Alexandre Oliva aoliva@redhat.com
Mon Jul 16 15:44:00 GMT 2007

On Jul 13, 2007, Geoffrey Keating <geoffk@apple.com> wrote:

> If there's a situation where 'silent' license upgrades can occur,
> where even just one file in a release might be GPLv3, or any other
> situation where the license is not clear, then to me that software is
> unusable.  This applies to subversion as well to releases in tarballs.

I'm pretty sure the FSF has no intention of misguiding people into
accidentally distributing software under a license they don't mean
to.  The license of each and every release ought to be clearly marked,
and it's our duty as GCC maintainers to ensure that this holds true
for all GCC releases.

However, it is also your duty as an employee of the company you work
for to keep its code base in alignment with the legal policies of the
company.  This means, among other things, not integrating patches
under licenses that the company hasn't accepted.

So, when there's doubt as to which license applies to a patch, you'd
better figure that out before integrating the patch.  And, in the mean
time, work with the legal department to reduce the overhead this is
going to create for you, by adding GPLv3 to the set of licenses
approved for your employer's version of GCC.

> As far as surprises go, I would point out that the new C++ front-end
> was not a surprise to anyone following GCC development, but that
> doesn't mean that everyone was ready to use it on their code the day
> that 4.0.0 was released.  In fact I think not everyone is ready to use
> it even today, two years after the release, and that's the kind of
> timescale to be thinking about when considering GPLv3 adoption.

And what do these people do?  They stick to old releases that didn't
have these features.  And this often means being unable to backport
changes and fixes, because they depend on these new features.  There's
really no difference in this case, except that in one case it's a
technical matter while in the other it's a legal matter.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
FSF Latin America Board Member         http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}

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