Subject: Re: GPLv3 draft
From: simo <s@ssimo.org>
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2006 09:35:51 -0400

On Fri, 2006-04-07 at 13:50 +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> >>>>> "simo" == simo  <s@ssimo.org> writes:
> 
>     simo> 1st) the FSF says clearly that the GPLv3 license is NOT
>     simo> GPLv2 compatible.
> 
> Hm, I expected that but didn't see it on gplv3.fsf.org; it's not in
> the FAQ.  Oh, well.
> 
> I still can't find anything "clear".  In
> http://gplv3.fsf.org/discussion-committees/B/Minutes/GPLv3Bconfcall_4_16mar2006/
> Eben Moglen says, "no", then he says that in some practical cases
> there is compatibility, which will decrease over time, using precisely
> the scenario that Norbert cites.  I also found this:

These are notes of a committee, not FSF words.
In any case, what Eben says is clear to me, and I asked him personally
too at the conference about this "problem".

The only compatibility you can find between GPLv2 and GPLv3 at the
moment is that most of GPLv2 licenses programs say: GPLv2 or later.

> If you have better authority than I could find, maybe you should fix
> that to read something like:
> 
>     All existing licenses which were compatible with GPLv2, with the
>     exception of GPLv2 itself, are compatible with GPLv3.  (This
>     exception is normally not a problem, since most authors grant
>     permission to use later versions of the GPL.)

We may say that, but I will wait the end of the debate on GPLv3 and the
release of the official version. Actually we are speaking just about a
draft that will surely change before the end of the process.

>     simo> 2nd) two licenses must be claim by claim compatible, not
>     simo> word by word identical.
> 
> But in the case of the GPL, one of those claims is that the
> distribution must take place under the "same terms".  Can you give me
> a reference describing how a court would make that determination in
> the absence of (nearly) identical wording?

Terms in legal sense means just conditions (or so I am told, IANAL).
So I do not understand why a judge should be looking at identical
wording. The condition need to be identical not the way you express
them, otherwise you would find no possible compatible license either.

> Note that even the LGPL, whose intent is clearly to provide the same
> terms as the GPL on a restricted domain of programs, has an explicit
> conversion clause.

The conversion clause to the GPL ? Of course it has, but for a different
reason you may think. The original intent of the LGPL was to establish a
bridge with proprietary software when free software was a small core of
programs that needed some proprietary software underneath to run. The
aim was to later on convert all software to the more pure copyleft
license, the GPL, which has different terms.
It has nothing to do with how conditions are worded.

> BTW, I found it interesting that several of the false positives in my
> search mention the issue of the FUD-ability of GPLv3, even saying that
> it would be a factor in a decision to fall back to GPLv2 rather than
> release GPLv3 at this time.

Whatever, I think that any plan being made on current wording make no
sense at this point. I wish people would be more constructive and
explain clearly, through comments on the comments system, their concerns
so that they can be addressed by the committees and later by FSF either
by changing/correcting the language of the license or by explaining why
the FSF think it has to stay the way it is.

Simo.