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Date:      Wed, 17 May 2000 03:15:21 +0530
From:      Rahul Siddharthan <rsidd@physics.iisc.ernet.in>
To:        David Schwartz <davids@webmaster.com>
Cc:        Anatoly Vorobey <mellon@pobox.com>, chat@FreeBSD.ORG
Subject:   Re: RE: Why are people against GNU? WAS Re: 5.0 already?
Message-ID:  <20000517031520.F13129@physics.iisc.ernet.in>
In-Reply-To: <000001bfbf7c$31d2ed20$021d85d1@youwant.to>; from davids@webmaster.com on Tue, May 16, 2000 at 02:17:52PM -0700
References:  <20000517023516.C13129@physics.iisc.ernet.in> <000001bfbf7c$31d2ed20$021d85d1@youwant.to>

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> 	The GPL states:
> 
> "How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs
> 
>   If you develop a new program, and you want it to be of the greatest
> possible use to the public, the best way to achieve this is to make it
> free software which everyone can redistribute and change under these terms.
> 
>   To do so, attach the following notices to the program.  It is safest
> to attach them to the start of each source file to most effectively
> convey the exclusion of warranty; and each file should have at least
> the "copyright" line and a pointer to where the full notice is found.
> 
>     <one line to give the program's name and a brief idea of what it does.>
>     Copyright (C) 19yy  <name of author>
> 
>     This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
>     it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
>     the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
>     (at your option) any later version.

-snip

> That's how the GPL permits you to use it. This part of the GPL is no more
> optional than any other part of it. Again, far from a suggestion, this
> portion of the GPL is the only portion that grants permission to apply the
> GPL to your own software.

It seems to be a suggestion, not compulsory.  That is suggested 
from something that occurs in the GPL earlier, which I quoted
before:

   Each version is given a distinguishing version number.  If the
   Program specifies a version number of this License which applies
   to it and "any later version", you have the option of following
   the terms and conditions either of that version or of any later
   version published by the Free Software Foundation.  If the
   Program does not specify a version number of this License, you
   may choose any version ever published by the Free Software
   Foundation.

So you have the option of not specifying a version at all, in
which case the recipient may replace it with any version he
chooses.  That's also ok because it doesn't break compatibility
with future versions.  As for specifying "version 2 only", that
should also be possible but not recommended.  

Or the "no version number" bit may be for backward compatibility
with version 1, with which I'm not familiar.  I don't know.

But even supposing you're right, I maintain that it makes no
practical difference as to who controls your code; a change of
license is still an *option* and it is in no way worse than the
possibility of someone changing the license of BSD code -- unless
all the earlier, liberally-licensed code becomes destroyed in
some global cataclysm.  The best example is OpenSSH; the SSH
people chose a restrictive license for later versions of SSH, but
that didn't stop the OpenBSD people from taking an early version
and developing it further.  

R.


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