertising clause"
> in the four-clause BSD license:
>     https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/05/msg00753.html
>     https://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2004/04/msg00325.html
>     https://www.gnu.org/licenses/bsd.html
> At that point, 4-clause BSD licenses were judged non-DFSG-free.

The 4-BSD advertising clause is worse than this requirement because:

 * Instead of just saying where you got the program or where to get
   recent versions, with 4-BSD you have to name all the contributors.
   The list of contributors can be very long.

 * Instead of just requiring the notice to "accompany" the software,
   ie copies of the software have to have this additional notice, the
   4-BSD requirement applies much more widely including to
   advertising, blog postings, whatever.

I think the requirement at issue here is inoffensive, at least if we
read the legal text above.

But I don't understand why the authors consider it useful.  The GPL2
requires you to give a lot of information about the original software.
It's not clear how much extra simply a link to the upstream helps.


Samuel Henrique <samueloph@debian.org>:
> > The release notes for 3.0. r5 also mentions:
> > 
> >   This program is licensed under GPL-2. Please note also that if
> >   you're using the program for a paid or free public service you need
> >   mention where you got this program from.

This suggests that the authors of this clause do not understand the
effect of their own legal wording.  My reading of the legal wording
does not affect use.  So it does not do what the release notes say.

To the original authors I would recommend AGPL3+.

If they don't want that then I think even if a clause could be drafted
which would have the effect they want (presumably, that described in
the release notes) it wouldn't be worth the licence incompatibility.

So if they don't want AGPL3+ they should probably use GPL2+.

I would recommend to them GPL2+ rather than GPL-v2-only for two
 - It makes it possible to upgrade the licence piecemeal to AGPL3+
   later, because AGPL3+ and GPL2+ code can be mixed;
 - GPL2's termination-for-fault clause is well known to be draconian.

Both GPL2+ and AGPL3+ are better choices than a custom clause because
they provide much better compatibility.


Ian Jackson <ijackson@chiark.greenend.org.uk>   These opinions are my own.

If I emailed you from an address @fyvzl.net or @evade.org.uk, that is
a private address which bypasses my fierce spamfilter.

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