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[Gnu-arch-users] Re: GPLv2 or GPLv2+

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: [Gnu-arch-users] Re: GPLv2 or GPLv2+
Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2007 09:52:02 +0900

Miles Bader writes:

 > "Stephen J. Turnbull" <address@hidden> writes:
 > >  > Sorry for the mess but, whatcha gonna do?
 > >
 > > Is there a mess?  Legally, it's perfectly clear that it's GPLv2-only.
 > The issue, AFAICS is simply that some people actually _intend_ to follow
 > "FSF practice" and make their files GPLVx+, but don't realize they need
 > to say this.

Yeah, and that's at least in part due to including all kinds of
non-license text in the license text.  Eg, people regularly point out
that COPYING includes the "or later" clause, and they think it's part
of the copyleft terms that have to be imposed on redistributions.

 > So it would generally help to reduce confusion to use an explicit
 > statement in each file, even in case where it's technically
 > redundant.

What would really reduce confusion is to move everything that's not
actually part of the license terms out of the license document[1], but
that's not going to happen, so you're right: precise permissions
statements clarifying the applicable versions of the GPL are very

[1]  Equally effective would be to divide COPYING into two parts, the
first part being labelled "The Purpose of the GNU GPL", and the second
being labelled "The GNU General Public License", and containing only
the legally enforceable terms.  But this isn't going to happen either.

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