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SubjectRE: The GPL: No shelter for the Linux kernel?

> On Fri, 22 Sep 2006, David Schwartz wrote:

> > This is probably going to be controversial, but Linus should seriously
> > consider adding a clause that those who contribute to the
> > kernel from now on
> > consent to allow him to modify the license on their current
> > contributions
> > and all past contributions, amending the Linux kernel license as
> > appropriate. This would at least begin to reduce this problem
> > over the next
> > few years, leaving fewer and fewer people with claim to less
> > and less code
> > who would have legal standing to object.

> It's the last thing I'd ever want to do, for all the same reasons the
> kernel doesn't have the "or later versions" language wrt licenses.

> I don't actually want people to need to trust anybody - and that
> very much includes me - implicitly.

> I think people can generally trust me, but they can trust me exactly
> because they know they don't _have_ to.

Yeah, I see your point. However, what happens if three years from now, there
is some reason that the Linux kernel license really does need to be changed
to fix a serious problem? We're basically just screwed.

While it is true that people don't have to trust you now. They do have to
trust/hope that there won't come a future time when some license problem or
change in law significantly impairs their ability to use Linux.

I can think of procedural safeguards against the "Linus sells out" or "Linus
goes insane" potential problems, but I don't have a perfect solution. I'm
not even sure I have a good one, other than hoping there never is such a
problem and/or that there's some good way to deal with one should one arise.

Suppose hypothetically GPLv3 had been really, really good and there was a
general consensus that it would provide siginficant benefits if it could be
applied to Linux. It might be nice to be able to apply it.


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