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Re: [gNewSense-users] "under the GPL" vs. GPLv2 or later

From: Sam Geeraerts
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] "under the GPL" vs. GPLv2 or later
Date: Tue, 08 Apr 2008 21:09:05 +0200
User-agent: Mozilla-Thunderbird (X11/20080110)

Karl Goetz wrote:
On Mon, 2008-04-07 at 20:36 +0200, Sam Geeraerts wrote:
Bake Timmons wrote:

Trim rehash of section 9 :)

When Linux was first put under the GPL in 1992, the current version of
the GPL was already v2, so I would argue that it is hard to see what
prospect v1 could ever have.  You still see it explicitly mentioned here
and there, but clearly v3 is the future.  Thus, it really comes down to
v2 vs. v3, so *for us* how different is "GPLv2 or later" vs. "under the
GPL"?  Should we not also be asking authors about what they mean by
"GPLv2 or later"?  More generally, should we not also apply the same
policy--whatever it turns out to be--to *all* of the other software
whose freedom we check?
Consistency and setting a policy as early on in the process as possible is important to avoid having to do everything all over again. That policy also needs to be thoroughly documented so that the same discussions don't come up over and over again, and to let the user know what kind of freedoms he can expect from gNewSense and to let him figure out for himself how much he can trust the team behind it to have done a good job.

Such a policy would include:
- what licenses are considered free (e.g. Artistic License 1.0)

Anything FSF free (since thats the distros aim) agrees with that (although this could be just a list instead of a policy), doesn't.

I realize that these may not have been merged due to lack of manpower. That's why I will put my security concerns with the wiki aside and get of my paranoid behind some time this week.

- how to resolve these version issues

In the instance at hand there is no issue. GPL2 only+ GPL3 code will
likely cause us some pain though. (so i'm not saying there is no issue)

In the "under the GPL" case there is no issue, but that may not be clear to everyone. So it would be good to say it explicitly in

- how to resolve license compatibility issues (not only for separate programs or modules or files, but also within files, e.g. cdrecord.c)

what sort of things would you suggest for that policy? i'm not sure what
options you have (other then ask for exceptions from (C) holders,
rewrite, and remove from archive)

Hm, yes, those would probably have to be decided on a case by case basis.

- what to do about patents (enforced or not, e.g. mp3/mpge2)
- what to do about non-licensing legal issues (e.g. DMCA vs. libdvdcss)

Theres currently an offical lack of policy on these, aiui.

So that means: do as Ubuntu does?

- what about artwork and such (license, source material)
- the (public) use of non-free means (e.g. Launchpad)
- issues not directly related to freedom (security, CoC, etc.)
- etc.

Personally, I'm still a bit confused about the policy on patents: says: explicitly no policy

And its said by Brian. says: no patented technology in gNewSense (judging from the comment this bug should not be closed)

This decision and post was made unilateraly by the poster, and iirc
there was no agreement from paul/brian/otherpeoplewhodidlotsbackthen.

So it should not be closed. says: we leave it out/we take no stance about mp3, not sure about other patented technology.

which matches 00081.

"We leave it out" is not the same as "We take no stance". That's why it's useful to have a Policy page (or a group of Policy pages) in the wiki to point to.

I hope I'm not overstepping my boundaries here. According to, the only way to help that doesn't involve the wiki is by joining the discussion, so that's what I'm trying to do.

I'm only worried that some of the discusion winds up on the wiki
again :) (along with lots of half written documents i have sitting in

Maybe you should release those half written documents to the wiki early (and often) and let the community help complete them. :)

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