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[2]: No
by pooo on Tue 24th Mar 2009 18:57 UTC in reply to "RE: No"
pooo
Member since:
2006-04-22

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:
2005-11-18

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[4]: No
by Delgarde on Tue 24th Mar 2009 20:27 in reply to "RE[3]: No"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

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."


Right. But presumably, you're not just throwing licensing conditions on your work without reading them, right? So when you included a copyright notice at the top of your source files that says "or any later version" in the very first paragraph, you can hardly claim you didn't mean it, right?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: No
by da_Chicken on Wed 25th Mar 2009 13:29 in reply to "RE[3]: No"
da_Chicken Member since:
2006-01-01


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.

Yeah, and if Vatican was hypothetically taken over by Satanists who rewrite the Bible to make the Devil appear as the good guy, there is nothing to stop them either. ;)


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.

Well, it wouldn't be the end of the world for them. They could easily re-license any GPLv3-licensed software they've written themselves, and they could continue distributing software that ships under any other free software license, including GPLv2. However, not signing patent deals gives them the advantage that they can also distribute GPLv3-licensed software, while their competitors who *have* signed patent licensing deals don't have this advantage.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[3]: No
by AdamW on Tue 24th Mar 2009 20:19 in reply to "RE[2]: No"
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

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[4]: No
by sbergman27 on Wed 25th Mar 2009 16:38 in reply to "RE[3]: No"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

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

I think that's any *later* version. The FSF's GPL is like the back-swept teeth in the maw of a shark. They want the default movement to be in one direction, with no option to go the other way.

Edited 2009-03-25 16:39 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: No
by azrael29a on Wed 25th Mar 2009 23:46 in reply to "RE[3]: No"
azrael29a Member since:
2008-02-26

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.

No. You're wrong.
This would happen only when you would just put the small note in the code "this program is under GPL" without specifying the license text.
If you attach a text of a specific version of GPL then noone can take your code and release it under an earlier version of the GPL.
Read the GPL FAQ.
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html

Reply Parent Score: 1