Follow

In light of today's announcement from FSF, Librecast and all other GPL code I maintain will be dropping "or any later version" from the license.

I still believe GPL and strong copyleft are the best way to maximise freedom for downstream users, but FSF are not appropriate stewards for our community.

@dukeofpearldiving Sure - BSD is great as a developer - means you can take someones BSD code and do whatever you want, including make a closed proprietary product with it. (hello Apple).

Not so great for end-user freedom, which is why copyleft was invented.

We're sticking with the GPL, but removing the "or any later version" part that gives control to the FSF.

@dentangle @dukeofpearldiving I wonder what serious damage any further GPL versions could bring and whether that danger is not made up by the possibility for improvements, and better future compatibility?

@schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving Aye, that used to be what the debate was about, but no longer. "Or any later version" gives power to the FSF and we cannot support that organisation while they publicly endorse behavour that is against our Code of Conduct.

@dentangle @dukeofpearldiving Okay, I get the point: Either the FSF gets back on track soonish, then relicensing to "…or later" should still be possible as all copyright holders are hopefully still reachable, or they continue racing towards the abyss and might as well not exist for own licensing choices.

@schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving Other than *GPL, do any other licenses encourage a similar "or any later version" with trust in a 3rd party? I can't think of any.

For simple "permissive" licenses, I guess there's not much point. For a complex license like copyleft it makes some sense to have a method for updating it, but we need to be careful choosing who to trust with it. @conservancy is probably the best equipped.

@dentangle @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving The GPL does not just say „any later version“ but also specifies that the license must keep the spirit. See Point 14 in gnu.org/licenses/gpl-3.0 — the GPL is the only license I know that does *not* require you to trust its managing authority. Not even the FSF has the authority to create a GPL 4.0 that breaks the spirit of the GPL.

@dentangle @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving I still remember the amount of discussion during the drafting of GPL 3 whether it keeps the spirit of GPL 2, because if it would not have kept it, there would be legal uncertainty around the "or later" clause of GPL 2 which would basically void that clause. → no power to the FSF.

@ArneBab @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving Which license, other than the GPL, has any kind of update mechanism at all, or managing authority? None of the permissive licenses in common use do: BSD2/3, MIT, ISC etc. It's a useful feature for a complex license like copyleft, but afaik GPL is the only one to have this feature.

@dentangle @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving All the creativecommons licenses have a non-optional „and future versions“ clause.

@dentangle @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving I also see other code licenses with "new version is applicable" clause (first checked example: MPL has it), but no other license that limits the license steward to stick to the spirit of the license. The FSF is the only organization I know which intentionally protects the license against the organization itself.

@ArneBab @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving Interesting - I didn't realise MPL had that clause.

Regardless, we're dropping "or any later" version, not because we think a GPL4 might be bad, but because we can't be associated with the FSF while they endorse an individual who violates our COC.

@dentangle @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving So you’re doing it despite knowing that that clause doesn’t give the FSF any power, while it might turn your project into the next enabler of Tivoization?

You’re not associated with the FSF just because your license has an or-later clause. The interpretation of association comes from a misreading of the license, and you now know it.

Where did you get that idea from?

@ArneBab @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving We made a project announcement about our license. I've explained why - I don't intend to argue about it. Not sure why you're pushing this. "Or any later version" gives FSF control over future versions of the licence, and we do not wish to allow that. Feel free to do whatever you wish with your own projects.

@dentangle @schmittlauch @dukeofpearldiving This is not about your announcement or about taking a licensing decision.

It is that the initial argument you gave here is wrong (it is no association and it is does not give the FSF power), and that the same argument was once used for the Linux kernel and is now the reason why it is very hard for regular users to update their smartphones when their provider does not provide updates anymore.

Factually false arguments are a bad reason for a decision.

@klaatu Yes, and thanks for mentioning it. Not looking to change licenses though, just ditching the "or any later version" part that gives FSF licensing control. The GPL is still relevant, even if the FSF, sadly, are not.

You could switch to GPLv2 so more people will use it.

@wago We've discussed that, and are likely to make it available under both GPL2 and GPL3 at some point soon, but the purpose of the change was to disconnect our project from FSF, not to change license at this time.

The project looks interesting, i have it on my list of things to check out. I think i joined the irc channel.
Sign in to participate in the conversation
chaos.social

chaos.social – a Fediverse instance for & by the Chaos community