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Re: RFH: GPLv3


Alexandre Oliva wrote:
On Jul 13, 2007, Nicholas Nethercote <njn@csse.unimelb.edu.au> wrote:

One way to view it:  the license is a feature.  Therefore changing the
license is changing a feature.

Every release of GCC in the past decade (and then some) was GPLv2+. GPLv3 has always been one of the options.

Anyone who had their heads in the sand for the past 18 months when
GPLv3 was being publicly discussed and developed, or wasn't at the GCC
Summit last year when I mentioned that the FSF would most certainly
want to upgrade the license of every project whose copyright it held
as soon as GPLv3 was ready, may indeed consider the license upgrade as
a surprising new feature.

Not everyone is a GCC developer.


Upgrade the license of every project implied that this would be
effective for future releases, not retroactive.

Now, why should we weaken our defenses for the sake of those who
didn't plan for something that could have been so easily forecast 18
months ago, and that was even planned to be finished 4 months ago?
Heck, the last-call draft, published one month before the final
release, was so close to the final release that non-insider lawyers
who were on top of the process managed to emit solid opinions about
the final license the day after it was released.

It seems to me that it is the FSF which didn't forecast consequences well, and has now created a problem.

No one is suggesting that any defenses be weakened.  Only that source
currently available under GPLv2 continue to be available under that
license.

It's those who didn't do their homework and didn't plan ahead for this
predictable upgrade who should be burdened now, rather than all of us
having to accept weaker defenses for our freedoms or facing additional
requirements on patches or backports.  It was all GPLv2+, and this
means permission for *anyone* to upgrade to GPLv3+.  The license
upgrade path is the easy path, and that's by design.

Companies will not upgrade to GPLv3 until they have reviewed it. It was released ~2 weeks ago. It's clearly been in a state of flux for many months, up until the release date.

The question is not whether companies can upgrade past releases
to GPLv3 voluntarily.  That's a red herring.  The question is
whether companies who are currently releasing source under GPLv2
will be prohibited from releasing the code under GPLv2 if they
do something as innocuous as apply a publicly posted patch.

Try a pragmatic approach, rather than a dogmatic approach.


-- Michael Eager eager@eagercon.com 1960 Park Blvd., Palo Alto, CA 94306 650-325-8077


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