RFH: GPLv3

Brooks Moses brooks.moses@codesourcery.com
Sun Jul 15 06:46:00 GMT 2007


Robert Dewar wrote:
> One could of course just take a blanket view that everything
> on the site is, as of a certain moment, licensed under GPLv3
> (note you don't have to change file headers to achieve this,
> the file headers have no particular legal significance in
> any case).

I'm going to pull a Wikipedia and call "citation needed" on that 
parenthetical claim.

At the very least, the file headers are a clear representation as to 
what license the file is under, and IMO a reasonable person would expect 
to be able to rely on such a representation.

Thus, I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that distributing 
a GCC with some file headers saying "GPLv2 or later" and some saying 
"GPLv3 or later" is violating the license.  The FSF is allowed to 
violate their own license, since they hold the copyrights, but nobody 
else is -- thus, a corrolary to that argument is that an exact copy of 
such a GCC is not redistributable unless the redistributor fixes the 
file headers.  That would be bad.

And, regardless of whether one accepts that argument, if I were to pull 
a file with a GPLv2 header out of a "GPLv3-licensed" svn and give an 
exact copy of it to my friend, I would have to remember to tell her that 
the file isn't licensed under what it says it's licensed under.  That's 
also not good.

Thus, I think it's reasonably critical that _all_ file headers be 
updated, quickly, to match the state of intended license for the files 
that include them.

- Brooks



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