Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 28th Mar 2007 21:02 UTC, submitted by Ali Davoodifar
GNU, GPL, Open Source The FSF has released the third draft of the revised third version of the GNU General Public License. Some of the changes in the new draft, such as the increased clarification and legal language, or the housekeeping changes that reflect new aspects of the license are likely to be accepted. However, the license also includes a new approach to the controversial issue of lock-down technologies as well as more explicit language about patents, including language designed to prevent a re-occurrence of agreements such as the one that Novell entered into with Microsoft - all of which is apt to kindle heated debate as the revision process enters its final stages after fifteen months of intensive work.
Thread beginning with comment 225528
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[3]: Let's see
by elsewhere on Thu 29th Mar 2007 03:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Let's see"
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

Actually I remember having read a comment by Alan Cox saying that Torvalds may have just removed the "(or any later version)" clause some time into the development process, which would invalidate such a change.

A search on Google returned this LKML post (I don't remember if it's the same one, but it's still interesting): http://lkml.org/lkml/2006/1/20/278Edited 2007-03-28 23:17


That debate was pretty much dismissed, but it's irrelevant. When "v2 or later" code is combined with "v2 only" code, the combined work is v2 only. That's the way the GPL works. The specific code snippets that were released as v2 or later could be extracted and used separately, but not the linked code.

The "or later" clause effectively creates a multiple license situation, not a single all-encompassing license. Once v3 is released, it will effectively mean you have the option of using the code under a v2 license *or* a v3 license. You effectively fork an "or later" project the moment you combined it with "only" code, but it won't work the other way.

A good example will be the GNU Hurd kernel project; once the FSF changes the license to v3 (which presumably they'll do), they'll have to eliminate some of the driver code they adapted from linux because that code cannot be converted to v3.

So even if Linus did initiate the kernel GPL license with the "or later" boilterplate (which he didn't), patches submitted and merged under "v2 only" would make the collective work v2 only. Linus' point that started some of this confusion was to clarify that the "or later" clause did not exist and the license was v2 only. There were license.txt's as part of the kernel source that included the straight text from the FSF which and included the blurb about recommending about the "or later" clause, which confused some people, but it didn't in fact apply to the kernel itself.

Edited 2007-03-29 03:22 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3