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SubjectRe: Linux-2.4.0-test8
Linus Torvalds wrote:
> It's about the fact that when I chose the GPL, I did it because I wanted
> the source-code to be free and unencumbered. Forever. Whether I maintained
> that code or not. I didn't want my code to have any extra rules and
> regulations - the GPLv2 is already quite complex enough, but it is, in my
> opinion the "minimum required" complexity. So it suited and continues to
> suit my needs and opinions admirably.

I happen to like that point of view. I use the GPLv2 myself extensively
for the same reason.

> Thus the (current) limitation to v2. And only, obviously, for code _I_
> wrote and hold the copyright to.
...
> In the likely case that the GPL v3 is fine, I will license all my code
> under "v2-v3". Maybe it even clarifies the issue of "similar in spirit",
> so that I wouldn't need to worry at all about what the FSF considers
> "similar" ever again, and I can stop worrying altogether.

Here I am concerned. I'm concerned about the other authors.

You often accept contributions to your kernel where the license isn't
specified by the contributor. We must assume the contributor is content
with the kernel's own license.

Now, someone may contribute a large patch to your GPLv2 kernels. The
person has _not_ granted you the right to retroactively change _their_
license to "v2-v3".

Maybe it seems reasonable to relicense contributed code from "v2 only"
to "v2-v3". But is it really? It seems _far_ from reasonable to
relicense contributed code to a non-GPL license. So what makes it
reasonable to relax the version?

> Quite frankly, I'm probably just jumpy. And part of this is very much
> pre-emptive: making sure that the FSF knows that whatever they do, they
> have to take other peoples feelings into account too, and not just make a
> new version of the GPL on their own whims.
>
> So don't read _too_ much into this. It just means that the FSF does not
> have a blanket permission to expand upon the GPL as far as my personal
> code is concerned. Nothing more.

I assumed as much.

For the moment may I propose an interim statement?

You state that _your_ code is clearly GPL "v2 only", but you might
change your mind.

Let's state that others' _contributed_ code is GPL "v2 or later" unless
the contributor states otherwise. So that, if you do decide to go with
GPLv3 later, you actually have permission to do that.

It would be good anyway to have a clear statement on the status of
contributed code. It is most of the kernel.

-- Jamie
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