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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Wed, 20 May 2009 09:29:27 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090302)

Joerg Schilling wrote:
This is not the GPL but GPLv3, which is a less free variant....

The freedom offered by the GL is for users of software, not for
software developers. GPLv3 is not less free than GPLv2 for users.

People who speak about "the GPL" mean GPLv2 unless otherwise mentioned.

You may choose to believe so. In any case, you are as wrong about
GPLv2 as you are about GPLv3:

    The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and
    a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any
    derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work
    containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or
    with modifications and/or translated into another language.

The wording here is erroneous; the first half of the sentence
speaking of the Program or its derivative works is not the same
as the second "that is to say" half, which speaks of a work
containing a portion of the covered program. However, you may as
well read that sentence as covering the program, its derivative
works, and works which contain a portion of the program.

If you choose to read it as not applying to works which contain a
portion of the program, that does not mean that such works are then
permitted to be distributed without restriction. On the contrary,
it means that such works are not permitted to be created or copied
at all, because no permission to do so has been granted. But that
is obviously not the intent of the license designers (who are still
around and may be asked) so the more liberal approach is warranted.

This is also confirmed by later clauses:
    2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any
    portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and
    copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms
    of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these
        b)  You must cause any work that you distribute or publish,
        that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the
        Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no
        charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

So the main difference between GPLv2 and GPLv3 in this regard is that
the latter is better-worded. The permissions and requirements are the
same, however.

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