GPLv2 compatability exception in the GPLv3.
Posted Oct 18, 2006 9:00 UTC (Wed) by drag
Parent article: FSF should separate GPLv3 changes (Linux.com)
I think that projects that wish to go GPLv3 or wish to transfer to GPLv3 may want to do something that will show that they can be trusted for the people that may be suspicious of motivations for moving away from GPLv3 (like they are trying to do a project takeover or something like that)
I propose that a possible solution to this problem is that when adopting the GPLv3 license that you will want to add a exception to the GPLv3. This exception would allow for GPLv2 backward compatability for projects that want to remain GPLv2.
The idea is that if a person has a project that is explicitly 'GPL version 2 and newer" you will be automaticly be compatable because of their license choice. However since it's not backward compatable it may give people the wrong perception that your attempting to take code or steal code or do a take over of the code or fork it or something like that based on licensing technicalities.
So to show good faith you should make it so that those projects can come and take code back from your project and incorporate it into the GPLv2.
That way they don't have to feel pressured to accepting your licensing terms. Also this would help to encourage projects that are 'GPLv2 only' or may want to go from 'GPLv2 and newer' to 'GPLv2 only' to realise that all you care about is perserving freedom and are not a control freak.
And since this is not a part of the GPLv3, but a add on that your project CHOOSE to incorporate then it proves for everybody that this is a not a fake gesture of good faith.
You gain the greater compatability with 3rd party licenses. Your end users get the patent language protections. You don't have to worry about people DRM'ng your stuff for the most part, and for the most part you don't loose the working relationship with people who wish to remain GPLv2.
This works out because your showing trust that the people that are using GPLv2 aren't going to suddenly go 'GPLv2 only' and cut you off from improvements to YOUR code just like you choose not to go GPLv3 pure and cut them off from impovements to THEIR code.
This weakens the GPLv3 'protections' somewhat.. (the pratical nature of OSS will help to compinsate for the lack of legal solidity) But to be truthfully honest the GPLv2 is still working very well.
In a few years if it works out that GPLv3 is nice and everybody likes it and people have figured out how to work with it and make money then projects can then go to pure GPLv3 with no infighting and no ill-will.
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