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

From: Bake Timmons
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] "under the GPL" vs. GPLv2 or later
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2008 18:20:24 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

> "If the Program does not specify a version number of the GNU General
> Public License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free
> Software Foundation."
> That has been in there since version 1. I think that makes it pretty
> clear that "under the GPL" can just be replaced by "GPLv2" and that
> there is no need to contact the copyright holder.
> It also says:
> "If the Program specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU
> General Public License “or any later version” applies to it, you have
> the option of following the terms and conditions either of that
> numbered version or of any later version published by the Free
> Software Foundation."
> That means that "GPLv2 or later" might as well be "GPLv2" for the
> purposes of Linux.

Right--indeed, I agree 100% with your entire email, including the patent
issue.  And as you stated with regard to policy, we really need to come
to a consensus on this version matter.  Were it only a question of more
or less *clerical work* to do--emailing or not emailing copyright
holders--then I would not care at all and would just send out emails.
But the problem goes *beyond* that: it throws into question how
seriously we are to take the very language of the GPL itself.

Another way to see the issue is simply to translate "Under the GPL" into
more familiar yet equivalent terms: "GPLv1 or later".  As it stands, we
are, in effect, contacting copyright holders about "GPLv1 or later" but
*not* about "GPLv2 or later".  I am tempted to ask the FSF what I am
missing in not understanding this practice.

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