Re: GPL vX or later issue

Kim Weins

I think that we need to treat the v2 and later as a separate license in the
list. Although it would be nice from a purely technical point of view to
factor that into a conjunction or disjunction of two licenses, it is clear
just from the opinions on this list that doing so may cause some loss in
fidelity. Given the many differing opinions here, it seems leaving it as a
separate license would be the most conservative approach.

I also can't see any significant downside to making the "and later" as
different licenses except a very slight amount of overhead in having a
couple more licenses in the list.


On Tue 11/9/10 1:22 PM, "Richard Fontana" <rfontana@...> wrote:

On Tue, Nov 09, 2010 at 12:10:13PM -0800, dmg wrote:
Don't confuse a conjunction of terms with a disjunction. GPLv2 and
"ANY later version" is a conjunction of
licensing terms, while 'MPL1.1 or LGPL 2.1' is a disjunction.

Actually, it is not inherently clear whether "GPLv2 or any later
version" licensing is meant to be conjunctive or disjunctive, but it
is my sense that the majority view in the open source developer
community is that it is disjunctive. By that I mean, if I get some
"GPLv2 or later" code, I can redistribute it under "GPLv2 or later"
(which is what is done 99% of the time), or (by revising the license
notices) "GPLv2 only", or (by revising the license notices) "GPLv3
only" [or "GPLv3 or later"]).

As a historical example, in ~2006 active developers of BusyBox acted
on the assumption that "GPLv2 or later" was disjunctive, and made some
effort to alter license notices to say "GPLv2 only". Bruce Perens, one
of the early developers of BusyBox, objected to this, arguing that
GPLv2, in requiring preservation of license notices, prevents the
removal of the "or later" choice. See:

The FSF's position is that "GPLv2 or later" is disjunctive, precisely
like a "MPL 1.1 or LGPL 2.1" dual license, and there was some effort
in GPLv3 to clarify that.

- RF

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