GPL 3: An Open-Source Earthquake? (CRN)
Posted Feb 12, 2007 21:18 UTC (Mon) by gerv
In reply to: GPL 3: An Open-Source Earthquake? (CRN)
Parent article: GPL 3: An Open-Source Earthquake? (CRN)
Listing the entire text is a requirement of the license. It makes no statement about versions. The paragraph by Linus at the top of COPYING (at least, the version I linked to) also says absolutely nothing about versions.
Yes, the "or later" notice is left off, but so is all the rest of the boilerplate. How much clearer can section 9 be? The Program (the file) does not specify a version number of this License (because it doesn't specify anything) and so consequentially you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.
The boilerplate you quote also falls into the same category. But we have already agreed that if code has no boilerplate at all, then it is under the terms of GPL version 2 - as given in COPYING. And GPL version 2 clearly states that if no version number is given in boilerplate, you can use any version of the GPL ever published by the FSF.
To put it another way, the default terms in the case of no boilerplate are "any version ever published" (i.e. 1, 2 or 3). The standard default boilerplate is "this version or any later version" (i.e 2 or 3) and it can be modified to "this version only (i.e. 2). There are three different possibilities depending on the boilerplate status, and files with no boilerplate are in the first of those three buckets.
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