Re: update on only/or later etc.

David A. Wheeler

Jilayne Lovejoy <opensource@...>:
Do NOT add a identifier or operator, etc. for the found-license-text-only scenario where you don’t know if the intent of the copyright holder was “only or “or later” and are thus left to interpret clause 9 
This "resolution" doesn't solve the problem.

Since tools are not yet sentient, tools often *cannot* determine if "or later" was intended. Yet "don't know" makes a tool useless, and it *did* see a copy of a license, so the tool *will* report something. Tools will probably report "GPL-2.0-only" when they only see the GPL-2.0. As a result, soon "GPL-2.0-only" will not IN PRACTICE mean "only GPL-2.0".

I'm fine with "GPL-2.0-only" and special-casing "GPL-2.0+", but we *STILL* need a way to indicate "GPL-2.0 at least and I don't know if later versions are okay".

People depend on automated tools, and automated tools often CAN'T figure out the "or later" question. There are a million ways to indicate "I don't know if a later version is okay", e.g., "AT LEAST" or "?" suffix, MAYBE operation, etc. But if SPDX can't represent this common case, then people will overload *other* expressions with this alternative meaning, meaning that the "only" soon won't have that meaning.

--- David A. Wheeler

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