Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th Mar 2009 18:02 UTC, submitted by google_ninja
GNU, GPL, Open Source Eric S. Raymond is one of the three big figures in open source, together with Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman. During a talk for the Long Island Linux User Group, he made some interesting statements about the GPL, namely that the GPL is no longer needed due to the way the open source movement works.
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RE: No
by diegocg on Tue 24th Mar 2009 18:38 UTC in reply to "No"
Member since:

Yeah, it's obvious that individuals are stupid. So we need to leave everything in hands of something that knows better what freedom is. Like the FSF. Thanks to the "or any other later version" of the GPL, programmers don't need to think about freedom, the FSF decides what is freedom for them. It was really nice to see the FSF changing with the GPLv3 the licensing terms of millions of lines of software, to fit not to the desires of the people who wrote those code, but the ones of the FSF staff. Because they know better than me.

(do i need to add the ironic tag?)

Reply Parent Score: -3

RE[2]: No
by pooo on Tue 24th Mar 2009 18:57 in reply to "RE: No"
pooo Member since:

Dude, you need to educate yourself on how the GPL works before you open your mouth again. You just made a complete fool of yourself.

By releasing the GPLv3 *zero* people who have licensed their code under GPLv2 were affected unless they chose to upgrade their licensing.

Really what we are seeing with people like you is a *religious* or *political* distaste for the GPL and not a logical objection. So I guess that is sort of the definition of "fool".

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[3]: No
by danieldk on Tue 24th Mar 2009 19:48 in reply to "RE[2]: No"
danieldk Member since:

Did you actually read his comment? ;) The FSF advises to use the following wording:

"This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."

If you use it as-is, and a new version of the GPL is written, users have the option to use the newer GPL. Suppose if the FSF was hypothetically taken over by Steve Ballmer's evil twin, and rewrites the GPLv4 to give a blanket license to the FSF there is nothing to stop them. Of course, such a scenario is not realistic in the short term. I think the anti-patent licensing terms can be more of a problem in the short term. What happens if a really FLOSS-friendly company (say Red Hat) is sued over a patent, and they can not succesfully defend themselves. Then they would need some patent licensing deal, effectively terminating their right to distributing that particular software if it is licensed under the GPLv3.

I hate patents as much as the next guy, but it is not an unfeasable scenario.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: No
by AdamW on Tue 24th Mar 2009 20:19 in reply to "RE[2]: No"
AdamW Member since:

Actually, the OP isn't entirely wrong.

All versions of the GPL contain a paragraph which specifically states that, if no explicit statement is made as to which version of the GPL applies to the code, *any* version can be taken to apply - including future versions which haven't been written yet.

If you just write a piece of software and stick a copy of the GPL in the archive, no matter what particular version of the GPL that file you put in the archive was, anyone can pick any version of the GPL to apply to your code. This isn't exactly what the OP said - later versions don't supersede earlier ones in this case, so you're still free to apply GPLv2 to any code without a specific GPLv3 statement - but it's not what you said, either.

If you want a particular version or combination of versions of the GPL or LGPL, and *only* those versions, to apply to your code, this has to be explicitly stated.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: No
by ichi on Tue 24th Mar 2009 19:14 in reply to "RE: No"
ichi Member since:

GPL's "v2 or later" is optional, you are making it sound as if poor programmers were being imposed the license updates by the evil guys from the FSF.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[3]: No
by Kalessin on Wed 25th Mar 2009 21:51 in reply to "RE[2]: No"
Kalessin Member since:

GPL's "v2 or later" is optional, you are making it sound as if poor programmers were being imposed the license updates by the evil guys from the FSF.

Well, they are and they aren't. It's totally up to the programmer which version of the GPL they license it under - including whether it says "or later." The problem is that you don't know what later licenses will entail. A programmer may love v2 and have licensed their code under "v2 or later" only to hate v3 when it came out and regretted that they left the "or later" clause allowing their code to be put under v3.

Technically, v4 of the GPL (should they ever choose to make one) could be identical to the BSD license, or the Apache license, or whatever the FSF feels like doing. By leaving "or later" in the license, you're allowing the FSF to decide what your license will say whenever they put out a new license. There are no guarantees that a new version of the GPL will be something that you agree with.

Naturally, the way to avoid the problem is to license your code under a specific version of the GPL and not include the "or later" clause, but anyone who leaves the "or later" clause in their license is letting the FSF do whatever they want to their code license-wise.

Reply Parent Score: 1