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"Very Disruptive" Change Hurts ARM Linux Support

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  • ArneBab
    replied
    Originally posted by TAXI View Post
    To be fair it says "or (at your option) any later version." - the "at your option" is important, cause that doesn't mean you as copyright holder, it means 3rd parties (the one reading the license text).

    Now look at this (extremely unlikely) scenario:
    1) Microsoft overtakes the FSF.
    2) Microsoft brings out GPLv4, which is just this text: "All codes belong to the Microsoft corp.".
    3) They download your GPLv2 source codes and decide to let GPLv4 apply cause, in their option, it's better than v2.
    There is a condition on what can be deemed a later version: It must not violate the spirit of the license:

    Originally posted by GPLv2/3
    The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the GNU General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.
    With this, (2) is not (easily) possible: They might call their new License GPLv4, but that would not make it a later version of GPLv3, because it would not be similar in spirit.

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  • V10lator
    replied
    Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
    You can still use it under GPLv2, as it says '_or_ later'
    To be fair it says "or (at your option) any later version." - the "at your option" is important, cause that doesn't mean you as copyright holder, it means 3rd parties (the one reading the license text).

    Now look at this (extremely unlikely) scenario:
    1) Microsoft overtakes the FSF.
    2) Microsoft brings out GPLv4, which is just this text: "All codes belong to the Microsoft corp.".
    3) They download your GPLv2 source codes and decide to let GPLv4 apply cause, in their option, it's better than v2.

    //EDIT: On the other side if some hole in the GPLv2 gets found and you want the new GPLv4 to apply cause it fixes that hole, who would win in court? You that chooses the option of GPLv4 or some evil company that chooses the option of GPLv2 (cause they simply don't want a later version) to exploit that hole?
    Last edited by V10lator; 04-11-2013, 10:35 PM.

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  • Delgarde
    replied
    Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
    You can still use it under GPLv2, as it says '_or_ later'
    Sure - but my concern wasn't that I can't keep using v2, it's that by leaving the "or later" in there, people will in future gain the ability to use the code under GPLv4 or v5, under conditions not foreseen when the code was written under v2+, and which I might not approve of. Hence, removing that condition.

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  • Serge
    replied
    The danger, when violating a license, is not whether the current copyright owner currently does not mind you violating his license's terms. The danger is what will happen if the current owner decides to sell the rights to someone else, or decides to change his business strategy.

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  • XorEaxEax
    replied
    Originally posted by blackiwid View Post
    I am not so shure about that, I am no laywer but here in germany 3rd people can sue people for copyright stuff.
    Do you have any example of a 3rd party suing over someone elses copyright being infringed against that infringed copyright owner's will? That sounds totally outlandish to me?

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  • XorEaxEax
    replied
    Originally posted by Delgarde View Post
    Not true. The "or later" clause is removed, because really, that's a pretty dangerous thing to have in a legal document. It requires you to trust that the FSF will *never* release a future version of the GPL that includes conditions you're not willing to accept. Plenty of people seem to be happy with that, but it's hardly surprising that not everyone does.
    You can still use it under GPLv2, as it says '_or_ later', it can also be dangerous to assume that there won't be some unforseen problems with a licence which can't be fixed in later revisions due to the removal of 'or later'.

    That said, Linus (and the rest of the kernel devs apparently) seem very happy with this choice of license and I haven't seen him second-guess himself at any time (again, quite the opposite) which given that Linux has been around for ~20 years it likely means GPLv2 a perfect fit for this project, else the 'warts' would have appeared by now.

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  • Delgarde
    replied
    Originally posted by Sidicas View Post
    If you want to mess with a license, you need to consult a decent legal team first.. Too many programmers think they're geniuses at everything when they're not. Have mercy on the poor distro packagers who have to deal with situations of manipulated licenses. Don't touch the license.
    Agreed. The GPL family aren't perfect, but they *were* written by legal experts with the knowledge and time to go over every single word and thoroughly analyze it for loopholes and unintended consequences. That's not something that should be undertaken by someone without legal advice or background.

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  • Delgarde
    replied
    Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
    He did this because he thinks GPLv2 is a perfect licence as is, which is fine.
    Not true. The "or later" clause is removed, because really, that's a pretty dangerous thing to have in a legal document. It requires you to trust that the FSF will *never* release a future version of the GPL that includes conditions you're not willing to accept. Plenty of people seem to be happy with that, but it's hardly surprising that not everyone does.

    Leave a comment:


  • blackiwid
    replied
    Originally posted by XorEaxEax View Post
    So if Linus is ok with it not being a licence conflict, and the developer who holds copyright to the actual code in question and submitted it is ok with it not being a licence conflict, and no other Linux copyright holder complains and wants this resolved, either by removing the code or deciding in court if this is a licence conflict, then nothing will happen.
    I am not so shure about that, I am no laywer but here in germany 3rd people can sue people for copyright stuff. So maybe in usa nobody but the developers can sue somebody else, but here in germany 3rd people can sue whoever they want if they dont respect the lisenses of a organisations.

    Maybe I am wrong but I think I heared from such cases.

    And the other thing is that you think that a copyright holder have to say something to linus first and do than stuff after that if nothing happens, again I think thats wrong, theoreticly one of the devs could without even talking to linus directly sue this other developer or maybe linus for mixing that stuff together...

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  • XorEaxEax
    replied
    Originally posted by Sonadow View Post
    Good luck with that Torvalds. As much as I see the FSF as a bunch of luddites and foggies, i doubt he's going to win this.
    Win what? The 'gpl-violations' project (which is not part of the FSF) brought up this licence issue. They can't sue anyone or bring this to court because _they are not the copyright holders_ understand!?!?

    The only way this would become an issue is if anyone of the Linux copyright holders (aka Linux kernel developers) would complain and say they want this licence incompability 'fixed'. The FSF (which hasn't said anything in this matter from what I can tell, if so can someone point me to their statement) and/or 'gpl-violations.org' which brought this to light has nothing to say about how/if this licence incompability should actually be dealt with.

    So unless a kernel dev (copyright holder) contacts Linus and tells him that he wants this licence incompability resolved then nothing will happen as Linus (if the mailing list post iks to be believed) doesn't think there is a licence compability problem.

    So if Linus is ok with it not being a licence conflict, and the developer who holds copyright to the actual code in question and submitted it is ok with it not being a licence conflict, and no other Linux copyright holder complains and wants this resolved, either by removing the code or deciding in court if this is a licence conflict, then nothing will happen.

    Also given that the code in question is likely being deprecated (unless I misunderstood the mailing list exchange) then this issue will probably 'resolve' itself.

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