AW: AW: For Approval: Some License Or Another

Axel Metzger metzger at
Tue Nov 30 16:07:18 UTC 2004

Hello Ian, hello list,

Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
>> 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
>> 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
>> US often have a unilateral way of thinking. It's a lack of political
>> Creative commons is the smarter project. They have started to build
>> 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.
>> is necessary for them to have the power to change the license if
>I know nothing about whether the GPL has legal problems in Europe.

Hmm. There were a lot of articles published, take a look on 

>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?

No, Ian, to my point of view you are mixing up to branches of the discussions
we had here. 

The first one was: is the "new license version" clause we inserted into the
GFSL a good idea or not? I see that most of you think that it was not. We
will see if the GFSL-license board will decide to change this to get the
license certified by OSI.

The second one was: is it a good idea to write new licenses that are more
close to German/European law? Here I am saying that I do not see that US
licenses will be modified to fix the well known "bugs" under German/European

The goal by writing the GFSL is - to make it short - to write a Free Software
license that is legally valid under German/European law, that provides
inventions where necessary or wishful, and that gives the power to change the
license to a democratic authority - this is the license board of the GFSL. 

Best regards,


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