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Re: gcc-4.1-20080303 is now available
On Mon, 17 Mar 2008, Mark Mitchell wrote:
> Kaveh R. GHAZI wrote:
> >> I too think that it would be a bad idea to switch the 4.1 branch to
> >> GPLv3,
> > Can you please elabortate why?
> I think it's a bad idea to change the license on a release branch in
> deep maintenance mode. That would be a surprise to users.
I'm not trying to beat a dead horse. But I'd like to clarify something,
maybe I have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the GPL operates. If
so, I'll thank you in all seriousness for educating me and drop the issue,
but otherwise I think a clarification should be made where you said: "That
would be a surprise to users."
My understanding is that *users* of GCC are not impacted by the license
change. When users compile their code, they only care about the runtime
licenses as written into the GPL+exception clauses. These pieces of text
are still GPLv2 anyway (even on mainline), so there is zero change for
The people who get impacted by switching gcc-4.1 to GPLv3 are only
distributors of GCC. And they maintain their own branches with local
patches anyway. Assuming distributors are up to date with e.g. today's
4.1 branch, all their patches are covered by GPLv2. If we then later
switch the license, then distributors are not affected either. Well okay,
they lose the ability to coodinate new fixes in a central repo on
gcc.gnu.org. If the branch is truly in its last phase, there shouldn't be
much of anything getting installed going forward, especially given Richard
G's desire to severely limit the kinds of changes allowed. 
So what really is the negative impact of the license change especially if
we immediately close the 4.1 branch after one last release?
Kaveh R. Ghazi email@example.com