[arch-dev-public] GPL2 -> GPL3 license changes in packages

Dan McGee dpmcgee at gmail.com
Thu Nov 8 08:08:50 EST 2007

On Nov 8, 2007 6:08 AM, Roman Kyrylych <roman.kyrylych at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2007/11/8, Simo Leone <simo at archlinux.org>:
> > On Thu, Nov 08, 2007 at 11:52:53AM +0200, Roman Kyrylych wrote:
> > > The license has changed to GPL3.
> > > I'm posting this to public list to make a notice that we should now
> > > look at GPL2->GPL3 relicensing process that more and more FOSS
> > > projects are doing.
> > > Also it could be nice to have GPL changed to GPL2 when updating other
> > > packages to clearly state the version.
> > >
> > Well, here's the thing...
> > 9. The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions
> >    of the General Public License from time to time.  Such new versions will
> >    be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to
> >    address new problems or concerns.
> >
> >    Each version is given a distinguishing version number.  If the Program
> >    specifies a version number of this License which applies to it and "any
> >    later version", you have the option of following the terms and conditions
> >    either of that version or of any later version published by the Free
> >    Software Foundation.  If the Program does not specify a version number of
> >    this License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software
> >    Foundation.
> >
> > In other words, there are a few things going on here. First, I don't
> > know what you mean by "relicensing". If a version was never specified in
> > the first place, then any version of the GPL applies, yes, even GPL1.
> > Audacious hasn't changed its license, and they still do not specify a
> > particular version, so we can leave its license entry as "GPL", since
> > any version continues to be applicable.
> It is GPL3 now.
> They announced it since 1.4.0 DR1 and now they COPYING file has:
>                     GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
>                        Version 3, 29 June 2007
> >
> > I suspect that for the majority of other programs out there, the same
> > applies, most authors are too lazy to specify a version. The thing we
> > need to watch for is those authors that *do* choose to specify a version
> > at this point (which isn't surprising given the hubbub about gpl3).
> >
> > I hope this also explains why we should _not_ be changing GPL to GPL2 as
> > we update old packages. The version that applies to them is *any*
> > version of the GPL, unless explicity stated otherwise.
> >
> Hm, valid point, so you propose to have GPL for GPL2+ (most software)
> and GPL2 for GPL2-only (e.g. Linux kernel)?
> Then I guess most PKGBUILDs that changed GPL to GPL2 should be fixed.

That was my original intention when I updated the licenses package.
Sorry if I didn't make that more clear on the list.

We've always used GPL as a synonym for "GPL2 or later", so it didn't
make sense for packages to have to change that. But something like the
Linux kernel is GPL2 only, and newer projects are "GPL3 or later",
which are the cases where the more specific GPL2 & GPL3 licenses
should be used.


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