Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3

From: Alan Cox
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 05:18:49 EST

> 2) I don't know how the FSF is approaching the Linux developers, but
> what I've been personally trying to do in this infinite thread was
> mainly to set the record straight that v3 did not change the spirit of
> the license, like some have claimed.

The FSF have certainly tried to talk to me a bit about it - mostly about
some product called GNU/Linux which I had to tell them I'd never heard of
and wasn't involved in ;)

> 3) Another thing I've tried to do was to try to figure out why Linux
> developers seem to consider v2 better than v3 for their own goals. I
> must admit I failed. The presented reasons don't seem to distinguish
> v2 from v3 to me, or rather make v3 sound better.

At least one important one I think is this:

A large number of people contributed to the GPLv2 kernel. They did so on
the basis there was an agreement about how the result could and would be
used. The GPLv3 changes that agreement, whether for good or bad depends
on who you are and what you do.

What right does Linus or anyone else have to change the rules and
unavoidably harm some of the people who contributed on the basis of the
previous licence. Any community project is built around a set of
expectations and beliefs encoded in culture, licences, documents and so

The kernel community was built around GPLv2. A large number of the people
involved did so for pragmatic not FSF reasons and are not part of FSF
culture. The fact that community isn't interested in GPL3 should not be a
suprise, nor should it be seen as it seems you see it to be a failure of
the GPL3.

GPLv2 is how we've done it, it has been for fourteen years and numerous
people have contributed on that basis. Should we kick some of them out of
that community because a third party says "new license good". What
matters more to the project itself - respect for those who work on it and
their beliefs or an FSF attempt to strengthen free software protection ?
Thats an "ends and means" type question but I think it explains the
fundamental question very well.

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