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MySQL Changes License To Avoid GPLv3

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the love-that-v2 dept.

GNU is Not Unix 311

munchola writes "MySQL has quietly changed the license it uses for its database to avoid being forced to move to the forthcoming GPLv3. CBRonline is reporting that Kaj Arno, MySQL VP of community relations, revealed the license change on his blog, noting it was made 'in order to make it an option, not an obligation for the company to move to GPLv3.'"

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No one is forcing them... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17458482)

Why not just stay with GPLV2?

Re:No one is forcing them... (5, Insightful)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458520)

MySQL has today refined its licensing scheme from "GPLv2 or later" to "GPLv2 only"


that is what they did.

Re:No one is forcing them... (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458608)

I don't understand why you would state in your license agreement that it would be covered by future licenses anyway. It doesn't make sense. I can see having your license say "GPLv2 or earlier," because you already know the language of the earlier licenses. It seems silly, though, for your license to state it will be covered under versions that you can't possibly know whether or not you will approve of, because they haven't even been written yet. This just seems like a common sense move to me.

Re:No one is forcing them... (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458726)

I don't understand why you would state in your license agreement that it would be covered by future licenses anyway. It doesn't make sense. I can see having your license say "GPLv2 or earlier," because you already know the language of the earlier licenses.


Because GPLv1 is more restrictive than v2. GPLv1 seems to imply that you cannot sell the code, but v2 clears up this misunderstanding. The 'or later' is attached to most GPL code because the standard license notification template attached to license says that the program may be distributed under the 'General Public License, version 2 or, at your option, any later version.'

Of course, this move does absolutely nothing to prevent someone from making a change to a version already licensed with the old wording from distributing MySQL under GPL v3 terms. Those versions already released have 'GPLv2 or later' moniker already attached and you can't change that now.

Re:No one is forcing them... (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459492)

In that case, they shouldn't say that you can use a later version either! Why is such a clause about versions needed anyway?

Re:No one is forcing them... (1)

Thansal (999464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458822)

Well, MySQL seems to be rather tied up in the GPL (from Kaj Arno's blog: "MySQL has been part of the GPLv3 Committee B advising FSF since the GPLv3 draft was announced in January 2006."), so the "GPLv2 or later" was probably some sort of support for the GPL in general. Now with GPLv3 nearing compleation (it is, isn't it? I am not really following it atm), there are probably a couple things that wory them and thus they want to stay with v2 untill there is either a wide addoption of v3 or untill the things that bug them about v3 are hammered out.

Re:No one is forcing them... (1)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458928)

It is one of the default parts of the GPL2, I never liked it myself, and I would knock it out of anything, if I had decided to put it in GPL2.

To me, it seems like this clause being put in the GPL2 is one of those little things to try to encourage trust via the way the mind handles logical inconsitancies, even if these inconsistancies were due to accident and not intent. Either that or sheer arrogance.

Re:No one is forcing them... (1)

Delirium Tremens (214596) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459050)

It gives more freedom to the code. You as a developper can go and get the source of the "GPL v2 or later" MySQL from 3 years ago, fork it, add a lot of Web Services features and then release the whole thing under GPL v3 -- which does protect the server-side code better in this Web era. It is something you would not have been able to do if the 3-year old code was only released under GPL v2 or v1. You would have to rewrite everything.

It gives FSF a blank check, not a good idea ... (4, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459230)

It gives more freedom to the code.

No, it gives the FSF a blank check, blank checks are not a good idea. You are *assuming* that future versions of the GPL uphold the rights you currently support and avoids overly restrictive requirements you do not support. You have no such guarantee with the "or later" wording, and you have little negotiating room when future licenses are developed. Basically if you only use a specific license you have bargaining power, you have rights.

Re:It gives FSF a blank check, not a good idea ... (2, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459722)

I totally agree. People that use the ...or later clause are assuming that they agree with everything the FSF will ever include in the GPL license.

What I wish: They take everything they are going to put in GPL v3 into a license with a different name, so that code writers don't have to worry about what the exact wording they used years ago.

Why couldn't they just have called the GPLv3 something like the Gnu Free License v1 (GFPL v1), or something like that? They are riding on the coat tails of the GPL v2, and thus don't have faith that the new license will have it's own traction.

Re:It gives FSF a blank check, not a good idea ... (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459798)

No, it gives the FSF a blank check, blank checks are not a good idea.

That depends on how much you trust the recipient of the blank check.

What's *also* not a good idea is to tie yourself permanently to a license that may be horribly broken. I don't think GPLv2 is that badly flawed, but there are issues that need to be fixed. The Linux kernel is an example of a project that can never be anything other than v2, so as more companies figure out the TiVo exploit, or find other ways to work around it, the kernel devs are simply going to have to accept it.

As another post pointed out, it's also not actually true that the FSF has a blank check. It's pretty clear that the FSF has led everyone to expect that future versions of the GPL will have the same intent, to protect the same four freedoms. When give people an expectation like that, and they rely upon it, you are not legally allowed to violate that expectation. The legal term is "estoppel". Whatever the FSF does in the future with the license, it must be in the same basic vein. To use your "blank check" analogy, there's an upper bound on the size of the check that you'll be legally obligated to fund.

Re:It gives FSF a blank check, not a good idea ... (2, Insightful)

Jeremiah Stoddard (876771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459882)

Seems like a lame argument to me. If you use the "or later" language, there's really no way further restrictions can be added to your program -- Say the GPL v3 adds a boatload of new restrictions; users still have the option to distribute the software under v2. The worst they could do is rewrite it to say "this software is under the public domain," perhaps as a developer I wouldn't like it, but I've judged the risk of that to be smaller than the benefits that come from letting the license be updated from time to time. And if one wants control over his code, so they have these "rights" and "bargaining power," why the hell is he using someone else's license in the first place?

Re:No one is forcing them... (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459286)

The "or later" clause is boilerplate that FSF has suggested for decades.

EVERYONE should read the terms that they cut-n-paste into their software carefully, and make sure that they have not put their software out under terms that they did not intend!

Re:No one is forcing them... (2, Insightful)

legirons (809082) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459382)

"I don't understand why you would state in your license agreement that it would be covered by future licenses anyway"

You trust the FSF to make changes carefully

Re:No one is forcing them... (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459594)

Because you trust the FSF to only make changes that are needed, and think the chances of there being a critical hole in the GPLv2 are enough to be worth trying to avoid.

Re:No one is forcing them... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459676)

Indeed. I was wondering about this a few years ago.

Say Microsoft bought out/bribed/coerced/whatevered the people that write the GPL. Then they "asked" them to write a new version of the GPL that let MS do whatever they want.
Bam. Instantly, all GPL 2 and above apps/OSes are able to be used.

I don't like the idea of trusting people that seem to be honest, and decent now. While the current crop seem very determined to do things the right way now, if there's one thing that history has shown us - it's that things, events, and leaders change.

Re:No one is forcing them... (3, Informative)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458524)

Why not just stay with GPLV2?

They did. They set their license to be GPLv2 only.

Re:No one is forcing them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17458696)

RTFM. Their own policy stated that their source code was GPLv2 *or later* - they're changing this so it is only licenced under GPLv2, without possibility of GPLv3 at this time.

This makes no sense (3, Insightful)

John Nowak (872479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458506)

"However, now, until we get clear and strong indications for the general acceptance of GPLv3 over GPLv2, we feel comfortable with a specific GPLv2 reference in our license."

How did the old "version 2 or later" cause a problem then? All this does is restrict people from applying GPLv3 terms if they want to. It doesn't help anyone.

Re:This makes no sense (2, Informative)

Sweetshark (696449) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458672)

How did the old "version 2 or later" cause a problem then? All this does is restrict people from applying GPLv3 terms if they want to. It doesn't help anyone.
Well, if MySQL should be usable with GPL2, the "or later clause" may cause problems. For example a GPLv3-only-licensed patch would force MySQL to the new license.

Re:This makes no sense (3, Informative)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458836)

For example a GPLv3-only-licensed patch would force MySQL to the new license.
This is irrelevant since MySQL require copyright assignment for any code they add (this is implied by the article which says that the MySQL company owns the whole copyright for MySQL).

Re:This makes no sense (4, Interesting)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459352)

Well, if MySQL should be usable with GPL2, the "or later clause" may cause problems. For example a GPLv3-only-licensed patch would force MySQL to the new license.
This makes absolutely no sense:
  1. they have the right to REJECT the patch
  2. they require copyright assignment so they could change the license anyway


Somehow, when a company capitalizes on the "commercial" confusion, it doesn't surprise me at all that they would make this "error" (I don't think it's accidental, I mean to suggest they are faking a confusion, as in the "commercial" term, in order to forbid anyone from making a GPL V3 fork of MySQL)

The "commercial" term "confusion" they capitalize upon make many think that in order to make a commercial application they would have to get the proprietary version of MySQL.

That, of course, makes no sense at all. The FSF explains it very succintly [gnu.org] , and David Wheeler quite recently explained it in a very detailed manner [dwheeler.com] .

Re:This makes no sense (1)

sottovoce (139898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458720)

All this does is restrict people from applying GPLv3 terms if they want to.


That's the point. They're not sure if they like the GPLv3 yet, so they're forcing the use of GPLv2 until they decide, at which point they could continue do restrict it or not. They want the option.

Re:This makes no sense (2, Interesting)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459290)

But they're not forcing anything. Anybody with old code can still patch with code licensed by GPL version 3. All this does is restrict code released starting today.

Re:This makes no sense (1, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458784)

It is very peculiar. I'm not sure what to make of that. I guess I'll do what I usually do, and wait for RMS to tell me what to think.

Re:This makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17460052)

It is Flamebait only because you stated it openly.

Removing "or later" protects author's rights ... (2, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459406)

How did the old "version 2 or later" cause a problem then? All this does is restrict people from applying GPLv3 terms if they want to. It doesn't help anyone.

Removing "or later" protects an author's rights, it makes sure that the terms of the license matches their goals, the goals GPL v2 embodied. "Or later" is a blank check, author's have no guarantee that the license will not go in an undesirable direction and embrace ideas they do not support. Removing "or later" also provides balance, it gives some negotiating power to author's when it comes time to develop that new version of the license.

Hoopla! (-1, Troll)

Enoxice (993945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458544)

Good for them; I've never understood all the hoopla about licenses, anyway. FOSS has become way too rigid, IMO. What ever happened to "here's my software. here is (maybe) my source. don't sell this without my permission."? I mean, is it possible that the FOSS movement has gone too far in trying to protect free software?

Anyway, back on topic, they just didn't want to be locked into a license that has yet to be finalized. I'm okay with that.

Re:Hoopla! (5, Insightful)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458596)

I think it's possible you have no idea what free software is about. You seem to have a grasp of free as in free beer, but not free as in freedom. Saying "maybe here is the source and don't sell without my permission" has nothing to do with free software.

Re:Hoopla! (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459064)

You are right he has no idea, but the point I would like to have taken seriously is his question:

is it possible that the FOSS movement has gone too far in trying to protect free software?

I mean a lot of people I spoke with seem to have the perception of the FOSS movement as a group of pedants and sticklers for the letter of the law, who have gotten entangled in sophistry and formalistics struggles over nuances of formulations.

I understand that all that is necessary as soon as enough money is involved, but I also see part of the strength of the movement (don't really like that word) going down the drain with that.

No solution from my side, though.

Re:Hoopla! (1)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459268)

I think the answer is "no," we haven't gone too far. There are dangers to software freedom from DRM and patents (and to a lesser extent, copyright), and the GPLv3 is intended to address this.

To the people who think it is all some radical overreach, consider how radical the original vision of free software appeared and how accepted it is now (in the form of GPLv2). It's not surprising that the same kinds of opposition appear when bringing the license up to date.

Re:Hoopla! (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459958)

To the people who think it is all some radical overreach, consider how radical the original vision of free software appeared and how accepted it is now (in the form of GPLv2). It's not surprising that the same kinds of opposition appear when bringing the license up to date.

I totally agree with you, for this part of criticism explaining over and over again and time do a good job.

But my personal problem are more non-techie people who generally agree with the idea of free software and do not think of it as too redical BUT do not understand the quibbling about GPLv2 vs GPLv3. (And comparable stuff.)

They think mostly that the legal/formalistic aspect rather than the goal is overreached. This part of my friends thinks that the goal has already come out of sight when they see how much energy is invested in v2 vs v3 fights and I must confess I normally change subject at that part of conversation.

Re:Hoopla! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459236)

What you, and a lot of other slashdot readers, fail to realize is free software to most (most meaning non-nerds) people means just that. Basically closer to the BSD license. Free software to most people isnt a mindset or philosophy.

Re:Hoopla! (1)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459348)

I think I do realize that. That's why we need to talk about it and help people learn what software freedom is and why it's important. I answered the way I did because the original commenter seemed to be speaking as if they also understood, when they clearly did not. (Of course, I didn't take the time to be particularly helpful in explaining the concepts involved.)

Re:Hoopla! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459404)

People understand what you mean by free software, they just do not care. Repeating it makes no more difference to them than when a vegan tells someone that eats honey that it's wrong.

Re:Hoopla! (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458606)

I understand your sentiment. But the rigid approach does have some merit. Does SCO ring a bell?

Re:Hoopla! (3, Interesting)

Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458644)

"has become"? Maybe you should do some research find out what Free Software means and has meant for as long as the term has existed... What you are suggesting is not even close to the definition pretty much everyone else uses.

Re:Hoopla! (-1, Troll)

mungtor (306258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458860)

It should be "here is my software and my source. Do what you wish." That provides opportunities for other people to use your code for something commercial, hire people, and support the economy over all. Just because it isn't your goal doesn't mean you should reserve the right to deny other people the opportunity.

GPL'd software says "here is my software and my source. But, anything you derive from it has to meet my specific terms. I'm not interested in making money, and you can't do it either."

If you want to release Free software, release under the BSD license. Otherwise you're stubbornly forcing an ideaology on people which most people don't seem to want to be part of (as the backlash over the GPLv3 seems to indicate).

Re:Hoopla! (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458986)

I'm not interested in making money, and you can't do it either.

The GPL doesn't forbid you from making money. Mod parent Troll.

Re:Hoopla! (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459288)

Effectively, it does. You can still sell one copy of your software, but after that, the person who you sold it to can distribute it freely.

Re:Hoopla! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459484)

Yes, just like how Madriva caused the collapse of Redhat. Of course neither can we forget how MySQL AG were forced into bankruptcy, can we?

Oh wait, none of that has happened. Seems you're full of shit.

Re:Hoopla! (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459494)

Red Hat seems to be making money just fine, thanks.

Re:Hoopla! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459024)

No. I'm still going to release everything I do under the GPL, just to annoy BSD fanboys like you.

Just because right now I'm not making money from most of the the software I release under the GPL, doesn't mean that I may not choose to try and do so in the future. If I'm short sighted about it and release my software under the BSDL now only to find that when I do decide I'd like to commercialise my software that someone else is already doing so, I will have shot myself in the foot. Using the GPL doesn't stop this happening as such, but it does place me back on a level playing field with whoever else is commercialising my software.

Of course those people who do release their software under the BSDL are welcome to do so, and I say fair play to them. They're obviously happy to do that. I am not (For the most part)

Re:Hoopla! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17460068)

It should be "here is my software and my source. Do what you wish." That provides opportunities for other people to use your code for something commercial, hire people, and support the economy over all. Just because it isn't your goal doesn't mean you should reserve the right to deny other people the opportunity.
If you want to release Free software, release under the BSD licens

I'm going to say this in the nicest way possible:

Fuck you and your sense of entitlement.

Better 'rigid' than screwed (2, Insightful)

amightywind (691887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459458)

Good for them; I've never understood all the hoopla about licenses, anyway. FOSS has become way too rigid, IMO. What ever happened to "here's my software. here is (maybe) my source.

How many times will the community be screwed by license chicanery before before you wise up: Tivo, Open Group X, XFree86/Xorg debocle, GIF, the Java Trap, Bitkeeper... Early GPL versions obviously assumed too much about reasonable community behavior. GPL v3 simply makes an attempt to spell things out more completely.

We're going to have to do this with Adium as well (5, Insightful)

1155 (538047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458568)

We're going to have to do this with Adium as well. We are unable to contact some contributors to get their ok on using GPLv3, and rather than disrespect their contributions by pushing the bottom line of v3, we're going to have to keep using v2 since it's the license they submitted with.

I completely agree with this in either case. v3 is about pushing an agenda within a license from what I can tell, rather than sticking to what it is, a license. It's their license, fine, but pushing their own goals through it makes it even more restrictive to use the GPL than it already is. It's frustrating.

Re:We're going to have to do this with Adium as we (1)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458676)

The GPL has always been about promoting the agenda and goals of the Free Software Foundation. Yes, it's "just" a license. Licenses are always about furthering goals. Do you think Microsoft doesn't have an agenda and goals with their licenses?

I'm not sure from your description what the problem is with your project. If people had previously submitted code under GPLv2 only, then I would think most of the code would have to be GPLv2 only, so no change would be necessary? Is it possible to mix "GPLv2 and later" and "GPLv2 only"?

Re:We're going to have to do this with Adium as we (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459358)

Is it possible to mix "GPLv2 and later" and "GPLv2 only"?

IANAL, but it would seem to me that given a program consisting of two modules, one GPLv2+ and one GPLv2-only, the result would be distributable only under GPLv2.

Distribution under the terms of GPLv2 would satisfy the licensing requirements of both modules, but distribution under the terms of GPLv3 would violate the license of the v2-only module. The GPLv2+ module could be used as part of another program distributed according to the terms of GPLv3.

GPLv2 is not the same as GPLv2 Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459082)

If they submitted it under a GPLv2 Only license then what's the problem? If you retroactively change all the code to GPLv2 Only you still have to ask all of them, simply assuming that is what they want is more presumptuous than simply allowing what the license says ad verbatim. In fact, it is an additional restriction which you can not legally apply.

Re:We're going to have to do this with Adium as we (2, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459276)

We're going to have to do this with Adium as well. We are unable to contact some contributors to get their ok on using GPLv3, and rather than disrespect their contributions by pushing the bottom line of v3, we're going to have to keep using v2 since it's the license they submitted with.

I'm not sure you can change your license from "v2 or later" to "v2 only" without permission. If you accepted contributions to a project under a "v2 or later" license, then your contributors were placing their code under *that* license, and a change to a "v2 only" license would constitute releasing contributors' code under a license they didn't approve.

MySQL AB doesn't have the same issue because they own the copyright on all of their code (i.e. they don't accept contributions unless the copyright is assigned to them). They do that so that they can dual-license their code, but it has the effect of allowing them to change their licensing terms at will.

adium seems to have dug themselves a hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459644)

It's actually pretty simple. If Adium received all its contributions under the license terms of "GPL v2 or later" then they've already been given explicit permission to use GPL v3; if Adium did not receive all its contributions under the license terms of "GPL v2 or later" then they themselves have been violating the licenses under which they received those contributions by re-distributing them in the past tagged with license terms of "GPL v2 or later".

If Adium genuinely believes they are only now realizing that the contributions under discussion were not licensed for "GPL v2 or later" the least good faith effort Adium could do to correct the damage they've done to those contributors is to remove from distribution of all prior copies that they now realize were marked with unauthorized license terms.

After all, that's what is usually asked of any other distributor caught acting in violation of some code's GPL-terms license.

Shame really, as the application looks quite nice.

Re:We're going to have to do this with Adium as we (3, Insightful)

greginnj (891863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459754)

I'm not sure you can change your license from "v2 or later" to "v2 only" without permission. If you accepted contributions to a project under a "v2 or later" license, then your contributors were placing their code under *that* license, and a change to a "v2 only" license would constitute releasing contributors' code under a license they didn't approve.
Umm, yes they did. You have to watch your inclusions here. "v2 only" is a subset of "v2 or later". Also note that the "v2 or later" language is not actually part of the license (or a license type itself); it's just a phrase that is traditionally used to introduce the license in many releases. It's equivalent to saying "This software is simultaneously released under v2, and v3, and v4, and v5, and ... v_n -- take your pick".

Once you have that situation, the release under v3 does not 'trump' or efface the release under v2; it is just an additional license possibility.

In the case we're discussing, anybody who picks up the code to reuse it can choose to either release the result under "v2 only" or under "v2 or later". In the the first case, they're picking up the "v2" option of the initial package. Remember, the initial package is still out there in the ether, available under v2, v3, v4, ..., vn, so the restriction only applies to the mod.

Note that this reading relies heavily on the use of the word OR in "... or later". It provides the choice to the person receiving the code as to which license they'll accept. If the original stipulation said "v2 AND any later version", we'd be in the sort of "v3 trumps v2" situation everyone seems to be worrying about - but if these issues ever came to trial, I seriously doubt any judge would accept as valid a release under a license that did not yet exist at the time the license was granted. (IANAL).

Re:We're going to have to do this with Adium as we (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17460022)

Also note that the "v2 or later" language is not actually part of the license (or a license type itself); it's just a phrase that is traditionally used to introduce the license in many releases.

More than that. It's the language that typically accompanies the copyright statement, and is the formal indication of the license granted by the copyright holder. The recipient can choose which set of rules they redistribute under, but I'm not at all sure they can change the actual license chosen by the copyright holder.

To be clear, If write a program and license it under v2+, I think you can:

  • Distribute under v2
  • Distribute under v3
  • Add v2-only code, making the result distributable only under v2
  • Add v2+ code, making the result v2 and v3 distributable
  • Add v3+ code, making the result distributable only under v3 (or v4, etc.).
  • Add v3-only code, making the result distributable only under v3

What I think you cannot do at all, though, is change the license selection in my copyright statement to say "v3", or "v2", or anything at all other than "v2+".

Re: Agendas (2, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459340)

While sticking with V2 is the right thing to dor for Adium, you may be ignoring the critical loophole in V2 that they are attempting to close.

Tivo has abused V2 in a novel way that privatizes their software. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tivoization [wikipedia.org] Tivo is just the beginning of V2 abuse. (novell/microsoft anyone?) What happens when Trusted Computing is fully implemented? Tivo on a massive scale.

I'm saying this agenda benefits everyone tomorrow rather than sticking with V2 where the public benefits will come to an end through clever manipulations of GPL V2.

Re:We're going to have to do this with Adium as we (1)

SuseLover (996311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459570)

Pushing an agenda? It seems to me that GPL v3 is designed top prevent companies from pushing their own agenda and over the spirit of the GPL.

Re:We're going to have to do this with Adium as we (1)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459858)

The GPL has always had an agenda: "To guarantee the freedom to share and change free software".
GPL3 has more restrictions than GPL2 but the agenda has not changed as far as I can tell.

I've looked at the GPL3 draft and every additional restriction does seem to better promote that agenda than GPLv2 (against real threats or current uses of the GPL not in line with the stated purpose). I suspect a lot of the people complaining about GPLv3 actually liked or even relied on some of the holes in GPLv2, that were working against it's stated purpose.

no, you don't (0, Flamebait)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459910)

We are unable to contact some contributors to get their ok on using GPLv3,

AFAIK, the GPLv3 is backwards compatible with GPLv2, so you can move part of the files to GPLv3 and leave the rest under GPLv2. As a result, effectively, the entire work would be under GPLv3, even though some source files are still under GPLv2.

and rather than disrespect their contributions by pushing the bottom line of v3, we're going to have to keep using v2

You don't have to do that; you're merely rationalizing your own agenda.

v3 is about pushing an agenda within a license from what I can tell, rather than sticking to what it is, a license. It's their license, fine, but pushing their own goals through

"Their goals" and "their agenda" is simply to keep the source code that's published under the GPL open, free, and available. The GPLv2 had some bugs in that regard (vis Novell/Microsoft deal, Tivo, etc.), and the GPLv3 attempts to fix those bugs as best it can. Their goals and their agenda has not changed one bit; if you don't like it with GPLv3, you shouldn't have picked GPLv2, with or without the "or later" clause.

By distancing yourself from those goals, one has to conclude that it isn't your goal to keep Adium source code open, free, and available. So, for example, it wouldn't apparently bother you if Apple or Microsoft or some Chinese manufacturer takes your source code and distributes the binary without distributing usable source along with it, or if Microsoft slips in a piece of patented code (through an intermediary) and then a couple of years later demands licensing fees from anybody other than Novell customers, because that's what the bugs in the GPLv2 amount to.

Why aren't you being honest then and switch from GPLv2 (which gives the appearance of preserving those freedoms but can't quite do it because of bugs) to the BSD license (which explicitly doesn't preserve those freedoms)?

Good for them. (3, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458578)

I have severe problems with the GPLv3 as-is; I feel they're trying to stuff a brand of morality and a system of thought down the throats of programmers who licensed their creations in good faith under the GPLv2.

Anyone who takes a step back and says "now wait a tick" to that kind of thing, I like. Maybe the GPLv3 won't be as bad as it seems, but that little "or any later version" clause is one that simply should not be included for projects of any magnitude.

Re:Good for them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17458912)

"I have severe problems with the GPLv3 as-is; I feel they're trying to stuff a brand of morality and a system of thought down the throats of programmers who licensed their creations in good faith under the GPLv2."

apply a bsd license to your code then. if it's good, i'll be happy to kife it and rerelase it as a cots product.

copyleft licenses exists to protect freedom - not to be freeware. gpl2 has too many loopholes that circumvent that intent.

Re:Good for them. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459418)

> copyleft licenses exists to protect freedom - not to be freeware. gpl2 has too many loopholes that circumvent that intent.

GPLv3 says:

  * don't do this
  * don't do that
  * mustn't do foo

Sure sounds like freedom. (sarcasm)

GPLv2 has restrictive bits in it, but developers have decided that those bits are worth it.
This may be the case also with GPLv3. But a switch from GPLv2 to GPLv3 would see more restrictions
applied to a project.

eg.

Lets say GPLv2 has 5 restrictions. Let's say GPLv3 has 10.
A switch from v2 to v3 incurs a gain of 5 restrictions to the project. Essentially
the project becomes more restrictive than what it has been in the past.
This has the effect of reducing freedoms.

  - 51acf00e7b6e2977807a371f24007eb39a863e7f

MOD PARENT TROLL ! (1)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459744)

first, you cannot enumerate freedoms. you cannot simply add them or substract them.
caption obvious calls bullshit for this one.

second, there are several positions - something that many ppl do not grasp:
one position is: here is the code, do whatever you want. kill puppies with it, make it proprietary but DO NOT REMOVE TEH COPYRIGHT. like BSD, this says, that freedom extends even to the freedom to withhold the code from others.
the second is: here is the code, do whatever you want, but DAMN YOU WONT'T REMOVE TEH FREEDOMS. like GPL, this says, that in order to ensure freedom, some sacrifices must be made - so the freedom to withold GPL source form those who got the binaries is outright killed, so that other freedoms can be preserved.

now compare this to the "weimar republic" (germany before WWII). there was a democracy, but even its enemies were allowed to form parties and get onto the ballot - hitler was democratically elected. so there were freedoms, but freedom-hating fascists could easily use them to abolish them.

[poster invokes godwin's law, covers and ducks.]

p.s.: nowadays, in germany, parties that are against democracy can be banned. sometimes history teaches lessons.

Re:MOD PARENT TROLL ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459886)

I understand your second point. I agree to what you said.

Both GPLv2 and GPLv3 are restrictive. But my point in the GP was that GPLv3 is heading to be
more restrictive than GPLv2. This is something that is bad.

As for your first point, I think it is possible to enumerate freedoms. And I think
that others have said that GPLv3 adds and subtracts freedoms.
There was another post in the story on /. by someone who mentions restrictions on DVD playback.
That's one enumeration right there. And that's one restriction addition right there.

Just because you don't agree with someone else's opinion, is no reason to call them a troll.

  - 51acf00e7b6e2977807a371f24007eb39a863e7f

what does GPL3 make worse ? (3, Insightful)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459098)

I have severe problems with the GPLv3 as-is; I feel they're trying to stuff a brand of morality and a system of thought down the throats of programmers who licensed their creations in good faith under the GPLv2.
"programmers in good faith" can still develop every bit with the "or-any-later"-clause. and free software is about a system of thoughts: users have a right to know how the software works, a right to tinker and a right to pass their changes on. nearly everyone who contributes to free / open source software has accepted this, be it b/c of morality (FSF ppl: RMS for example) or b/c they think its a far superiour development model (OSS ppl: Linus, ESR).

okay ? now the interesting stuff: the FSF is just trying to keep up with teh evil(tm).
honestly, which responsible developer of GPLed software could like "tivoisation" ? if you program a software that is for everyone free to modify and some company uses it on their devices (that is like ... video recorders !), effectly denying the users "the right to tinker", could you want that, if you chose the GPLv2 ? tivoisation is proprietarisation, therefore any BSD developer could be happy with it, but a GPL-software developer ?

or the novell-m$ contract: with GPLv3 that would be explicitly outlawed. and no one except novell, m$ and their customers could want such a contract - i am not even sure if their customers could want it.

after that, what is your problem with GPLv3 ?
  they are just changing the wording, not the intent.

Anyone who takes a step back and says "now wait a tick" to that kind of thing, I like. Maybe the GPLv3 won't be as bad as it seems, but that little "or any later version" clause is one that simply should not be included for projects of any magnitude.
exactly that is the point: "maybe GPLv3 wont be as bad as it seems". by removing the "or-any-later"-clause, they hinder anyone to try it. that is the point. of course, mysql is written by a company, so its not so bad - they have the copyright, they could make it GPLv3 whenever they want. but OTOH meaningful "community" projects like the linux kernel can never make it to GPLv3, even if later on it is clearly that GPLv2 has a huge loophole. that is the danger that lies in removing the "or-any-later"-clause.

Re:what does GPL3 make worse ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459654)

> or the novell-m$ contract: with GPLv3 that would be explicitly outlawed. and no one except novell, m$ and their customers
> could want such a contract - i am not even sure if their customers could want it.

Just because their customers don't want it, doesn't mean people should forbid it in the license.

What's so outlaw-able about the Novel-M$ deal? I don't like it, you don't like it. Others don't like it.
Hell, if we started outlawing things we don't like, there'd be nothing left *to* like.

Another case where the GPLv3 would put more restrictions on what developers and users can do.
Less freedom. Isn't that against the spirit of the GPL and FOSS?

  - 51acf00e7b6e2977807a371f24007eb39a863e7f

Re:Good for them. (0, Troll)

Undertaker43017 (586306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459252)

"I have severe problems with the GPLv3 as-is; I feel they're trying to stuff a brand of morality and a system of thought down the throats of programmers who licensed their creations in good faith under the GPLv2"

The GPL and the Communist Software Foundation have always been about pushing their "brand of morality and system of thought", GPLv3 is just adapting to a changing world.

If you truly want to release free software use a BSD or similar license.

Jumping the Shark (0, Troll)

Snap E Tom (128447) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458580)

And they recently stopped putting the newest versions of MySQL on the website community download page, too. (5.0.27 on the DL page versus 5.0.30 on the FTP server) Time to fork?

Re:Jumping the Shark (2, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458602)

Fork because you have to FTP the very latest releases? Bit drastic, don't you think?

Forking a project is a weapon-of-last-resort. MySQL has never said that they won't use GPLv3, they just want to see the bloody thing first and decide for themselves.

Migrated away from MySQL (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459724)

We develop database apps for small local govts and migrated away from MySQL to Postgres exactly because of all the licensing wierdness going on with MySQL and its various backend data storage engines. Its future has just become too unpredicatable and uncertain anymore. Such a shame, because it is such a lightweight and nimble database. Too bad the MySQL organization seems to be headed down a path to crumbling apart.

We'll see how long he gets to keep his card (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17458624)

His pinko-commie card. If he wont' tow the line he is not long for this world. I see hairloss in his future. If the GPL party says to move to 3, he damn well better move to 3!

Absurd! How Dare They?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17458632)

That's it, I've had it! I'm switching to SQL Server!

Thank You Speghetti Monster! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17458674)

GPLv3 will be a disaster. Linus has already rejected it. In more private circles, the phrase, "RMS is on crack!" was uttered. I, for one, actually agree with Linus on this, and see no reason to move to GPLv3. It will ruin everything we have worked so hard to create. If this is a move by RMS to keep himself relevant, then it's a bad one, and he needs to find other avenues to contribute. It's important to remember: everything we have done can be lost.

Re:Thank You Speghetti Monster! (4, Insightful)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458802)

You're absolutely right that what has been done can be lost. Lost to companies that use DRM and patents to take away our freedom. "Tivoization" is just a proof-of-concept. Without GPLv3, companies will start exploiting loopholes like that more and more, until one day people realize it really can be taken away.

Uhm. And? (3, Interesting)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458780)

Let me see.... So, they're changing the licence from now on. But I can still download a GPLv2-and-later licenced one that just isn't the latest version.

So, are they planning on adding features that will be incompatible with GPLv3?

Re:Uhm. And? (3, Insightful)

repvik (96666) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458820)

As a sidenote, having a licence that specifies "this version or any other later revision of this licence" is kinda braindead. That makes it possible to do all kinds of neat tricks to the licence, and you can't really do anything about it (Except change the licence for the next release).

Re:Uhm. And? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459422)

Right before that clause there is a note saying that future licences will have the same spirit (read intention) than the curent one. That means, the licence protect the 4 freedoms, for you and everybody that you send a copy of the work (and that is quite clear at the licence).

All those problems are caused by people that want the benefits that GPL give them (code hard to steal, a communit that develops for you, and a few others) without wanting the obligations that come with them. But both come toguether, GPLv2 is FLAWED and, now that we know its flaws, it won't give you the good stuf anymore.

Re:Uhm. And? (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459450)

> As a sidenote, having a licence that specifies "this version or any other later revision of this licence" is kinda braindead. That makes it possible to do all kinds of neat tricks to the licence, and you can't really do anything about it (Except change the licence for the next release).

I take it you don't actually know *why* that clause is in there? For a work like Linux, it's so that it's *possible* to update the license (they don't use it, but if they did, they'd be able to update the license).

Why do you update a license? The first reason would be to address legal loopholes that have come about due to changes in the law. If you can't respond to these changes, it's like having a binary you can never change that now has a remote exploit. Oops, too late now...

Now, what "cute tricks" are possible? Say you put it on there back in GPL v1 days, so you have a license for GPL v1 or later. That means that anyone can download it and then choose to abide by the GPL v1 as a whole, or the GPL v2 as a whole, or both so long as at least one of the licenses is fully satisfied. According to the FSF, the licensee choses the license they accept, not the licensor.

So what evil tricks can they add to it? Say the GPL v3 says that you have to give SCO a billion dollars (it won't, but just say it did). Well, unless you have a v3 only license, you can just accept a v2 license and tell SCO to go to hell. Thus, the only "trick" you can perform is giving people additional freedom--otherwise they'll just take the old license instead.

True, when you update, you can start saying that you only offer GPL v3 or later with your new additions. That's a separate case, but they can just use the old v2 licensed software instead.

In other words, license updates are like software updates: they can be a pain in the ass, but sometimes they're needed, and making them impossible isn't always a good idea.

Disclaimer: IANAL.

Re:Uhm. And? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459496)

As a sidenote, having a licence that specifies "this version or any other later revision of this licence" is kinda braindead. That makes it possible to do all kinds of neat tricks to the licence, and you can't really do anything about it (Except change the licence for the next release).

However, those "neat tricks" can also be beneficial, so it can also be a good idea.

Really, it just comes down to a question of how much you trust the author of the license. If you can safely assume that future revisions won't do anything you disagree with, then that's fine. Personally, I'm very much in agreement with the goals of the FSF, and I have confidence that they aren't going to change -- RMS hasn't changed his perspective one iota in the last 20 years, so I think we can safely assume he won't change it in the future.

Now, if you *don't* agree with the goals of the license author, or don't trust those goals to stay fixed, then, sure, using the "or later" clause is a bad idea.

Either way, there's nothing "braindead" about it. It's just a matter of understanding the motivations and goals of the license and software authors, and deciding what makes sense for everyone concerned. Linus thought about it, and chose v2 only. Others are in closer agreement with RMS and the FSF, and prefer v2+. Where you are depends on you.

Re:Uhm. And? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458974)

Actually, I'm not going to chastize them for the change, but rather laugh at them for not fixing that clause a long time ago.

It's just plain dumb to have a license that can be retroactively changed by anyone other then you.

Think about it in terms of common sense.

Would you trust your benevolent dictator or hedge your bets to ensure a path chosen by you.

overzealous and immoral FSF power grab (2, Informative)

alienmole (15522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17460020)

I'm laughing right along with you.

It's difficult to overstate how strong the ramifications of that "or any later version" clause are. For all intents and purposes, including that clause when you license your code is the next best thing to assigning copyright of your code to the FSF, since it allows them to re-license your code as they see fit.

Of course, the FSF likes you to assign copyright to them anyway, but failing that, they booby-trapped the license with language which most people have not been aware enough to question. Some true believers like to respond to that with "but I trust the FSF", but that's nonsense: how can you trust an organization that doesn't exist yet, i.e. the future FSF. What happens when Stallman dies, for example?

The fact that the FSF recommended this language is, to me, an example of overzealousness which the FSF should be ashamed of. We see these sorts of tactics used by politicians and legislators all the time. It's disappointing to see an organization like the FSF, which seems to be founded on some real principles rather than "let's see who can grab the most power", stoop to these levels to promote their agenda.

No doubt FSF members and fans would justify this language on a kind of "means justifies the ends" basis. But the problem is that the language in question represents a centralization of power with no real checks or balances. No moral organization should want such a thing.

Re:Uhm. And? (2, Informative)

SMQ (241278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459086)

So, are they planning on adding features that will be incompatible with GPLv3?

Sure, every change they've made or will make that's licensed GPLv2 only. You can indeed download the most-recent "GPLv2 or higher" code, but if you then patch it with any "GPLv2 only" code you can only redistribute under GPLv2.

Re:Uhm. And? (3, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459392)

They just want to have the chance to look at v3 and see what it means for their business. I don't think that's an unreasonable possition to take, especially given that FSF is hell-bent on making the v3 license a big advocacy push against DRM and patents that might have substantial collateral damage among free software businesses.

Freedom is scary (1, Informative)

crosbie (446285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458826)

Given the GPLv3 (however it's written) cannot reduce the liberty provided by the GPLv2, one can only imagine that those who cross out "or later" are fearful that the public may be given more liberty by the GPLv3 than they'd prefer them to have.

What kind of liberties are there to be afraid of?

The GPLv3 can only restore the liberties suspended by copyright, patents, and the DMCA. It cannot grant any additional liberties, e.g. to inspect the publisher's premises, or to sleep with its CEO's daughter, etc.

Re:Freedom is scary (2, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459048)

Unless someone makes a specially modified MySQL for a closed device (TiVo?), redistributes the source code with the modifications but under the same license ("...GPLv2 or any later version"), and then you leverage that you have accepted the software under any later version (GPLv3 specifically) to legally force the manufacturer to release encryption keys and free up any patents he owns.

Yes, some companies may prefer to use MySQL or MySQL-embedded as GPL software and release the code, working on a service model for some embedded device; rather than paying for a commercial license. Look at Linksys and their Linux firmware, "Download GPL code here." They COULD have used BSD or Minix!

Re:Freedom is scary (1)

crosbie (446285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459926)

That's the point I was obliquely trying to make, i.e. that those who prefer 'GPLv2 only' probably do not have the public's liberty uppermost in their mind, but rather an eye toward potential revenue models on the horizon that rely on its suspension (patents/DMCA).

Re:Freedom is scary (2, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459096)

Given the GPLv3 (however it's written) cannot reduce the liberty provided by the GPLv2

Sure it can. If you grant me the right to redistribute a derivative work from something you've written under GPLv2 or later, and GPLv3 says I can sell a work without providing any source whatsoever, you can't stop me from taking your work and releasing a closed source product using your source. I don't think "however it's written" means what you think it means. Even if you firmly believe that GPLv3 will do no such thing, can you be sure that GPLv10 won't? It's foolish to agree to license something under a license that hasn't been written and will be written by someone you don't know.

Re:Freedom is scary (1)

crosbie (446285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459258)

A later version cannot reduce the licensee's liberty, but yes, I suppose it could reduce the obligations imposed on the licensee to preserve liberty for their licensees.

However, that would indicate that FSF had completely lost the plot - no sign of that so far.

So, yes, I will concede that a later version of the GPL could end up reducing the PUBLIC's liberty (even if it cannot reduce the licensee's liberty).

Re:Freedom is scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459130)

> What kind of liberties are there to be afraid of?

It is funny how GPL software is always described as more free - if you think about it, is it really free when I can't take it and use it for whatever purpose I want?

Free speech is often tested and challenged by what happens to those that say things someone doesn't want to hear. If you apply the same logic to software, then GPL is not free at all. There are plenty of people that want a license that puts hard restrictions on what you can do with their source code, and for certain such people GPLv2 can be a good choice, but please don't fool yourself to think that freely available software means free (as in freedom).

Re:Freedom is scary (1)

crosbie (446285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459576)

"Freedom of the licensee to suspend the public's liberty" vs "freedom of the public" can be confusing. I get tripped up over it myself (as I did in my post above).

You've got to be eternally vigilant in holding uppermost in your mind that the freedom provided by the GPL is not to a specific licensee, but to all licensees of all published copies and all published derivatives.

Hence, a license for the general public that restores to it the freedoms otherwise suspended by copyright, patents and the DMCA.

The BSD neutralises copyright, whereas the GPL nullifies it.

The GPL restores liberty to the public, whereas the BSD restores it only to first generation licensees.

GPLv3 (1, Informative)

dheera (1003686) | more than 7 years ago | (#17458916)

From GPLv3 draft 2: "(For instance, if the work is a DVD player and can play certain DVDs, it must be possible for modified versions to play those DVDs. If the work communicates with an online service, it must be possible for modified versions to communicate with the same online service in the same way such that the service cannot distinguish.)"

bad idea. this means when BluRay comes out, someone cannot take existing DVD-based GPL code and mod it to work with BluRay if it won't also work with DVD.

"This License permits you to make and run privately modified versions of the Program, or have others make and run them on your behalf. However, this permission terminates, as to all such versions, if you bring suit against anyone for patent infringement of any of your essential patent claims in any such version, for making, using, selling or otherwise conveying a work based on the Program in compliance with this License."

i never like the wording of this one this one. (a) "if you bring suit" is not the same as "if you win the suit". and (b) why would a patent suit end said permission? if the patent suit is in one country, development could then just move to another country under which the original patent has no jurisdiction. basically, i'm not in agreement with patent suits winning in ANY case where the patent owner has only created a design but no implementation. if the inventor of an idea does not plan on implementation him/herself in a reasonable time, it is HINDERING THE WORLD to let them have a patent, because all they have done is lock up an idea from being developed. if they want to start a business and implement their idea, however, great.

Re:GPLv3 (1)

F452 (97091) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459040)

For your DVD example, I don't think that's what the license draft says at all. Nothing says your modified code has to do anything. The requirement is that your modified code still be *able* to do what the original code does, *if you want it to*. This is to protect against the Tivoization problem.

Re:GPLv3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459072)

"it must be possible for modified versions" does not mean that the modified versions _have_ to do it. It only means what it says, it _must_ be possible to do modified versions that can still play DVDs, right?

Re:GPLv3 (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459160)

Does it also mean that if I, for example, take the code behind Gaim's GUI and use it in a program that has nothing to do with instant messaging, that I violate the license if my new product can't communicate with AIM, MSN, Jabber, etc. servers? So much for code reuse.

Re:GPLv3 (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459346)

rom GPLv3 draft 2: "(For instance, if the work is a DVD player and can play certain DVDs, it must be possible for modified versions to play those DVDs. If the work communicates with an online service, it must be possible for modified versions to communicate with the same online service in the same way such that the service cannot distinguish.)" bad idea. this means when BluRay comes out, someone cannot take existing DVD-based GPL code and mod it to work with BluRay if it won't also work with DVD.
While the wording may be so vague as to lead to this conclusion, it is not the intent of the GPLv3. Suppose I take a GPL'd DVD player and modify it so that it can read my special encrypted DVDs. In order to be compatible with GPLv3, I need to either make the decryption key available under the GPL, or allow the encryption key to be changed without rendering the program nonfunctional. The point is that you must distribute under the GPL every part of the program necessary for it function.

Re:GPLv3 (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459390)

I invite you to make these comments on the official GPL v3 site. That way, the licence authors and other interested parties will be able to take them into consideration.

Re:GPLv3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17459978)

I don't know how you get that conclusion; maybe it's because I have read more about the new license and don't really see where you're getting confused, but I can assure you that your intepretation is wrong.

The major changes, including the clause you point out, are there to stop vendors from adding their own proprietary 'magic' (like a binary firmware driver or a secret key) and thus making the remainder of the GPLd software useless if you want to run a modified version on their hardware (or on their networks or whatever).

I personally doubt it'll work. I suspect we'll just see a lot of BSD based hardware and paid-off GPL programmers (in return for a non-GPL version of the code).

I stinks, and I totally understand why the GPL v3 was born - just about every complex consumer device I have come across in recent times could have been improved upon. I would dearly love access to the source code for my Tivo-style DVR to make some much needed improvements.

question (1)

slack_prad (942084) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459078)

Can I get the source of a software which is licensed GPL2 only, make changes to it and release it as GPL3? Second question: How about the other way round?

Doublespeak (5, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459094)

Kaj Arno, MySQL VP of community relations, revealed the license change on his blog, on December 22, noting that the license for MySQL 5.0 and 5.1 had changed from "GPLv2 or later" to "GPLv2 only". As he explained, this was "in order to make it an option, not an obligation for the company to move to GPLv3".

To be more clear, what they have done was **take away the option** for other people to distribute the code under a GPL version higher than GPL2. Under the old wording, the company has no obligation to distribute their code under GPL3, even after GPL3 is released.

MySQL AB could continue distributing the code under GPL2 and leave others with the option of distributing their derivatives of it under GPL3. So their concern is what **other people** might do with their code, and has nothing to do with MySQL AB being forced to do anything.

What they are actually concerned with is a forking of their project by a group of developers who prefer GPL3 over GPL2. Anyone so inclined could still create such a fork using a version of MySQL distributed under the old wording (including the most recent current versions, if they received the code under the old license). They just wouldn't be able to use any code from MySQL that came after the license change. It would have to be a clean break, with no sharing of code after the license change.

A little late ! (1, Insightful)

redelm (54142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459124)

It appears that MySQL has just woken up to the odd GPLv2 clause giving users the right to apply a later version at their option. Who could possibly accept such an unknown clause? Linus can't, and hasn't. I doubt Linux could be moved to GPLv3 even if he wanted to -- too many authors.

As for the danger of GPL subversion, it is clear and present: RMS could and would insert "As oversight authority, the FSF is party to this licence and may sue for enforcment" [@11 ur baze b3l0ng 2me]

Quietly? (3, Interesting)

iandunn (538656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459182)

"MySQL has quietly changed the license it uses... VP of community relations, revealed the license change on his blog..."

How does the VP of community relations announcing it on his blog qualify as 'quietly changing'? What do you want them to do, throw a bloody parade? Not everything is a secret plot to destroy OSS.

Yeah... (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Stoddard (876771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17459502)

They wanted to get around that ugly part of the GPL that says "and when GPL v3 comes out, this software must be distributed according to its terms."

Unfortunately, I can't quite find it anywhere in the license, though everyone keeps complaining about it...
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