AW: For Approval: Some License Or Another

Ian Lance Taylor ian at
Tue Nov 30 15:02:36 UTC 2004

"Axel Metzger" <metzger at> writes:

> I hope you don't mind my clear words. I am trying since five years to
> convince the FSF to take into account the legal problems the GPL has under
> German and European law while writing the GPL V3. My experience is: You
> cannot really influence them. It's like in some comments on this list. Eat it
> like it is or stay hungry. Free Software/Open Source Software people from the
> US often have a unilateral way of thinking. It's a lack of political wisdom.
> Creative commons is the smarter project. They have started to build coalition
> with Europeans. Today I'm convinced that it is not only necessary for the
> GFSL people to have a license that is feasible under German/European law. It
> is necessary for them to have the power to change the license if necessary. 

I know nothing about whether the GPL has legal problems in Europe.

But I'll note that nobody here is saying that you can't have your own
license (although in general we dislike license proliferation).  And
nobody is saying that you can't change your license when you see fit.

All we are saying is that if you want OSI certification, you can not
require software which has already been distributed to automatically
change to another license which does not (yet) have OSI certification.
I personally don't understand why this is a sticking point for you.

Perhaps it would help if you stated your goals more clearly.  If your
goal is a version of the GPL which is fully supported by German and
European law, then automatic license update seems orthogonal to that.
The regular GPL does not have automatic update--as you know, the usual
GPL phrasing is "either version 2 of the License, or (at your option)
any later version."  So your goal is not simply a version of the GPL
supported by German and European law.  So what is your goal?


More information about the License-discuss mailing list