[arch-general] [arch-dev-public] licenses: GPL permutations

Loui louipc.ist at gmail.com
Mon Mar 31 17:27:09 EDT 2008

On Mon, 31 Mar 2008 11:24:47 -0500
"Aaron Griffin" <aaronmgriffin at gmail.com> wrote:

> Man, I'm the first one to admit that arguing semantics is awesome, but
> don't you think we're getting WAY to picky here?
> Read the GPL2. It actually says somewhere in there that it scales up
> to newer versions of the license at the behest of the author.

You're right. Maybe I got too picky; I was really only trying to
clearly understand how others are interpreting these license terms.

My point is that if a program specifies a license version, only
THAT version applies unless the program explicitly states "any later

The GPL is misleading in the section "How to Apply These Terms to Your
New Programs" by telling authors to put "(at your option) any later version."
in their programs. That section is not part of the terms, but rather just
an addendum.

From section 9 of the GPL version 2:
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.

By this text, taking "GPL" to mean "GPL2 or later" is erroneous. It
should mean any version of GPL. Paul's original post in this thread
is the most accurate and should probably be the way to deal with these

>  GPL - any version of GPL
>  GPL2 - only version 2
>  GPL2+ - version 2 or later
>  GPL3 - version 3 only
>  GPL3+ - version 3 or later

Oh and...
> Do we need a GPL1 and GPL1+?
Seems like we would need a GPL1. GPL1+ is logically the same as GPL
since there are no previous versions (are there?)

Cheers, and thanks for reading.

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