GPL v3

Andreas Jellinghaus aj at
Thu Jan 26 19:15:34 UTC 2006

Am Mittwoch, 25. Januar 2006 23:01 schrieb Wilson, Andrew:
> Au contraire, my guess is that soon after there is a final GPL v3, the
> bulk of FSF/GNU code will be relicensed v3-only (and this is a lot of
> code).
> Remember, they can do this far more easily than many other projects,
> since FSF requires assignment of copyright.

I guess. all fsf code is licensed GPLv2+, so once GPL v3 is published,
everyone can choose which version.

but the gpl cannot be terminated - all code published with GPL v2+
stays that way, even if a new version is published as 3+, the old
code is still available under the old license.

many fsf projects are no longer developed. tools like tar simply work,
many tools have been last updated 1998 or somethign like that.
so there would be no point in re-releasing those tools with the new
license, since noone needs an updated version.

the interesting part are projects like gcc. but these projects have a
lot of developers, and the fsf wants those to stay and continue to
develop the project and contribute code. so far every contributes
knew his code would be licensed as GPLv2+. if that changes, 
companies might need their legal department to go over the
new license and reevaluate, if contributing is ok. at least with
the beurocracy in big companies I expect something like that.

so I really doubt that any big project will suddenly switch to
GPL v3+, or the fsf will force that. Rather I expect each project
to discuss the new license and switch after a while when
it has been discussed, approved and people feel good about it.

sure, there will be a few test baloons like project whose code is
misused anyway or where they fear patents a lot and want to
switch to GPLv3 as far as possible, but I don't see that for the
majority of projects happening. 

so I think there is little to worry so far. it will be at least a year
till the new license is released. still that year should not be wasted,
rather it is interesting to follow the dicussions and stay involved
as soon as possible.

Regards, Andreas

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