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[3]: No
by danieldk on Tue 24th Mar 2009 19:48 UTC 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