Subject: Re: brands, trademarks, and the GPL
From: Crispin Cowan <>
Date: Tue, 28 Sep 1999 23:27:44 +0000

"L. Peter Deutsch" wrote:

> > So is GPL 3 proposed to be applied to existing, large projects, i.e. the
> > Linux Kernel and the GNOME?  If so, it's problematic, because it requires
> > that all of the contributing authors accept the new license,
> Unless they used the suggested "or, at your option, any later version"
> language of the GPL.  Talk about power and domination!  Using this language
> gives FSF a blank check to unilaterally revise the licensing terms of your
> software at any future date.

I want to know the status of the Linux kernel with respect to this clause.  So I
inspected the COPYING file that comes with the Linux kernel.  It has the "or, at
your option, any later version" clause in the COPYING file, but ONLY in the
Appendix on "How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs".  It seems ambiguous
whether the kernel itself is governed by future versions of the GPL.

> I'm glad you pointed this out.  I will make sure that future versions of GNU
> Ghostscript specify that they are governed by, and only by, version 2 of the
> GPL.

What revisions to the GPL or a program's license might one make to make it
unambiguous which GPL governs a given program?

 Crispin Cowan, Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science, OGI
    NEW:  Protect Your Linux Host with StackGuard'd Programs  :FREE