[TriLUG] GPLv3 -- What do you think?
rick.denatale at gmail.com
Thu Mar 16 09:49:27 EST 2006
On 3/15/06, Cristobal Palmer <cristobalpalmer at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I'm curious as to how many copyright holders who have thought about
> > this section actually have chosen to allow users to choose alternative
> > versions of the GPL. In some sense doing so might seem to be most in
> > line with the FSF philosophy, but it does seem to be a "leap of faith"
> > on the part of the copyright holders that they and the FSF will be in
> > accord on all aspects of the GPL in perpetuity.
> > --
> > Rick DeNatale
> I think you hit the nail on the head. It would be interesting to get
> an answer directly from the FSF as to why exactly that language is in
> there (link? anyone?); I agree with you that the effect of giving that
> option is to say to the person who will be releasing the code under
> the license, "Trust us. You'll like our updates."
Well, the language has been there from the beginning, it was section 7 in GPLv1:
Groklaw (whatever you think of it) has a side by side comparison of
GPLv2 and GPLv3
A few more things to ponder.
First, I've looked at a few COPYING files on my systems distributed
with various packages. Most seem to just be a copy of GPLv2. I wonder
if the fact that the text of GPLv2 begins with:
GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
Version 2, June 1991
in and of itself constitutes a declaration that a work which includes
just the text of GPLv2 is declaring that specific version by default.
I think that a case could be made either way. Linus seems to feel
that the 'default' interpretation is to require a specific version of
Interpreting it this way would mean that the language in section 9
about the program not specifying a version number moot since you can't
modify the license to remove the version number, but that might just
be a bug in the way that the GPL was originally written.
Second, in some sense the issue might well be moot. Linus' objection
to GPLv3 is that it places additional restrictions on users, in that
they can't use a GPLv3 licensed program as part of "an effective
technological protection measure" which is the language used in the
European Union Copyright Directive to name a DRM mechanism.
Let's say that the linux licensed only said that it was licensed under
GPL with no specific version mentioned, or it said GPLv2 or any later
version. In this case the USER is free to choose which of several
versions of the GPL he wished to follow, in which case the evil
scientist would be free to ignore the additional restrictions placed
by GPLv3 and go ahead and implement his "shark with laser beams" DRM
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