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GNU C Library Looking To Drop FSF Copyright Assignment Policy

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  • #61
    The only difference is that the code is now GPL3, rather than being GPL3 + whatever else the FSF decides they want it to be.

    In practice, that just means it will be harder to update to GPL4, if that ever happens.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Filiprino View Post

      That's false.
      I’m not aware of why that is false, so can you elaborate a bit for me?

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      • #63
        Originally posted by NobodyXu View Post
        The gcc and glibc are released under GPL anyway, so what’s the difference with contributers retaining their copy right?
        If company A contributes a novel implementation of some algorithm to a project under GPL (or similar license), and yet retains the copyright, then company A can later reuse that exact same code (or some derivative work thereof) in another project (or standalone) with a different (possibly closed source) license.

        Originally posted by NobodyXu View Post
        After it is released under GPL with their code signed and contributers agreed, it is effectively not their code.
        The copyright asserts ownership. The license dictates what the recipient may do with a copy they (legally) received. If you have software with a GPL or similar license, you may modify it and re-release it, as stipulated by the license (i.e. as GPL). However, the portions contributed by company A are still owned by them.

        In other words, retaining the copyright doesn't permit company A to take back what they released under GPL. However, it still gives them the ability to do non-GPL things with that code. A popular open source business model is to give away software under GPL, which limits its use in commercial products. However, the company will sell you the same code, under a closed source-friendly license. The most famous example of this is probably Qt, which forms the basis of KDE.
        Last edited by coder; 30 June 2021, 04:12 AM.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by coder View Post
          If company A contributes a novel implementation of some algorithm to a project under GPL (or similar license), and yet retains the copyright, then company A can later reuse that exact same code (or some derivative work thereof) in another project (or standalone) with a different (possibly closed source) license.


          The copyright asserts ownership. The license dictates what the recipient may do with a copy they (legally) received. If you have software with a GPL or similar license, you may modify it and re-release it, as stipulated by the license (i.e. as GPL). However, the portions contributed by company A are still owned by them.

          In other words, retaining the copyright doesn't permit company A to take back what they released under GPL. However, it still gives them the ability to do non-GPL things with that code. A popular open source business model is to give away software under GPL, which limits its use in commercial products. However, the company will sell you the same code, under a closed source-friendly license. The most famous example of this is probably Qt, which forms the basis of KDE.
          Well, I personally don’t take issue with Qt or whatever code reuse the commercials are up to as long as they write the code.

          For companies like Qt who spent lots of money on open source, I personally think it is OK for them to reuse their own code.

          I don’t think any company with the copyright can sell gcc products, given that the vast majority of it is open source and patching it will also requires to release the source code.

          This kind of business model can only work when the majority and the core of the codebase is written by one company, which is not the case for gcc, linux, etc.

          There will be updates to existing core code right now and in the future, but it will be highly coupled with existing code and cannot be reasonably separated.

          So I don’t think anybody will be able to make a private version of the entire gcc or linux, and even if they do, they still have to open source it, and the open source version can be incorporated into the upstream which means there is no or seldom benefit from provating gcc or linux.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by NobodyXu View Post
            Well, I personally don’t take issue with Qt or whatever code reuse the commercials are up to as long as they write the code.
            I guess where it gets morally grey is if the community is testing for them and submitting bugfixes, but Qt requires it receive the copyright. Then, they're profiting off unpaid opensource contributors. I guess, if it bothers people too much, they just don't submit bugfixes or enhancements. If not, they're getting free (non-commercial) use of somebody else's work, so it just depends which side of that line you want to be on.

            Originally posted by NobodyXu View Post
            I don’t think any company with the copyright can sell gcc products, given that the vast majority of it is open source and patching it will also requires to release the source code.
            I think most people aren't concerned about the scenario I described, where a company submits a patch to a GPL project and then wants to use the same contribution elsewhere.

            The more controversial scenario is if you assign the copyright to someone else, they could choose to discontinue the old license and switch to one less favorable to you. People can still branch the last release under the old license, but if most of the contributors are now following the maintainer with their new license, such forks could die off.

            Many credit Linux' copyright policy with effectively ensuring the Linux kernel will never change its license, since doing so would require agreement from far too many parties. If you're perfectly happy with the existing license, then you would regard that as a good thing. For better or for worse, it looks like GNU LibC in heading down the same path.

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