Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: "Haelwenn (lanodan) Monnier" <contact@×××××××××.me>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [gentoo-dev] Should we allow "GPL, v2 or later" for ebuilds?
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 15:05:28
In Reply to: Re: [gentoo-dev] Should we allow "GPL, v2 or later" for ebuilds? by Rich Freeman
1 [2020-01-30 08:19:08-0500] Rich Freeman:
2 > On Thu, Jan 30, 2020 at 6:20 AM Haelwenn (lanodan) Monnier
3 > <contact@×××××××××.me> wrote:
4 > > [2020-01-27 12:41:26+0100] Ulrich Mueller:
5 > > > So, the question is, should we allow ebuilds
6 > > > # Distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, v2 or later
7 > > > in the repository, or should we even encourage it for new ebuilds?
8 > > >
9 > > > I have somewhat mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, I think
10 > > > that GPL-2+ should generally be preferred because it offers better
11 > > > compatibility. For example, the compatibility clause in CC-BY-SA-4.0
12 > > > won't work with GPL-2.
13 > >
14 > > Is there another reason for GPL-2+ than just compatibility?
15 > > Because I quite find the "or later" thing to be quite a scary one as
16 > > whatever will come up next as a GPL will become applicable and it feels
17 > > quite weird to me to have a license that can evolve to whatever
18 > > license over time.
20 > Really the main threat (IMO) is that the code could be de-copylefted.
21 > They could make GPL v4 a copy of the BSD license, and now anything
22 > that was v2+ is effectively BSD and can be used in non-FOSS software
23 > without issue. I guess that isn't any worse than the previous case of
24 > it instead being merged into some other v4 variant that you can access
25 > the source for but prefer to avoid because of something else in the
26 > license, except now you might not see the code at all.
28 Yeah, I quite share this opinion/view, with also the scary wonder of
29 who can author a GPL-4 license as there doesn't seems to be any
30 restriction for this in the license, just a "or later".
32 > Another solution to this problem is the FLA - which is something we've
33 > talked about but shelved until we've sorted out some of our other
34 > copyright issues which were thorny enough. Perhaps we could consider
35 > taking that up again. Without getting into the details it is a bit
36 > like a copyleft-style copyright assignment, which isn't actually an
37 > assignment. We envisoned it being voluntary and would allow any
38 > contributor to give the Foundation the authority to relicense their
39 > contributions, with a number of restrictions, like the new license
40 > being FOSS. I'd have to dig up the latest version and take a look at
41 > it again. Basically instead of trusting the FSF you'd be trusting the
42 > Foundation instead, but there are some limitations on what they'd be
43 > allowed to do, and if they violate those limitations the agreement
44 > would be canceled and the rights would revert back to whatever was on
45 > the original contribution, which would probably be whatever the author
46 > originally wanted. That said, I'm not sure it really provides a whole
47 > lot more protection over what happens except for the fact that
48 > Foundation members have more say in how the Foundation operations than
49 > the FSF, if only because the number of people allowed to vote are
50 > limited to a relatively small pool Gentoo contributors, at least
51 > compared to the entire FOSS community.
53 I guess the FLA would be really interesting to have to get the quite
54 useful flexibility of relicensing but keeping it to Gentoo Foundation
55 to avoid giving this flexibility to everyone.
57 Maybe it could for now be a simple agreement on putting your code to
58 the Gentoo Foundation under the GPL-2+ but it would be published under
59 the GPL-{2,3,…}?