[arch-dev-public] [aur-general] Licenses, GPL3 only

Ray Rashif schivmeister at gmail.com
Thu Aug 26 08:23:22 EDT 2010

On 26 August 2010 19:16, Roberto Alsina <ralsina at netmanagers.com.ar> wrote:
> On Thursday 26 August 2010 08:12:23 Ronald van Haren wrote:
>> My second point was that we don't know what the future will bring.
>> Will new applications being licensed under GPL2 or later, GPL3 or
>> later, GPL4, GPL4 or later... there are lots of options. There are
>> lots of possibilities and I'm wondering if it is at all feasible to
>> create a naming scheme which will fit all.
> Sure:
> GPL2
> GPL2+
> GPL3
> GPL3+
> etc.
> For convenience, you may want to make GPL the equivalent of GPL2+

Here's what is currently being done:

ln -s GPL2 GPL

So in fact, we don't even have the text of the "only" version. Neither
does the FSF.

There is no proper "example", "template" or "draft" for a GPLn-only
license. For eg. the kernel has this in its COPYING:

NOTE! This copyright does *not* cover user programs that use kernel
 services by normal system calls - this is merely considered normal use
 of the kernel, and does *not* fall under the heading of "derived work".
 Also note that the GPL below is copyrighted by the Free Software
 Foundation, but the instance of code that it refers to (the Linux
 kernel) is copyrighted by me and others who actually wrote it.

 Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
 is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
 v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

			Linus Torvalds

That is the only difference between that license text and the one in
/usr/share/common, i.e it is a special case, a GPL2 license with an
"exception clause". Otherwise, both have exactly 2 occurences of "any
later version".

== GPL2 ==
If we want to honour cases like that, we would have to encourage the
inclusion of the license. So, our kernel should mention:


And include /usr/share/licenses/kernel26/COPYING. All cases of
"custom" should naturally imply that there is a license text to check

All other "normal" GPL software should have:


Which needs no intervention.

== GPL3 ==
Now, because the texts of the GPL2 and GPL3 are different, we cannot,
for eg. symlink anything to GPL3. But in the above manner, software
like the kernel need to have:


And include /usr/share/licenses/foobar/COPYING.

While the rest of the GPL3 software can just have:


== TL;DR ==
Basically, we just standardise the use of:


For software with GPL exception texts, and include the license. Only
the kernel (and mysql? [1]) package needs to be changed to conform to
this; nothing else needs to be done. Very "future proof", IMO.

[1] http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/01/04/mysqls-license-is-now-gpl-2-only/


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