every other major copyleft *forces* you to allow later license versions
Posted Oct 4, 2006 8:40 UTC (Wed) by himi
In reply to: every other major copyleft *forces* you to allow later license versions
Parent article: Busy busy busybox
That is, except for "or later" loophole.
That one allows parasitic forks that can pull from original codebase
without permitting to merge back. _And_ it allows for GPLv2-only
forks, to serious displeasure of FSF.
BTW, if you have "v2 or later" project, no extra restrictions of
GPLv3 have desired effect until you get GPLv3 (or "v3 or later")
fork and manage to kill development of the original. As long as
the project remains under "v2 or later", anti-DRM, etc. clauses
are trivial to bypass by saying "I'm distributing under GPLv2, as
allowed by project license". It's not about conspiracy theories,
etc. - that's simply how "or later" part of license is written.
I'm not sure I follow this argument - unless you're somehow postulating that the people doing your v2 only fork can relicense the code, I'd get it under the "v2 or later" clause, too, which means that they can apply their DRM, but when they distribute it to me I can request the source and appropriate keys under the anti-DRM clauses of the GPLv3.
So there are two possibilities: pressure authors of the original
to relicense under v3/v3-or-later *OR* fork, relicense the fork
that way yourself and try to make the original branch wither.
Now, put yourself in position of people who do not want to drop
v2. They are going to realize that v3 fork is coming. Moreover,
that fork will be able to pick their improvements, but not the
other way round. About the only response other than "give up" is
"curse, accept that v2-or-later is not sustainable anymore and
start protecting new code with v2-only". And that's exactly what
we are starting to see. And will see more as more people see
the writing on the wall and decide to do something about that.
You're making an awful lot of noise about relicensing code left right and center, but you're ignoring something quite important: only the owner of the copyright on a piece of code can change the license on that code. That means that some random person coming along and creating a fork of a project under the "GPLv2 or later" license has to stick to that license on every line of code in that tree, except the stuff they write themselves. And if a person or a group is able to relicense a body of code, they own that code, and they have every right to do whatever they want with it, including taking it closed source, proprietary, and charging people millions of dollars a seat. They can put the code they write themselves under whatever license they want, whether it's a patch to some GPLv2, v3, or v20 code, but they can't simply change the terms of the original license grant from "GPLv2 or later" to "GPLv2 only" or GPLv3 only", and without that license change the only issue is the license on their modifications.
If a project starts to accept major changes under a GPLv3 only license then your horror story of a v3 only fork may be possible, but only if that fork either convinces other contributors to release their code to it under a v3 only license, or if they replace the code that's still 'tainted' with the v2 grant; likewise for a v2 only fork. But frankly, that's the project lead's own stupid fault for not taking sensible precautions about license compatibility, and it's not something to make such a big song and dance about
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