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    SubjectRe: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3
    On Sunday June 10, wrote:
    > Hi Neil,
    > Neil Brown wrote:
    > > On Saturday June 9, wrote:
    > >
    > >> Hi,
    > >>
    > >> As we know the forthcoming GPL V3 will be not compatible with the GPL V2
    > >> and Linux Kernel is GPL V2 only.
    > >> So, another point is, which is previously mentioned by Linus and others,
    > >> that if it is decided to upgrade the Linux Kernel's License to GPL V3,
    > >> it is needed the permission of all the maintainers permission who
    > >> contributed to the Linux Kernel and there are a lot of lost or dead
    > >> maintainers. Which makes it impossible to get all the maintainers'
    > >> permission.
    > >>
    > >
    > > You don't need the permission of maintainers. You need the permission
    > > of copyright owners. The two groups overlap, but are not the same.
    > > Dead people cannot own anything, even copyright. Their estate
    > > probably can. I don't think it is theoretically impossible to get
    > > everyone's permission, though it may be quite close to practically
    > > impossible.
    > >
    > >
    > So, does it mean we can change the license of the dead people's code ?

    I presume the heirs of the dead people could change the license. And
    if they have no heir, then there is no-one to sue for breach of
    copyright, so I assume the copyright lapses.

    And I wouldn't be surprised if there were some legal precedent that
    allowed for some process whereby we could make a "best effort" to
    contact copyright holders (including registered paper letters and
    entries in the "Public Notices" section of major newspapers) and if
    no-one stepped forward to claim copyright in a reasonable period of
    time we could assume that the copyright had lapsed. But you would
    need to ask a lawyer, and it would be different in different

    But I think this is largely academic. You only need a fairly small
    number of fairly significant contributors to say "no" and the rest of
    the process would be pointless. And at last count, the number of
    kernel people who were not keen on GPLv3 was fairly high. Of course
    no-one knows for certain yet what the final GPLv3 will be, and maybe
    lots of people would change their mind when it comes out.

    There would certainly be value in a straw-pole once GPLv3 was out and
    had been discussed for a while - to see if a license change to GPLv3
    would be accepted by a majority of current developers. Doing that
    would at least provide a clear statistic to point people at.

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      Last update: 2007-06-10 11:43    [W:2.347 / U:0.096 seconds]
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