GPLv2 or, at your option, any later version
Posted Oct 2, 2006 14:04 UTC (Mon) by mingo
In reply to: GPLv2 or, at your option, any later version
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
Again, since the option of choosing GPLv2 or any later version lies on you, the recipient of my gracefully licensed code, it is you who makes the decision, not Stallman.
I think you are again skipping the fundamental moral question. (I dont think you are doing that intentionally, so please dont take this as an attack of any sort.)
Yes, of course the contributor decided under which license the code was released. He might even have left the "or later version" and the "similar in spirit" language in the COPYING file for one of the following factors:
- fully intentionally, understanding all the legal and moral implications of that decision and leaving the power to change the license with the president of the FSF, or
- due to misunderstanding the goals of the GPL and the legal implications of the license, not being a lawyer himself, or
- due to laziness, because legaleese is boring stuff when we can do some real coding.
So my question is: does your position reduce to: "You made your decision when you released the code, now deal with the consequences. The president of the FSF has the legal power to do things with your contributions you possibly never thought of before - it's really your fault you did not read the legal fineprint and let it happen!"?
Or do you agree with me that the president of the FSF is in a unique legal position (and has the unprecedented legal power) to change the license affecting the contribution dynamics of 350 million lines of code instantly?
Do you agree with me that such huge power brings with itself a minimal moral obligation to at least /understand/ and adopt to the position of the community that created that codebase, instead of trying to advance his own moral position? Or if that adoption is not possible, to voluntarily give up his unique legal powers (which powers are contrary to the philosophy of free software itself) and remove the "or later version" language from the license and let people only pick a specific version of the GPL, hoping that people would consciously pick up his new version of the license for new contributions?
to post comments)