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GCC 4.2.1 Released

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the licensing-with-drama dept.

449

larry bagina writes "GCC 4.2.1 was released 4 days ago. Although this minor update would otherwise be insignificant, it will be the final GPL v2 release; all future releases will be GPL v3. Some key contributors are grumbling over this change and have privately discussed a fork to stay as GPL v2. The last time GCC forked (EGCS), the FSF conceded defeat. How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt?"

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449 comments

How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953599)

How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt?

by not shoveling GPL3 down our throats?

Re:How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953641)

by not shoveling GPL3 down our throats?

How does making a license freely available for software authors to use translate into "shoveling [sic] GPL3 down our throats"?

Re:How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (3, Interesting)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953745)

How does making a license freely available for software authors to use translate into "shoveling [sic] GPL3 down our throats"?

I suppose that a lot of free software authors feel that the FSF is being a little heavy handed. In fairness, it's hard to see how (after consultations lasting more than a year) that the foundation could have handled this better. All the same, there are inevitably going to be people who are not comfortable with the new licence. Given a choice of accept v3 or start a fork, it's perhaps inevitable that people who have invested a lot of effort in GNU projects are going to regard the licence as an imposition.

The new licence was always going to be divisive, although in the light of the MS-Novell pact, I think the benefits will be worthwhile in the long run. But that doesn't mean that devs on large projects like GCC don't have a valid point.

The trouble is that there's nothing now to be done about it, but to see how the dice fall.

meanwhile, the evidence is missing (5, Interesting)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953973)

It's worth noting that the linked to article actually contains nothing about GCC developers complaining about GPLv3.

Re:meanwhile, the evidence is missing (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954223)

Having actual sources removes the Uncertainty and Doubt from FUD.

Re:How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (2, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954011)

How does making a license freely available for software authors to use translate into "shoveling [sic] GPL3 down our throats"?
  1. FSF/GNU hold the copyright to many crucial open source software projects (not least GCC, libc*) and will almost certainly migrate these to GPLv3. So even if the linux kernel and other individual projects stay with GPLv2 all Linux distributors will either have to fork the "GNU" part of GNU/Linux or be bound by the GPLv3 in respect of parts of their products (...the "mere aggregation" clause means that the GPLv3 doesn't have to extend to the whole distro, but you're still "distributing" the GPLv3 bits). The fact that FSF asks for copyright assignment means that they are free to switch - other complex projects that include third-party code licensed as "GPLv2 only" don't have that luxury.
  2. FSF encouraged users of the GPLv2 to adopt the "or later..." clause - and it was included in the sample "boilerplate" wording in the "How to use the GPL" documentation. This means that a lot of authors have placed their trust in the FSF not to break the spirit of the GPL. The GPLv3 is more restrictive than v2 (the FSF makes no secret of this) so the practical upshot is that "downstream" recipients of your "GPLv2 or later" software can redistribute it under a more restrictive license - technically in breach of the spirit of GPL. While I don't think many authors intended that the "right to TiVOize" and the "right to sell dubious patent protection" should be among the freedoms that should be passed on, maybe the "right to redistribute this software without having to employ an IP lawyer to decipher the license for you" was kind of implied...

(* LibC is, of course, LGPL which is less "viral" than GPL - but I haven't seen much debate about v3 of LGPL...)

Re:How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (3, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954075)

To summarise your arguments:
  1. Linux distributors choosing to distribute GPLv3 binaries will be able to do so without changing what they're doing now.
  2. You don't understand GPLv3 and think others might be confused too.
None of this addresses the question: How does releasing GCC amount to shoveling the license down our throats?

Re:How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (1)

wwmedia (950346) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954107)

How does making a license freely available for software authors to use translate into "shoveling [sic] GPL3 down our throats"?


you were meant to say >>

How does making a more restrictive license freely available for software authors to use translate into "shoveling [sic] GPL3 down our throats"?


as a software developer you feel that the new version of GPL was not written with software developers in minds, and for software developers benefit.

but it feels/sounds like it was written by some lawyer(s) with a grudge against tivo/microsoft and to create an opportunity to make $$$ thru lawsuits

lawyers are (lie)lawyers, it doesnt matter that they work for the FSF..

Re:How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954099)

Perhaps by letting the GPL2 users contemplate the possibility of a world full of linspire-microsoft style 'patent peace' agreements.

rms response (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953605)

rms will get his banjo out and make a song about opression. Maybe he'll shave off his beard in protest, and on his skin will be the text to a new, all-parties-acceptable GPLv4, ala jailbreak style

Fact lite submission (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953613)

Who is opposing the transition to GPLv3 and why?

Re:Fact lite submission (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953677)

Who is opposing the transition to GPLv3 and why?

There's this guy Linus [wikipedia.org] , he's one. You may have heard of him. He's the guy who created git [wikipedia.org] and some other minor projects.

Re:Fact lite submission (3, Insightful)

Svenne (117693) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953695)

Oh, will he be forking GCC? No? Then how is that relevant to the topic at hand?

Re:Fact lite submission (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953735)

Anyone that dislikes the viral aspects of GPLv3. Unlike GPLv2, any code compiled with GCC licensed under GPLv3 must in turn by GPL v3 code. This is a BIG change from the way it used to be and makes it practically useless to other projects such as *BSD or even MacOS X's development tools. On the plus side, there is a rumor that Apple will be leading the drive to fork GCC into a BSD licensed fork so that the viral aspects of the GPL will no longer encumber it.

Re:Fact lite submission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953771)

Complete Bullshit! Please mod this down.

Re:Fact lite submission (1)

KeyserDK (301544) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953817)

I can claim (without having read the license) that code compiled under the gpl3 has to be gpl3 can't be true. Come on, common sense applies?

Also, you can't relicense GPL code to BSD without owning the copyright, which in this case the FSF has. So Apple can't do that.

Troll?

Re:Fact lite submission (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953863)

I can claim (without having read the license) that code compiled under the gpl3 has to be gpl3 can't be true.
It does, if the compiler embeds portions of itself in the output, which GCC does. This is why GCC contains a specific exemption from the GPL for this particular use.

Re:Fact lite submission (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954241)

Does it? I see no such exemption for gcc in my debian install, just good old GPL with some notes that some bits might be under other licenses. Nothing about how the output would be gpled, if it wasn't for an exemption. I take it as read that gcc doesn't embed bits of itself in it's output.

What you say IS the case for bison, however, but that's because it embeds a pile of parser code in there.

Re:Fact lite submission (1)

xXenXx (973576) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953859)

This is completely untrue.

Many companies use GCC to compile their proprietary products. As long as they don't modify GCC, they can license things any way they want.

Re:Fact lite submission (1)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953935)

Any bundled GCC, like in FreeBSD and OpenBSD, will then be screwed since they add format protection changes. Heck, they need to change the way the gcc -v outputs it versioning to show it is not the stock GCC: gcc version 3.4.6 [FreeBSD] 20060305 (6.2-STABLE box).

Re:Fact lite submission (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954087)

In fact, according to the GPL, even if you DO change GCC, you aren't required to publish the changes except to anyone who gets the GCC binaries.

Re:Fact lite submission (0, Offtopic)

Unoti (731964) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953743)

Here's an article that summarizes the rift. [com.com] This article, at least, talks about Linus Torvalds refusing to go GPL3 because of the provision in GPL3 that discourages or prohibits DRM. Richard Stallman is on the other side: "The foundation believes that free software--that is, software that can be freely studied, copied, modified, reused, redistributed and shared by its users--is the only ethically satisfactory form of software development, as free and open scientific research is the only ethically satisfactory context for the conduct of mathematics, physics or biology."

Re:Fact lite submission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953983)

We all know the general objections to GPLv3 but what do these objections have to do specifically with the licensing of a compiler collection that the FSF hold the copyright to? This isn't about DRM or tivotisation, that leaves the GPLv3 patent provisions which are only relevant to those who want to destroy or hinder GCC via patents.

Even Microsoft routinely license their technology free of charge on condition that licensees waive their rights to sue for patent infringement.

Again, which GCC contributors oppose the change of license and why?

Old news submission (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953989)

It's strange that people talk about "the rift" and then link to emails from Januaray while ignoring that since GPLv3 was released last month there've been no rants from Linus.

Re:Fact lite submission (3, Insightful)

vandan (151516) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953791)

Basically people who want to write non-GPL software oppose GPL3 ( and also people pushing DRM ). For everyone else ( people writing GPL software, and users who don't write software ), GPL3 is a good step towards protecting us from the oncoming legal onslaught from the commercial software world, headed my Microsoft.

Re:Fact lite submission (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954049)

For everyone else ( people writing GPL software, and users who don't write software ), GPL3 is a good step [...]

No, GPLv3 is significantly different from GPLv2, and some of us think that the new version really, really, sucks.

Re:Fact lite submission (3, Insightful)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954203)


No, GPLv3 is significantly different from GPLv2, and some of us think that the new version really, really, sucks.

If you're of this opinion, why not just read the license? You might change your mind.

Re:Fact lite submission (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953861)

Who is favouring a switch to GPL V. 3 and why?

Seriously: It is quite unlikely that anyone is running gcc on a TiVo, and even more unlikely that anyone is running a modified gcc on a TiVo. And I can't see anyone creating a DRM encumbered version of gcc. Now if Microsoft decided to co-operate with Sony and create the most horrible DRM ever thought of for the new Microsoft-Sony-Dr.Evil Music Player, then there is nothing at all that would stop them from using a future gcc compiler under GPL V. 3 to do this.

Now someone could try to find out what exactly are the consequences if lets say Apple has a very cool idea to create faster code, gets a patent for it, and adds an implementation to gcc. Or if Microsoft has a very cool idea to creater faster code, gets a patent for it, and doesn't add an implementation to gcc.

EGCS link also unclear (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954125)

The whole EGCS link is also unclear. If I recall correctly, EGCS was a fork to OPTIMISE gcc, not to subvert it.

Re:EGCS link also unclear (5, Informative)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954253)

Mostly EGCS happened because Richard Kenner, while widely recognized as an excellent compiler engineer, wasn't that good a maintainer. In particular, the Cygnus people felt that their changes to the C++ front-end was too long to get in to the mainline tree. The egcs branch tried to "modernize" the development process with open mailing lists and anonymous cvs access, as opposed to the traditional ("Cathedral") approach.

Officially the egcs was an experimental branch of gcc, and there was never a feud between the Cygnus guys between egcs, and the FSF. The FSF could thus make egcs the official gcc branch without losing face, the experiment had simply been a success.

The "link" to egcs is simply because the submitter is a troll. That gcc would change to GPL3 has been known and accepted since the whole GPL3 process started, and those developers who cared have responded by getting involved in the GPL3 process. The rare protests have been from non-developers only, and have seem more motivated by misguided Linus worship than by anything else.

The threat... (2, Insightful)

NoxNoctis (936876) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953617)

...of a fork for a large and well known project like GCC can definitely shake things up. All the people involved just need to remember that if they do fork GCC, they've got a lot of work to do. I'm not saying it shouldn't be done, but some people just whine about licenses, threaten to fork, and hope for the developers to hear their cry. I hate to say it, but GCC under GPLv3 is coming, and no amount of whining will change that.

Re:The threat... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953651)

It really depends on who's "whining" (just because you don't agree, doesn't mean they're whining). The winner would be whichever (potential) fork would get the best development.

Re:The threat... (1)

Alcoholic Synonymous (990318) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953681)

I'm pretty sure that all of the BSDs will throw their weight behind the GPL2 branch. Along with a good portion of other commercial entities using GCC.

Re:The threat... (1)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953963)

I am pretty sure that in a little while people will seriously consider alternatives to GCC.

Re:The threat... (1, Troll)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953679)

Should we just accept that as a fait accompli? Isn't the FSF meant to be working for us rather than staying in their ivory tower dictating to us what we want?

Re:The threat... (1, Redundant)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953901)

Isn't the FSF meant to be working for us rather than staying in their ivory tower dictating to us what we want?

Relevant quotes: George Orwell, 1984: "The purpose of power... is power." Also, Lord Acton: "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Actual free software is PD. Source, executable, or both. Put a license on it, and it isn't free anymore, instead, it is conditional — that is what licenses are, sets of conditions you must meet in order to use the software according to someone who withholds rights from you unless you comply with their vision of a limited manner in which they think the software should be used. This is true now, and it has always been true.

So if you're looking for freedom, find a PD project and use it, and/or enhance it, and toss the results back in the pond as PD again. Or make a new PD project. There is nothing so inconvenient and virally destructive to the lawyers and those who use them as is PD software. On the other hand, if you support the idea of a closed software ecosystem, by all means, follow RMS; his vision is as closed as any other religious convert's is.

Re:The threat... (3, Insightful)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954247)

"...conditions you must meet in order to use the software ..."
  GPL v2 and GPLv3 do not restrict you in anyway how you can use the software.

Re:The threat... (1)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954281)

Isn't the FSF meant to be working for us rather than staying in their ivory tower dictating to us what we want?
You must be new here.

Re:The threat... (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953693)

I hate to say it, but GCC under GPLv3 is coming, and no amount of whining will change that.
No doubt about that.
As seen with the XFree86 project, it takes considerable disgruntlement to create a serious fork. And even if it happens, the original project may stay alive.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XFree86#Release_histo ry [wikipedia.org] shows that XFree86 still exists, even if X.Org is the dominant X-Server these days. So I'm sure there will be an official GCC version under GPLv3.

It is, however, possible that a well-maintained fork under GPL V2 will also exist.

Re:The threat... (2, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953789)

I think it's more than possible. I think we can consider it as good as forked when we look at all of the interested parties, some of whom have a big financial interest in having a GPL 2 fork.

The pity is that it might not be possible to merge the forks down the road. That used to be one of the strengths of the GPL, the ability to merge.

Re:The threat... (1)

bhaak1 (219906) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953889)

The pity is that it might not be possible to merge the forks down the road. That used to be one of the strengths of the GPL, the ability to merge.

Doesn't the FSF hold the Copyright for GCC? How else could they switch easily from GPLv2 to GPLv3?

At least the direction GPLv3 -> GPLv2 should be open as soon as the FSF realises their "mistake".

But with EGCS there was no big merge. The official GCC branch was closed and EGCS was rebranded as the new official GCC.

Re:The threat... (1)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953975)

Yes they do, one of the things you have to do if you supply patches to GCC and the likes requires you to sign papers that hand over copyright to the FSF. One of the reasons I never bothered to. As a fervent BSD and MIT license user I have no problems contributing to (L)GPL projects, but when it comes to legally write over anything to, say, the FSF, that's where I draw the line.

Re:The threat... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953699)

why is it that some people consider all descenting views to be "whining" ? could it be fear that the other party has very valid points?

Re:The threat... (1)

NoxNoctis (936876) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953715)

People who can form a coherent statement as to what they believe is wrong with GPLv3 are not whining. Everyone else that just doesn't like it, they're whining. I'm sorry if I offended you somehow.

Re:The threat... (1)

geschild (43455) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953843)

Or it could be they are unjustly generalizing, or they could be right, of course.

Are these people considering all descenting views to be "whining" on all subjects or just on this subject? Are the 'these people' knowledgable in the field?

In other words, are you yourself generalizing?

Re:The threat... (2, Informative)

xquark (649804) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953733)

I don't know "who" is grumbling, but just looking at the C++ and C side of things, those
languages's syntax to RTL conversions are written by a small group of people (I believe 4-5)
under the auspices of something called "code sourcery" of which some of them are employed
by a company called EDG.

Hence I believe if the majority of people from this group were to revolt and stay with gpl2
then a fork occurring would be inevitable and the FSF wouldn't have a leg to stand on, they
would have to concede as they did with EGCS.

That said no one from code sourcery has made a comment about gpl3 ,positive or negative.
We'll just have to wait and see.

Re:The threat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953939)

Hint: Look who wrote the announcement.

From: Mark Mitchell mark at codesourcery dot com

Dual License (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953639)

IMHO, dual licensed (GPL 2 + GPL 3) is the way to go for a time, while things shake out in the world of free software. Of course GCC, as a FSF project wants to lead the way to a GPL 3 future. However, I think projects would be wise to require contributions as >=GPL2, and release their software as either >=GPL2 or dual-licensed. The latter is what I'm doing to do in the next release of my own work; I don't really want to take sides, and will let competition sort out which license becomes popular. I won't accept outside contributions that are GPL3 only, which is the only thing that might annoy some developers.

Re:Dual License (1)

something_wicked_thi (918168) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953799)

What does that even mean? Clearly, you need to re-read the GPL. The GPLv2 is *already* "dual licensed" (I put the term in quotes because it's nonsensical to talk about it as such) as GPLv3 by virtue of its "any future version" clause. Furthermore, GCC requires assignment of copyright to the FSF, so the FSF has full say over what the license is. Nothing additional is required of contributors.

I think you might want to consult with a lawyer about your own project's licenses, as well. It seems to me what you really want is to continue accepting contributions as GPLv2, but I can't actually make any sense out of what you are saying above.

Re:Dual License (3, Interesting)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954001)

What does that even mean? Clearly, you need to re-read the GPL. The GPLv2 is *already* "dual licensed" (I put the term in quotes because it's nonsensical to talk about it as such) as GPLv3 by virtue of its "any future version" clause.
Ahem, I think you need to reread the license. First, there are quite a few GPLv2-only projects out there, such as the Linux kernel. There is no requirement to include the "later version" statement in programs, as it is not a part of the actual license. The license statement/boilerplate says which license you use, but it is not the actual license (except in the case of short licenses like MIT, where the entire license is sometimes used as the boilerplate). This has been discussed in detail before on LKML and Debian-Legal, so I'm surprised you haven't heard of this. My particular projects are GPLv2-only at the moment, because I do not believe in supporting licenses which don't exist -- now that really is nonsense.

Furthermore, GCC requires assignment of copyright to the FSF, so the FSF has full say over what the license is. Nothing additional is required of contributors.
I'm well aware of this. If you can find something in my post which is inconsistent with this, let me know. I was just giving my opinion on what I think most projects should do. Since all FSF projects require copyright assignment, they can do what they want, and meanwhile I can give my opinion.

I think you might want to consult with a lawyer about your own project's licenses, as well.
I have talked with lawyers before on the licensing, although the GPL3 did not exist then so that wasn't the issue. As I stated before, the 2-vs-3 thing has been covered in quite a bit of depth elsewhere, and I'm pretty happy with what others have determined in their analyses. There are people out there using licenses they have never even read, so I think they might be more in need of a lawyer than I am. I don't make a living off my projects anyway, so I am not too worried about worst-case legal consequences causing me much harm.

It seems to me what you really want is to continue accepting contributions as GPLv2, but I can't actually make any sense out of what you are saying above.
Modulo your different interpretation of the GPL license itself versus the license statement for a block of code, we seem to agree completely. I require contributions to be submitted as "GPL 2 or at your option any later version". Thus far I've released my compilation as GPLv2 only, for much the same reasons that the Linux kernel is released that way. Future versions will likely be GPLv2+GPLv3 (exercising my "or later" option to others' contributions).

I call bull. (5, Interesting)

c0l0 (826165) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953687)

I'm very interested in everything Free Software, and have been following developments around GPLv3 and its adoption rather closely. Apart from some flaimbaits proclaiming how $CORP was going to abandon GCC (or anything else) after going for v3 of GPL, there is no evidence whatsoever supporting that this might actually be considered by anyone important - or in case there is, it wasn't visible enough for me to spot it.

So, user number 561269, would you please elaborate on the subject and cite any credible source supporting your view that a major contributor to GCC is considering to fork and "have it their way"? Your posting thoroughly lacks that kind of information right now, and therefore I think it deserves being tagged bogus or useless.

Thanks in advance for clearing this up.

- c0l0
(who's growing tired of all this anti-GPLv3-FUD swellig so much recently fast)

Re:I call bull. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953823)

This guy likes to spread fud, look at his "a new GNU kernel" post. He needs to get a new hobby.

Re:I call bull. (3, Interesting)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954111)

I don't know of any fork of GCC happening, but I know that Apple now has their own C/C++/ObjC front-end to LLVM that can compile down to binary, and thus it seems will soon be able to avoid using GCC altogether. And since they appear to be prepared to open source it, perhaps there won't be a fork of GCC, but instead this may be the beginning of the end of GCC's dominance.

Completely different (5, Insightful)

zsau (266209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953689)

Once more, Slashdot's editors demonstrate that they are here solely for adviews and not to provide "news for nerds" or "stuff that matters". The ECGS fork will be nothing like the current fork. ECGS was forked for technical/organisational reasons: GCC was being developed much like a closed-source program with a free licence, which resulted in a stagnating compiler and unhappy would-be contributors. ECGS should the superiority of the "bazaar"/open-source development method of the "cathedral"/closed-source method in this particular context. All of this is well-known information you can find just about anywhere on the web.

Given that GCC development will remain open, this fork cannot be compared. On the other hand, we do have another situation that might be considered similar: The X.org/XFree86 fork. XFree86 was developed under a free software licence, but with 4.4 this was changed to a non-free licence. X.org forked the most recent free version and has basically completely replaced XFree86.

But, of course, this is still not perfectly comparable. XFree86 was using a relatively closed development method, and the X.org fork's more open style saw it rejuvinated: And indeed, this was part of the purpose of the fork. A GPLv2 GCC fork will not see this sort of rejuvination, as GCC has already seen the benefit for it of an open method, and continues to use it. (See: The EGCS fork the article poster referred to.)

In addition, the XFree86 licence was widely regarded as being non-free and some major distributions (e.g. Debian, Fedora) considered it completely inappropriate for inclusion. It was made unilaterally without discussion without relevant stakeholders. The GPLv3, however, has had public draft releases and discussion including many major distributors and producers of free software. Although it removes certain freedoms distributors had with GPLv2 (which, largely, went completely against the spirit of the GPLv2), the GPLv3 has the agreement of the people needed to make it work. There will be basically top-down push for adoption as there was with XFree86/X.org.

My prediction: Any GPLv2 fork of GCC will be largely forgotten in a year or two.

Re:Completely different (4, Informative)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953855)

There is no fork of gcc happening. The story submitter just made things up.

Re:Completely different (1)

Bakafish (114674) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953881)

Well if they would simply allow us to rate the article's themselves, we could troll rate the whole thing off the front page. Slashdot needs to give us a better way to provide instant corrective measures to our clueless editorial overlords. I'm sure after getting their submissions buried a couple times they might be a bit more discerning.

(Yeah, I must be new here...)

Re:Completely different (1)

zsau (266209) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953933)

Yeah, well with another poster saying that the submitter made the whole thing up, if that's true I'm tempted to redirect Slashdot.org on my computer to Technocrat.net or something more useful so I stop coming here.

Re:Completely different (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953981)

For xfree86 there was another reason. If you ever hacked with its code you'll probably have played with something known as "imake". The sole thinking about that utility makes me (and a lot other people) puke. Needless to say, the xfree86 people were very happy with it. That alone could be a reason for forking.

How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt? (4, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953691)

Some key contributors are grumbling over this change and have privately discussed a fork to stay as GPL v2.
Who are they? You could have linked to the mailing list or somewhere these "key contributors" where discussing it but you didn't.

Smells like FUD.

The sad state of Slashdot editorial line nowadays (5, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953705)

Some key contributors are grumbling over this change and have privately discussed a fork to stay as GPL v2. The last time GCC forked (EGCS), the FSF conceded defeat. How will the FSF/GNU handle the GPL 3 revolt?"
(emphasis mine)

The use of weasel words [wikipedia.org] , speculation of "private discussions" (how would one in the public know the content of a private discussion without being a part of it himself?) and the use of the textbook definition of straw man [wikipedia.org] by bringing up the unrelated fact that one fork have been successful in the past and implying that, because of that, one "revolt" is imminent, is nothing by an ill flamebait, in order to generate controversy and the unavoidable licensing flamewar that it will certainly ensue.

This is sad because Slashdot used to be a place where, when a new version of software were posted, the discussion were directed to the changelog and the new features, fixed bugs, and this particular article didn't even mentioned that. It was a cheap shot at GPLv3, a license that seems to have lots of people that dislikes it, people that aren't even affected by it in the first place. GPL doesn't cover use, only distribution.

Sad, sad, sad, this used to be a cool blog with real "news for nerds" but lately it seems more interested in generating polemic and the page views that accompany it.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in my post shows any support (or lack of) for any of the mentioned licenses, nor discusses the their merit (or lack of). So keep me out of the flamewar.

Re:The sad state of Slashdot editorial line nowada (0, Redundant)

geschild (43455) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953809)

As you can see from my posting history, I don't do this often (can't remember to have done it at all, come to think of it), but Mod Parent Up!

Re:The sad state of Slashdot editorial line nowada (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953993)

This is sad because Slashdot used to be a place where, when a new version of software were posted, the discussion were directed to the changelog and the new features, fixed bugs, and this particular article didn't even mentioned that. It was a cheap shot at GPLv3, a license that seems to have lots of people that dislikes it, people that aren't even affected by it in the first place. GPL doesn't cover use, only distribution.

This article is not about technical issues. As far as I know, there is no significant dissatisfaction in the community about the technical quality of GCC. But asking questions about the legal future of the project is also legitimate.
The article may exaggerate, and you might disregard it as idle speculation ;-) But what will happen with the GCC license is still a valid question.

And ultimately, if this leads to a fork it may affect end users as well (compatibility problems between official GCC and the fork?).

evolution in action (3, Interesting)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953717)

If the GPL v3 objections are real and widespread, then the GPL v2 forks will survive.

If the GPL v2 objections are unfounded or astroturfing, then the GPL v2 forks will die.

I think the grumbling will blow over; I don't see any serious problems with the GPL v3. In fact, the fact that GPL v3 is compatible with more open source licenses seems like a big advantage.

Maybe not a problem really... (4, Informative)

flibble (34145) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953719)

To be honest from my reading of the gcc mailing list, most of the complaints seemed to be focused around the fact that the original plan (which was up for discussion at least) was to change the numbering system so they went straight from 4.2.1 to 4.3.3 (lots of 3's to ram the point home of course) which would be confusing to most people (and probably to a few packaging systems as well). With what would be 4.3 going to 4.4.

The big problem is that RMS seems to want all patches put into SVN after July 31st to be GPL3+ no matter what, even on release branches which automatically pollutes them. This then causes problems for corporate users who may then have to wait for a legal department evaluation on the license...

I don't think many people would object if the GPLv3+ restriction was for 4.3/4.4+ really. (well as long as RMS doesn't go mad and revoke the linking exception for libgcc anyway...)

GPL v2, v3 or *BSD? (2, Interesting)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953729)

People that use a Linux distro that is newly encumbered by Microsoft patent agreements *cough*Linspire*cough* cannot use the compilers for development anyway. What does the actual GPL version matter to the users in that situation?

I am certainly not a lawyer, but MS has a ton of lawyers that seem to have become experts in the GPL arena and they seem to have little fear of GPL v2, but v3 seems to have them concerned. It seems that if developers want to stick with v2, then they may as well go all the way to the FreeBSD license. v3 is the future of free and open source projects that want to remain free in both senses until MS gets brave enough to sue over some vague patents. But if they can get enough partners like Linspire and Novell, they will have crippled much of the spirit that drives opensource. I plan on supporting companies that are standing up to the MS bullying in whatever ways I can.

Re:GPL v2, v3 or *BSD? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954113)

'' People that use a Linux distro that is newly encumbered by Microsoft patent agreements *cough*Linspire*cough* cannot use the compilers for development anyway. What does the actual GPL version matter to the users in that situation? ''

Please could you explain why I couldn't use the gcc compilers on a box running Linspire for development?

In reality, this whole "patent agreement" is just a lot of hot air. Microsoft just agreed not to sue a very small subset of all Linux users. The other 90+ percent of Linux users just say "Patents? What patents? If I am infringing any of your patents, then tell me which ones, so I can tell you where to stick them".

What's the problem with GPLv3 for GCC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953751)

I think the main "problem" seen by some of the GCC contributors is the "TiVo clause", that is, if you license under GPLv3 and distribute it, and the piece of hardware you want to run it on has something like TPC, or for that matter any other means to enforce that the binary be recognized by said piece of hardware, you must provide the means to make this hardware recognize your modified version.

So what? This does NOT extend to ALL hardware, only to "User Products" (like TiVo). Specialized hardware is explicitly left out:

A "User Product" is either (1) a "consumer product", which means any tangible personal property which is normally used for personal, family, or household purposes, or (2) anything designed or sold for incorporation into a dwelling. In determining whether a product is a consumer product, doubtful cases shall be resolved in favor of coverage. For a particular product received by a particular user, "normally used" refers to a typical or common use of that class of product, regardless of the status of the particular user or of the way in which the particular user actually uses, or expects or is expected to use, the product. A product is a consumer product regardless of whether the product has substantial commercial, industrial or non-consumer uses, unless such uses represent the only significant mode of use of the product.

That will not prevent a piece of hardware for specialized use to require that only a certain binary run on said hardware (e-voting machines, anyone?)! So what's the deal?

Does GPL v3 GCC imply compiling issues? (2, Insightful)

KNicolson (147698) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953759)

I've not studied the details of GPL v3, but I believe there will no new restrictions of programs built with a v3'd GCC. For example, we can still built our TiVo-ised closed source DRMed patent-encumbered for sale software without fearing the wrath of RMS, or at least no additional rwrath from him.

Re:Does GPL v3 GCC imply compiling issues? (1)

baadger (764884) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953867)

My understanding is there has always been a clause in the licensing of GCC so that the small amount of GPL'd setup code compiled into C/C++ programs by the compiler doesn't 'infect' your application with the requirement to be released under the GPL. Of course it's a grey area, when turning C/C++ into assembly language there are going to assembly templates in GCC that are copied verbatim into your program.

The general consensus however is this doesn't effect your average user of GCC, only those developing proprietary extensions to it.

Re:Does GPL v3 GCC imply compiling issues? (2, Insightful)

Asmodai (13932) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954017)

With all due respect to the people hacking GCC, this is a grey area you do not want to worry about when compiling your code. Period.

Re:Does GPL v3 GCC imply compiling issues? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954117)

I always thought that glibc/startup code was LGPL for that very reason. LGPL allows you to link against otherwise "gpl'ed" code but without the restriction that your application becomes GPL'ed [or LGPL'ed] itself. If I'm not mistaken that even allows static linking.

Tom

Seen nothing of this. (4, Informative)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953763)

I follow the GCC list (you know, where all significant contributors hang around), and the only thing I've seen discussed is what should happen to the old branches when GCC goes GPLv3, and if the change should come with a version change. The thread starts here [gnu.org] .

Me thinks someone is on crack.

My problem with GPLv3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953765)

I think that FSF has mis-used the trust developers have placed on them with GPLv3, by making it incompatible.

[Please let me finish before you mod me down ;)]

If I had placed some code in GPLv2, and did not pay much attention to the 'or later' clause, what essentially has happened now is that my code is also licensed with a license (GPLv3) which I do not necessarily agree with. GPLv3 is incompatible with v2, so basically somebody can add GPLv3 code to the project and then you have two incompatible forks, with the v3 fork being able to use the v2 code, but not vice-versa.

You can argue that the spirit is the same for GPLv2 and GPLv3. But my counter-argument for this is that it is the same "spirit" which argues that LGPL is bad (and glibc better move to GPL) or that all proprietary software is immoral. Everyone who liked GPLv2 may not agree with these sentiments.

I'm with FSF on their fight against DRM and software patents, but I think going about this by this way and actually alienating it own moderate following, has hurt FSF's cause than strengthened it.

If FSF really wanted to take the moral high ground, they should have called the incompatible license SGPL or some other name, and asked the developers politely to move to SGPL as GPLv2 is flawed by their moral standards and SGPL is the solution.

Re:My problem with GPLv3 (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954149)

I think that FSF has mis-used the trust developers have placed on them with GPLv3, by making it incompatible.

If it was going to be compatible, it would have to be the exact same license.

One feature of GPL is that it claims that the entire program has to be distributed under whatever terms, with no additional restrictions. So if GPLv3 has less restrictions that GPLv2, v3 code wouldn't be allowed to be distributed under v2. If it had more restrictions, then v2 code wouldn't be allowed to be distributed under v3.

If I had placed some code in GPLv2, and did not pay much attention to the 'or later' clause, what essentially has happened now is that my code is also licensed with a license (GPLv3) which I do not necessarily agree with. GPLv3 is incompatible with v2, so basically somebody can add GPLv3 code to the project and then you have two incompatible forks, with the v3 fork being able to use the v2 code, but not vice-versa.

Yes. This is why you should pay attention to what you agree to.

You can argue that the spirit is the same for GPLv2 and GPLv3. But my counter-argument for this is that it is the same "spirit" which argues that LGPL is bad (and glibc better move to GPL) or that all proprietary software is immoral. Everyone who liked GPLv2 may not agree with these sentiments.

Yeah, the only "spirit" that stays the same between them is the spirit of the FSF. The spirit of a license necessarily must be contained entirely within that license, and the contents of v2 and v3 are very different (from "share and share alike" to "share, and you must share everything").

If FSF really wanted to take the moral high ground, they should have called the incompatible license SGPL or some other name, and asked the developers politely to move to SGPL as GPLv2 is flawed by their moral standards and SGPL is the solution.

They asked for people to use the "or any later version" clause specifically so they wouldn't have to do this. Using that clause or not is a judgement call, as to whether you trust the FSF with your license (personally, I don't).

GCC summit in Ottawa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953781)

The real news is actually the GCC summit [gccsummit.org] in Ottawa (17-20 july 2007). I was there and it was interesting.

why does anybody care? (1)

xophos (517934) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953797)

The only thing that even Linus didn't like about GPLv3 is the anti-tivoization section. Who would ship a devize that is locked down like tivo with gcc?

Re:why does anybody care? (2, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954053)

Well, a trick involving gcc has been used to work around the GPL in the past. The trick is this:

main.c:

#include stuff
#__INSERT__REAL__CODE__HERE

main(){
    call_real_code();
    exit 0;
}


The compiler is then hacked to insert the actual code which does the work where it sees #__INSERT__REAL__CODE__HERE, but this version of the compiler is never distributed.

Voila! You can distribute the above file under GPL and it doesn't do someone who wants to modify the code any good because they need your hacked version of the compiler. But you never distributed the compiler, so you're not obliged to distribute the changes you made.

I'm not sure this technique would be affected by GPLv3. You could still reveal "this is how you change the hardware to load any image rather than just the one we distribute" without revealing what your code actually was.

A no doubt stupid question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953825)

Why is this a problem? Can source which is under the GPL2 not be compiled using this program, which is free for all to use, and retain it's GPL2 status?

Call all /. lawers (or not) (3, Interesting)

inflex (123318) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953875)

I'm a single-person software business, I don't hold any patents, I release by far a majority of my code under the BSD revised licence.

I -do- however have a portion of code that I keep locked up for a commercial application, if I start using a GPL v3 GCC will I be putting myself into peril?

Incidently, I'm not in the US, but well... sort of, I'm in Australia, which is almost as good as another US state *sigh*.

Re:Call all /. lawers (or not) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953955)

I'll assume that was a blissful sigh :)

Re:Call all /. lawers (or not) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954039)

I -do- however have a portion of code that I keep locked up for a commercial application, if I start using a GPL v3 GCC will I be putting myself into peril?

Not at all. But if you stop updating GCC you may find you're no longer able to compile your code for modern platforms.

Re:Call all /. lawers (or not) (5, Informative)

kocsonya (141716) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954061)

> I -do- however have a portion of code that I keep locked up for a commercial application, if I start using a GPL v3 GCC will I be putting myself into peril?

No, you won't. You want to *use* gcc, not distribute it. The GPL explicitely states that it deals with the redistribution of the program and it puts no restriction on its use. If you want to distribute GCC itsels, then the GPL restricts you. If you distribute code compiled with GCC, the GPL has nothing to do with you.

> Incidently, I'm not in the US, but well... sort of, I'm in Australia, which is almost as good as another US state *sigh*.

It seems to me that in the civil rights/privacy/witch-hunt departments we're getting a lead on the mothership :-(

Re:Call all /. lawers (or not) (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954267)

>No, you won't. You want to *use* gcc, not distribute it. The GPL explicitely states that it deals with the redistribution of the program and it puts no restriction on its use. If you want to distribute GCC itsels, then the GPL restricts you. If you distribute code compiled with GCC, the GPL has nothing to do with you.

Great, that solves that then (since I won't be redistributing GCC at all, merely the binaries it generates).

>It seems to me that in the civil rights/privacy/witch-hunt departments we're getting a lead on the mothership :-(

Indeed. the whole Haneef situation, terrorist or not has been a colossal mess. Makes me somewhat happier to be living out here in the outback, not much though :\

A (Fruit) Fly in the Ointment? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19953903)

Since the advent of OS X Apple have made some not insignifacnt contributions to gcc as I'm sure IBM, Sun, HP, etc. have but Apple are to my knowledge to _only_ top tier hardware vendor that relies upon gcc as the core of its' OS build system.

Anyone care to speculate on how Apple might react to gcc going GPL3, perhaps they may actually fork it themselves...

Grumbling (3, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953907)

Some key contributors are grumbling over this change and have privately discussed a fork to stay as GPL v2.

References? The only grumblings I can see in the GCC mailing lists are about the version number change that accompanies the GPLv3 upgrade. A few developers feel that a license change is not a new feature so the first GPL version should be 4.2.2, not 4.3. And one developer who complains that not allowing backported patches to stay under GPLv2 will be a burdon to companies offering support for older versions (eg Novell, Xandros and Linspire).

Just my 2 cents (2, Interesting)

nrgy (835451) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953913)

I'm in the vfx industry and over the years I've picked up programming plugins for the applications I use. Now I don't use other peoples code because frankly I'm just doing math calculations and using the internals of the applications they are being coded for.

That being said all this GPL3, tivo this tivo that stuff is confusing the hell out of me. I release my plugins free to anyone using the applications they are designed for, I don't however release the source code. You can call me lazy all you want and generally I will agree you are correct, but this license mine field that I have to worry about when making my plugins on Linux is getting annoying to say the least. I work long enough days making the stuff you see on tv and the movies look pretty so I don't have time to go following up on all this license news.

Fault Windows all you want but the worries you have with licenses on Windows is slightly less then Linux, notice I SLIGHTLY easier. I'm halfway tempted to switch my development to a Mac and dump my Linux support to not worry about it ever again. This is pretty sad since I ENJOY Linux, I've been running nothing but Linux the past 5 years. I have better things to do then worry "Opps, shit did I link with something that requires I release the source".

Like I have said in all my previous posts I like Linux, I like it a lot, but I'm sorry to say I don't view the FSF as the best people representing Linux. This is just my very small insignificant opinion and I have no problem with others disagreeing, if things keep going the way they are though I might just have to start looking at another platform. And no I don't say this because I think people care whether I use linux or not, I say it because I DONT WANT TO USE ANYTHING ELSE.

Re:Just my 2 cents (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954065)

> I don't use other peoples code

Then you have no problem. If you link against a lib, check the license. Most libs are BSD or LGPL and permit linking without requiring you to release your source.

> I'm halfway tempted to switch my development to a Mac

What compiler do you think Apples XCode uses?

> if things keep going the way they are though I might just have to start looking at another platform.

I'm witness to the awesome power of FUD.

Re:Just my 2 cents (2, Interesting)

nrgy (835451) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954191)

> What compiler do you think Apples XCode uses?

My not knowning this is from my lack of knowledge with Apple so forgive me for not knowing. If I at some time do decide to switch platforms I will have to read up more about each one and the pro's and con's that each have.

> I'm witness to the awesome power of FUD.

This has nothing to do with FUD, am I wrong for disagreeing with the way the FSF is handling things as of late? Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and mine just so happens to be that if things keep going the way they are I may decide to look to other operating systems. Why would I stay with a community when I don't agree with the way they practice things?

It's not that I have a problem with OSS, I like the general idea of it and I applaud anyone that is part of the community, even I have released source code for a plugin that I created which used GPL source code. On my webiste www.nfxplugins.com you can download the package of plugins and you will see I have included the source for a plugin that used the Reihnhard04 method of tone mapping source code.

Re:Just my 2 cents (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954089)

The reason you don't have problems on Windows is you're either using a commercial compiler or one with a different license, right? What does that have to do with differences between Windows and Linux?
You have to keep track of the licenses of all libraries/tools you use on Windows as well.

In this case you're OK as long as you just use the compiler for compiling your code (linking against libc/libc++) as (from what I understand) only the compiler will be put under GPL3.

If you want to use freely available libraries/tools you have to accept their license, otherwise just don't use it, simple really.

Re:Just my 2 cents (5, Informative)

tokul (682258) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954211)

Fault Windows all you want but the worries you have with licenses on Windows is slightly less then Linux, notice I SLIGHTLY easier. I'm halfway tempted to switch my development to a Mac and dump my Linux support to not worry about it ever again. This is pretty sad since I ENJOY Linux, I've been running nothing but Linux the past 5 years. I have better things to do then worry "Opps, shit did I link with something that requires I release the source".
Then don't use GPL-licensed code in your proprietary software. If you use third party code, you don't own it and you must check copyrights. With GPL you must follow copyright laws or you must follow GPL. Without GPL you still must follow copyright laws.

Like I have said in all my previous posts I like Linux, I like it a lot, but I'm sorry to say I don't view the FSF as the best people representing Linux.

First F in FSF stands for Free. Your proprietary software is not free.

Even if you don't like GPL, you still can use Linux. You only can't distribute Linux with your proprietary modifications.

Who is disagreeing with the license change? (1)

kune (63504) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953923)

I have just looked at the GCC mailing list. There is some discussion how to make the change the best way and what happens to backports. But I have to see now a message, which explicitly states, that he will fork GCC. I think this is overblown.

Patent protection + internationalisation = good (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953943)

C'mon. v3 gives more patent protection to developers and it is written in more internationalised language. It's hard to see what people could complain about in terms of GCC.

WTF - claim of fork has no substance (2, Insightful)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19953951)

I just read the linked-to email and found no mention of grumbling developers talking about forks.

On what grounds did Slashdot say this is true???

Forking ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954193)

Some key contributors are grumbling over this change and have privately discussed a fork to stay as GPL v2.
Where are your sources for this FUD slashdot?

I seem to recall... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#19954199)

Didn't there used to be a cc at one point distributed under the BSD license? What ever happened to that, anyway?

Do7l (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19954255)

is dying and its Superior to slow, paper towels, BSD machines Discussion I'm the reaper BSD's About a project Slashdot 'BSD is end, we need you is wiped off and
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