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From: "Jeff V. Merkey" <jmer...@wolfmountaingroup.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: GPL V3 and Linux
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 19:40:13 +0100
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Cudos to Stallman, The patent retaliation clause is exactly what has 
been missing.  The inclusion of custom binaries was a little vague, but
the net of it is that the end user can combine the separate parts, and 
have the freedom to do so given the GPL3 terms.  Any concensus on 
whether Linux will move to GPL3?   I support adoption and congrats to 
Stallman -- A++++.

Jeff
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From: Stephen Hemminger <shemmin...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 20:20:07 +0100
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On Fri, 20 Jan 2006 09:49:44 -0700
"Jeff V. Merkey" <jmer...@wolfmountaingroup.com> wrote:

> Cudos to Stallman, The patent retaliation clause is exactly what has 
> been missing.  The inclusion of custom binaries was a little vague, but
> the net of it is that the end user can combine the separate parts, and 
> have the freedom to do so given the GPL3 terms.  Any concensus on 
> whether Linux will move to GPL3?   

No consensus exists, and it would require agreement from all the copyright
holders.

-- 
Stephen Hemminger <shemmin...@osdl.org>
OSDL http://developer.osdl.org/~shemminger
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From: Patrick McLean <pmcl...@cs.ubishops.ca>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 20:40:19 +0100
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Stephen Hemminger wrote:
> On Fri, 20 Jan 2006 09:49:44 -0700
> "Jeff V. Merkey" <jmer...@wolfmountaingroup.com> wrote:
> 
>> Cudos to Stallman, The patent retaliation clause is exactly what has 
>> been missing.  The inclusion of custom binaries was a little vague, but
>> the net of it is that the end user can combine the separate parts, and 
>> have the freedom to do so given the GPL3 terms.  Any concensus on 
>> whether Linux will move to GPL3?   
> 
> No consensus exists, and it would require agreement from all the copyright
> holders.
> 

I don't think the kernel is going to move to v3, it's licensed 
specifically as v2, this is from the top of COPYING:

 >  Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
 >  is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
 >  v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

Also, given that several of the copyright holders in the kernel are 
dead, I don't think we will be able to obtain permission.

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From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 2006 20:51:01 +0100
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On Gwe, 2006-01-20 at 14:34 -0500, Patrick McLean wrote:
> I don't think the kernel is going to move to v3, it's licensed 
> specifically as v2, this is from the top of COPYING:

It may well do, or bits of it may well do but it is rather early to
speculate.

>  >  Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
>  >  is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
>  >  v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.
> 
> Also, given that several of the copyright holders in the kernel are 
> dead, I don't think we will be able to obtain permission.

It isn't clear that this will be a problem. Very few people specifically
put their code v2 only, and Linus edit of the top copying file was not
done with permission of other copyright holders anyway so really only
affects his code if it is valid at all.

What finally happens is going to depend almost entirely on whether the
GPL v3 is a sane license or not and on consensus, and it is *way* too
early to figure that out.

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From: Marc Perkel <m...@perkel.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 19:50:07 +0100
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Patrick McLean wrote:
> Stephen Hemminger wrote:
>
>
> Also, given that several of the copyright holders in the kernel are 
> dead, I don't think we will be able to obtain permission.
>
>

Makes me wonder if something should be done to address the issue of dead 
copyright holders. Not sure what but maybe there should be a clause in 
GPL3 addressing that?

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From: "Jeff V. Merkey" <jmer...@wolfmountaingroup.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 20:10:14 +0100
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Marc Perkel wrote:

>
>
> Patrick McLean wrote:
>
>> Stephen Hemminger wrote:
>>
>>
>> Also, given that several of the copyright holders in the kernel are 
>> dead, I don't think we will be able to obtain permission.
>>
>>
>
> Makes me wonder if something should be done to address the issue of 
> dead copyright holders. Not sure what but maybe there should be a 
> clause in GPL3 addressing that?


Their heirs would have two years to bring a cause of action if they 
object.  Proper notice could be served by posting a notice on the 
internet at kernel.org
that their code is being redistributed under GPL3.  I note that the 
general notice in the code states "GPL2 or any later version of the 
license".  Given this
language, it is highly likely the remaining code can proceed under a new 
license without incident since it can be assumed they already agreed by
having this general notice posted at kernel.org for many years.   I 
think the point is moot.  Legally, there is exposure if their successors 
or owners
of their estates bring action.  Those outside the US would of course be 
subject to the laws of their jurisdiction.  An attorney at FSF needs to 
review their
code and render an opinion, but I think it will not be a problem.

Jeff

>
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From: "Jeff V. Merkey" <jmer...@wolfmountaingroup.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 20:20:16 +0100
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>> Makes me wonder if something should be done to address the issue of 
>> dead copyright holders. Not sure what but maybe there should be a 
>> clause in GPL3 addressing that?
>
>
>
> Their heirs would have two years to bring a cause of action if they 
> object.  Proper notice could be served by posting a notice on the 
> internet at kernel.org
> that their code is being redistributed under GPL3.  I note that the 
> general notice in the code states "GPL2 or any later version of the 
> license".  Given this
> language, it is highly likely the remaining code can proceed under a 
> new license without incident since it can be assumed they already 
> agreed by
> having this general notice posted at kernel.org for many years.   I 
> think the point is moot.  Legally, there is exposure if their 
> successors or owners
> of their estates bring action.  Those outside the US would of course 
> be subject to the laws of their jurisdiction.  An attorney at FSF 
> needs to review their
> code and render an opinion, but I think it will not be a problem.
>
> Jeff
>
>>
NOTE:  Under the Doctrine of Esstopel, if you proceed on this basis and 
two years pass without their heirs bringing an action of some sort, then 
under this
legal doctrine, the rights to use their code under GPLv3 would in all 
probability pass consitutional muster.  Again, someone needs to run this 
by an attorney at the FSF and get a formal legal opinion rendered.  The 
Doctrine of Esstopel basically says that if you use something for some 
period of time, and no one
objects, then you obtain certain rights to use it permenantly.  Not 
wanting to disrespect the wishes of the dead, I would attempt to contact 
the successors of
their estates in any event and obtain permission, and if not possible, 
then proceed.

Jeff
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From: Marc Perkel <m...@perkel.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 20:30:11 +0100
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Jeff V. Merkey wrote:
>
>>> Makes me wonder if something should be done to address the issue of 
>>> dead copyright holders. Not sure what but maybe there should be a 
>>> clause in GPL3 addressing that?
>>
>>
>>
>> Their heirs would have two years to bring a cause of action if they 
>> object.  Proper notice could be served by posting a notice on the 
>> internet at kernel.org
>> that their code is being redistributed under GPL3.  I note that the 
>> general notice in the code states "GPL2 or any later version of the 
>> license".  Given this
>> language, it is highly likely the remaining code can proceed under a 
>> new license without incident since it can be assumed they already 
>> agreed by
>> having this general notice posted at kernel.org for many years.   I 
>> think the point is moot.  Legally, there is exposure if their 
>> successors or owners
>> of their estates bring action.  Those outside the US would of course 
>> be subject to the laws of their jurisdiction.  An attorney at FSF 
>> needs to review their
>> code and render an opinion, but I think it will not be a problem.
>>
>> Jeff
>>
>>>
> NOTE:  Under the Doctrine of Esstopel, if you proceed on this basis 
> and two years pass without their heirs bringing an action of some 
> sort, then under this
> legal doctrine, the rights to use their code under GPLv3 would in all 
> probability pass consitutional muster.  Again, someone needs to run 
> this by an attorney at the FSF and get a formal legal opinion 
> rendered.  The Doctrine of Esstopel basically says that if you use 
> something for some period of time, and no one
> objects, then you obtain certain rights to use it permenantly.  Not 
> wanting to disrespect the wishes of the dead, I would attempt to 
> contact the successors of
> their estates in any event and obtain permission, and if not possible, 
> then proceed.
>
> Jeff

Is it possible to have Linux be mostly GPL3 with parts of it GPL2? Or is 
that just too insane to deal with?

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From: Kyle Moffett <mrmacman...@mac.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 21:00:11 +0100
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On Jan 25, 2006, at 14:24:13, Marc Perkel wrote:
> Is it possible to have Linux be mostly GPL3 with parts of it GPL2?  
> Or is that just too insane to deal with?

Well given that parts of the kernel are GPLv2-only, other parts are  
GPLv2+, other parts are GPL/BSD, etc, I can't see how somebody using  
a GPLv3-only or GPLv3+ license for some other part would be  
problematic.  If anything, the multiple licensing provides additional  
code protection; we get the advantages of all the licenses, but if  
any one license is found to be invalid, it does not break the  
protection of the body of code itself.

Cheers,
Kyle Moffett

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From: "linux-os \(Dick Johnson\)" <linux...@analogic.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 21:50:16 +0100
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On Wed, 25 Jan 2006, Kyle Moffett wrote:

> On Jan 25, 2006, at 14:24:13, Marc Perkel wrote:
>> Is it possible to have Linux be mostly GPL3 with parts of it GPL2?
>> Or is that just too insane to deal with?
>
> Well given that parts of the kernel are GPLv2-only, other parts are
> GPLv2+, other parts are GPL/BSD, etc, I can't see how somebody using
> a GPLv3-only or GPLv3+ license for some other part would be
> problematic.  If anything, the multiple licensing provides additional
> code protection; we get the advantages of all the licenses, but if
> any one license is found to be invalid, it does not break the
> protection of the body of code itself.
>
> Cheers,
> Kyle Moffett
>

The original GPL said something about:
"You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
exercise of the rights granted herein." (Section 6).
Then, that __exact__ code was redistributed under Version 2
which further restricted rights, then additional versions
which further restricted rights. Now you are planning to
add additional restrictions? I don't think the present
so-called license would pass muster in any sane court in
the United States after the original licensed code was
plagiarized into a new binding license.

Simple test. Pretend the code was a music chart. Music
charts have been copyrighted since the start of the
copyright office. You write some music and, in its
copyright notice, you license anybody to use it as
long as they don't claim that they wrote it. Then
some licensing agency comes along and writes a new
license, effectively claiming ownership by claiming
control (the legal word is conversion). Do you think
for a moment that any court of law would uphold the
new license?

All of Linux has undergone such a conversion and it is
effectively owned by the "Free Software Foundation, Inc."
Of course RMS didn't tell you this when he appropriated
it, but it's done.

If code was written to be distributed under a certain
set of rules, just like sheet-music, nobody but the
writer or his assigns is allowed to change those
distribution rules at a later date. If those rules
are changed, they are invalid, i.e., unenforceable.

You want new rules, you rewrite the kernel from scratch
under the new rules and, you must not produce a derived
work (which has many meanings) in the process or the
new license is unenforceable as well.


Cheers,
Dick Johnson
Penguin : Linux version 2.6.13.4 on an i686 machine (5589.66 BogoMips).
Warning : 98.36% of all statistics are fiction.
.

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From: Chase Venters <chase.vent...@clientec.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 22:30:19 +0100
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On Wed, 25 Jan 2006, linux-os \(Dick Johnson\) wrote:
>
> The original GPL said something about:
> "You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients'
> exercise of the rights granted herein." (Section 6).
> Then, that __exact__ code was redistributed under Version 2
> which further restricted rights, then additional versions
> which further restricted rights. Now you are planning to
> add additional restrictions? I don't think the present
> so-called license would pass muster in any sane court in
> the United States after the original licensed code was
> plagiarized into a new binding license.
>

Try doing your homework. GPL v1 says:

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

This means that when the code went GPL v1 -> GPL v2, the transition was 
permissible. Linux v1.0 shipped with the GPL v2. It did not ship with a
separate clause specifying that "You may only use *this* version of the GPL"
as it now does. (I haven't done any research to find out when this clause 
was added, but it was after the transition to v2).

I'm not sure what you're trying to imply about "conversion" or FSF 
"owning" Linux. Choosing to release your software under the GPL, even when 
the GPL is authored by a third party, does not make said third party the 
copyright owner of your work.

If a migration to v3 were to occur, the only potential hairball I see is 
if someone objected on the grounds that they contributed code to a version 
of the kernel Linus had marked as "GPLv2 Only". IANAL.

- Chase
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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 23:50:16 +0100
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On Wed, 25 Jan 2006, Chase Venters wrote:
> 
> This means that when the code went GPL v1 -> GPL v2, the transition was
> permissible. Linux v1.0 shipped with the GPL v2. It did not ship with a
> separate clause specifying that "You may only use *this* version of the GPL"
> as it now does. (I haven't done any research to find out when this clause was
> added, but it was after the transition to v2).

Bzzt. Look closer.

The Linux kernel has _always_ been under the GPL v2. Nothing else has ever 
been valid.

The "version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version" 
language in the GPL copying file is not - and has never been - part of the 
actual License itself. It's part of the _explanatory_ text that talks 
about how to apply the license to your program, and it says that _if_ you 
want to accept any later versions of the GPL, you can state so in your 
source code.

The Linux kernel has never stated that in general. Some authors have 
chosen to use the suggested FSF boilerplate (including the "any later 
version" language), but the kernel in general never has.

In other words: the _default_ license strategy is always just the 
particular version of the GPL that accompanies a project. If you want to 
license a program under _any_ later version of the GPL, you have to state 
so explicitly. Linux never did.

So: the extra blurb at the top of the COPYING file in the kernel source 
tree was added not to _change_ the license, but to _clarify_ these points 
so that there wouldn't be any confusion. 

The Linux kernel is under the GPL version 2. Not anything else. Some 
individual files are licenceable under v3, but not the kernel in general. 

And quite frankly, I don't see that changing. I think it's insane to 
require people to make their private signing keys available, for example. 
I wouldn't do it. So I don't think the GPL v3 conversion is going to 
happen for the kernel, since I personally don't want to convert any of my 
code. 

> If a migration to v3 were to occur, the only potential hairball I see is if
> someone objected on the grounds that they contributed code to a version of the
> kernel Linus had marked as "GPLv2 Only". IANAL.

No. You think "v2 or later" is the default. It's not. The _default_ is to 
not allow conversion.

Conversion isn't going to happen.

		Linus
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From: Marc Perkel <m...@perkel.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 23:20:16 +0100
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Linus Torvalds wrote:
> No. You think "v2 or later" is the default. It's not. The _default_ is to 
> not allow conversion.
>
> Conversion isn't going to happen.
>
> 		Linus
>
>   
Just for clarification. What you are saying is that anyone who insists 
on contributing to the kernel under GPLv3 - that code would be 
prohibited from being included in the kernel? That to contribute to the 
kernel you must contribute under the terms presently in place?

I'm just asking for clarification.

I don't have a GPLv3 opinion yet since it's a changing document. But I 
do see a need for a consistent licensing of the components of Linux to 
avoid confusion and I'm worried that if any GPLv3 gets in then it will 
be all GPLv3 so you would have to prohibity that if you are going to 
stop Linux from becoming GPLv3 by default.

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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 02:40:09 +0100
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On Thu, 26 Jan 2006, Marc Perkel wrote:
>
> Just for clarification. What you are saying is that anyone who insists on
> contributing to the kernel under GPLv3 - that code would be prohibited from
> being included in the kernel? That to contribute to the kernel you must
> contribute under the terms presently in place?

No. We actually have a lot of code that is more widely licensed than just 
GPLv2. There's the GPL/BSD code, and there's a lot of files that have the 
".. or any later version" addendum which means that they are GPLv3 
compatible.

The only thing that the kernel requires is that since the majority of the 
code is actually GPLv2-only, that in order for you to be able to link with 
the code, your license has to be GPLv2-compatible.

A "GPLv3 _only_" license is not compatible with GPLv2, since v3 adds new 
limitations to re-distribution. But what you can do is to dual-license the 
code - the same way we've had GPL/BSD dual licenses. Of course, that 
effectively becomes the same as "GPLv2" with the "any later version" 
clause, but if you like the v3 in _particular_, you can actually mention 
it specifically (ie you can dual-license under "v2 _or_ v3", but without 
the "any later version" wording if you want).

Note that the Linux kernel has had the clarification that the "by default, 
we're version-2 _only_" for a long time, and that limitation is not a new 
thing.

You can argue that I should have made that clear on "Day 1" (back in 1992, 
when the original switch to the GPL happened), but the fact is, all of the 
development for the last five or more years has been done with that "v2 
only, unless otherwise stated" (I forget exactly when it happened, but it 
was before we even started using BK, so it's a loong time ago).

Also, this has been discussed before, and anybody who felt that they 
didn't want to have the "v2 only" limitation has been told to add the "or 
any later version" thing to their own code, so nobody can claim that I 
restricted their licensing. 

So to recap:

 - Linux has been v2-only for a _loong_ time, long before there was even 
   any choice of licenses. That explicit "v2 only" thing was there at 
   least for 2.4.0, which is more than five years ago. So this is not some 
   sudden reaction to the current release of GPLv3. This has been there 
   quite _independently_ of the current GPLv3 discussion.

 - if you disagree with code you write, you can (and always have been 
   able) to say so, and dual-license in many different ways, including 
   using the "or later version" language. But that doesn't change the fact 
   that others (a _lot_ of others) have been very much aware of the "v2 
   only" rule for the kernel, and that most of the Linux kernel sources 
   are under that rule.

 - People argue that Linux hasn't specified a version, and that by virtue 
   of paragraph 9, you'd be able to choose any version you like. I 
   disagree. Linux has always specified the version: I don't put the 
   license in the source code, the source code just says

	Copyright (C) 1991-2002 Linux Torvalds

   and the license is in the COPYING file, which has ALWAYS been v2. Even 
   before (for clarification reasons) it explicitly said so.

   In other words, that "if no version is mentioned" simply isn't even an 
   argument. That's like arguing that "if no license is mentioned, it's 
   under any license you want", which is crap. If no license is mentioned, 
   you don't have any license at all to use it. The license AND VERSION 
   has always been very much explicit: linux/COPYING has been there since 
   1992, and it's been the _version_2_ of the license since day 1.

   People can argue against that any way they like. In the end, the only 
   way you can _really_ argue against it is in court. Last I saw, 
   intentions mattered more than any legalistic sophistry. The fact that 
   Linux has been distributed with a specific version of the GPL is a big 
   damn clue, and the fact that I have made my intentions very clear over 
   several years is another HUGE clue.

 - I don't see any real upsides to GPLv3, and I do see potential 
   downsides. Things that have been valid under v2 are no longer valid 
   under v3, so changing the license has real downsides.

Quite frankly, _if_ we ever change to GPLv3, it's going to be because 
somebody convinces me and other copyright holders to add the "or any later 
license" to all files, just because v3 really is so much better. It 
doesn't seem likely, but hey, if somebody shows that the GPLv2 is 
unconsitutional (hah!), maybe something like that happens. 

So I'm not _entirely_ dismissing an upgrade, but quite frankly, to upgrade 
would be a huge issue. Not just I, but others that have worked on Linux 
over the last five to ten years would have to agree on it. In contrast, 
staying with GPLv2 is a no-brainer: we've used it for almost 15 years, and 
it's worked fine, and nobody needs any convincing.

And that really is a big issue: GPLv2 is a perfectly fine license. It has 
worked well for us for fourteen years, nothing really changed with the 
introduction of GPLv3. The fact that there is a newer license to choose 
from doesn't detract from the older ones.

			Linus
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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 03:10:05 +0100
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On Fri, 27 Jan 2006, Alan Cox wrote:

> On Mer, 2006-01-25 at 17:39 -0500, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > In other words: the _default_ license strategy is always just the 
> > particular version of the GPL that accompanies a project. If you want to 
> > license a program under _any_ later version of the GPL, you have to state 
> > so explicitly. Linux never did.
> 
> Not correct. See section 9.

Sorry, I think you're wrong.

We've _always_ said which license explicitly. It's in the COPYING file.

Even before the clarification, the COPYING file has always said 


                    GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
                       Version 2, June 1991

 Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
                       51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301  USA
 Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
	...

at the very top.

How can you say that we didn't specify a version?

If you distribute a program, and you just say "I license this under the 
GPL", THEN you don't specify a verion.

But if you distribute a program, and the ONLY license that is associated 
with it is a specific version of a license file, then that's what you 
have, UNLESS SOMETHING SAYS OTHERWISE.

This is basic copyright law, btw, and has nothing to do with the GPL per 
se. If you don't have a license, you don't have any copyright AT ALL.

Linux kernel files don't say "This is licensed under the GPL". Not mine, 
at least. I don't see the point, and I never have. There's a COPYING file 
that specifies what the license is, and that COPYING file very much 
specifies a very _specific_ version of the GPL. Always has.

		Linus
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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: fa.linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
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To: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
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On Fri, 27 Jan 2006, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> 
> This is basic copyright law, btw, and has nothing to do with the GPL per 
> se. If you don't have a license, you don't have any copyright AT ALL.

This is really important, btw.

Yes, when we speak colloquially we talk about the fact that Linux is 
licensed "under the GPL", but that is _not_ how anybody actually has ever 
gotten a license legally. The ONLY way anybody has ever legally licensed 
Linux is either with the original very strict copyright _or_ thanks to the 
COPYING file. Nothing else really matters. 

So the version of the GPL has always been explicit. At no point has the 
kernel been distributed without a specific version being clearly mentioned 
in the ONLY PLACE that gave you rights to copy the kernel in the first 
place. So either you knew it was GPLv2, or you didn't have the right to 
copy it in the first place.

In other words, Linux has _never_ been licensed under anything but the GPL 
v2, and nobody has _ever_ gotten a legal Linux source distribution with 
anything but a complete copy of GPLv2 license file.

So when I say that the additions at the top of the COPYING file are 
nothing but clarifications, I'm not just making that up. Anybody who 
claims that any Linux kernel I've ever made has ever been licensed under 
anything else than those exact two licenses is just not correct.

And Alan, I know we've had this discussion before. You've claimed before 
that my clarifications are somehow "changing" the license, and I've told 
you before that no, they don't change the license, they just clarify 
things that people keep on gettign wrong, or keep on being nervous about.

So people can argue all they want about this. But unless you get a real 
legal opinion (not just any random shyster - a real judge making a 
statement, or a respected professional who states his firm legal opinion 
in no uncertain terms), I don't think you have a legal leg to stand on.

But no, IANAL. I'd be willing to bet real money that a real lawyer would 
back me up on this, though.

			Linus

---

PS. Just out of historical interest, the only other copyright license ever 
distributed with the kernel was this one:

 "This kernel is (C) 1991 Linus Torvalds, but all or part of it may be
  redistributed provided you do the following:

	- Full source must be available (and free), if not with the
	  distribution then at least on asking for it.

	- Copyright notices must be intact. (In fact, if you distribute
	  only parts of it you may have to add copyrights, as there aren't
	  (C)'s in all files.) Small partial excerpts may be copied
	  without bothering with copyrights.

	- You may not distibute this for a fee, not even "handling"
	  costs.

  Mail me at "torva...@kruuna.helsinki.fi" if you have any questions."

and that one was only valid between kernel versions 0.01 and 0.12 or 
something like that.
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From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006 12:30:18 +0100
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On Gwe, 2006-01-27 at 21:06 -0500, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> > Not correct. See section 9.
> 
> Sorry, I think you're wrong.
> 
> We've _always_ said which license explicitly. It's in the COPYING file.
> 
> Even before the clarification, the COPYING file has always said 
> 
> 
>                     GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE
>                        Version 2, June 1991


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

"COPYING" is the license not the program. If it were the program you
would be violating the GPL as the GPL license text is not itself GPL
compatible. It is also not a statement of the version of the software
but a statement of the version of the document itself. Both seem quite
self evident and clear. Since the document itself provides choices for
versions to be applied it cannot be said to imply a version either.

Nowdays you specifically state version 2 then reproduce the license
document. That likewise seems self evident and clear. Section 9 probably
gives you the right to do that for any code that did not specify a
version rule already.

You might also want to ask "if the FSF COPYING text specified the
program version as you claim then how would you specify versions
differently". And likewise "How come the FSF itself, author of the
license, distributes its default COPYING file with code clearly intended
and marked to be GPL v2 or later".

In short your interpretation of the past state of affairs would not
stand up to scrutiny.

> If you distribute a program, and you just say "I license this under the 
> GPL", THEN you don't specify a verion.

And merely adding the copying file likewise is still not specifying a
version. You may be *implying* one but that is not specifying.

> Linux kernel files don't say "This is licensed under the GPL". Not mine, 
> at least. I don't see the point, and I never have. There's a COPYING file 

The point is to avoid ambiguity. Consider the statement in clause 2

--
In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program
with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of
a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under
the scope of this License.
--

The COPYING file is mere aggregation - it is a seperately licensed and
independant work to the program with incompatible conditions. In the
kernel case this does not matter as you included text with COPYING to
make the intent clear, and there is no doubt, nor alternate licenses.

Consider however taking BSD 2 clause licensed code and relicensing it
GPL with changes. If the GPL was merely placed with the code it would
not be clear that the GPL now applied to it, especially if there are
other independant GPL programs in the same archive. The advice text with
the GPL itself thus provides for the 'fail safe' worst case scenario
rather than neccessarily addressing all cases in the minimal and neatest
fashion. Lawyers dislike amibguity because it causes expensive problems
later on.

(Also historically an assertion of copyright was neccessary avoid being
public domain in the USA and some other countries.)

Alan

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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 19:00:12 +0100
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On Mon, 30 Jan 2006, Alan Cox wrote:
>
> You might also want to ask "if the FSF COPYING text specified the
> program version as you claim then how would you specify versions
> differently". And likewise "How come the FSF itself, author of the
> license, distributes its default COPYING file with code clearly intended
> and marked to be GPL v2 or later".

Alan, you're weasel-wording, and making up arguments that aren't valid.

You can avoid specifying a particular version of the GPL by just saying 
"This project is distributed under the GPL" and pointing to the FSF. Not 
everybody necessarily even includes the LICENSE file.

Please realize that the kernel is one of the largest open-source projects 
in the world, if not _the_ largest. Most projects are much much smaller. 
Many projects are very ad-hoc, and not all of them have necessarily been 
all that careful with adding LICENSE files etc.

As to your "FSF itself" argument, the code the FSF distributes obviously 
_has_ to state "GPL v2 or later" exactly because they want the "or later" 
thing to be effective.

Their suggestions very much is to include the GPL license in its entirety 
_and_ to say "GPL v2 or later" in the files, exactly because they need to 
_expand_ the license from just the one in the license file (ie the "or 
later" part is essentially an open-ended dual license).

None of your arguments in any way argue that Linux wouldn't be GPLv2.

> In short your interpretation of the past state of affairs would not
> stand up to scrutiny.

You can claim anything you like. I think you're wrong. But in the 
meantime, that doesn't matter. If it ever goes to court, you'll see what a 
real judge will claim.

My bet is that my interpretation is the only sane one. 

> The COPYING file is mere aggregation - it is a seperately licensed and
> independant work to the program with incompatible conditions.

The fact that the COPYING file has a different copyright really doesn't 
matter. It's still part of the release. 

It's absolutely not different from having a separate "Release notes" file 
which specifies the copyright conditions. That's how Linux-0.01 did it: 
the thing was outside the actual main tar-ball, and sent out both as part 
of the announcemnt and as a separate file in the same directory on the 
ftp-site.

Yes, it may be "mere aggregation", but that has absolutely _zero_ impact 
on my argument. It's the only license you have to copy Linux, and it very 
much has an EXPLICIT VERSION. Namely version 2.

At no time has Linux ever been distributed without the version of the GPL 
that it is distributed under being in any question at all. THAT is my 
argument. 

And as said - you can argue against it as much as you damn well please. I 
simply don't care. I think you are very obviously wrong, but hey, in the 
end that doesn't matter either. Take it to a judge. Arguing it to me or to 
the public has absolutely zero relevance.

And regardless of what you argue, for the last 5 years there has been the 
explicit explanatory note. And you can't claim that people didn't know 
about it: if I remember correctly, you yourself sent updates to some of 
the files you felt you had copyright on to add the ".. or any later 
version" verbiage when I suggested people do so.

So why are you even arguing? It is an UNDENIABLE FACT that a noticeable 
portion of the Linux kernel is version-2 only. You'd have to do a lot of 
work if you wanted to re-license it - and the burden of proof is on _you_ 
to do so, not on me. Keeping the old license is the _only_ case that 
obviously needs no proof at all, since regardless of circumstances, it's 
always safe.

The fact is, the kernel is not licenseable under GPLv3 without tons of 
work. Work that I'm not in the least interested in doing, or even helping 
with. If you want to start such an effort, I'd suggest:

 - spend hours and hours of your time talking to your lawyers, trying to 
   convince them that your argument has any merit at all. I doubt you'll 
   be able to do that.

 - than start from the state 5 years ago.

Btw, at least in the US, intent actually matters. The fact that I've made 
it clear that my _intent_ was always GPLv2 (and I've been very consistent 
on this) together with the fact that people have accepted the addendum to 
the COPYING file actually _does_ have legal meaning. 

Weasel-wording and trying to work around the fact that the version has 
always been explicitly mentioned is not a way to make a legal argument. 

Yet that's really all your argument boils down to.

I can make very specific arguments for why version 2 ONLY is the specific 
license that covers Linux. In contrast you can only make weasel-wording 
"but you _could_ misunderstand it to mean xyzzy" kind of noises. That 
should tell you something.

			Linus
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From: "Jeff V. Merkey" <jmer...@wolfmountaingroup.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 19:20:05 +0100
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>>In short your interpretation of the past state of affairs would not
>>stand up to scrutiny.
>>    
>>
>
>You can claim anything you like. I think you're wrong. But in the 
>meantime, that doesn't matter. If it ever goes to court, you'll see what a 
>real judge will claim.
>
>My bet is that my interpretation is the only sane one. 
>
>  
>
And how many times have you actually stood in front of a Judge over IP 
and contract issues?
The language "GPLv2 or any later version" is what it is. You can change 
it moving forward, but
you cannot undo the past. You put this language in there and IT WAS WHAT 
YOU MEANT AT THE
TIME. Trying to alter that would most likely result in a finding you are 
acting in bad faith.

Anyway, I am not religious on it, v2 or v3 I don't care, but I like v3 
and I am moving my stuff to it. It's a
good idea.

Anyway, good luck figuring it out Linus. You should listen to Alan -- 
he's right and is trying to help you.

:-)

Jeff
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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 20:10:09 +0100
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Jeff V. Merkey wrote:
>
> And how many times have you actually stood in front of a Judge over IP and
> contract issues?

Well, at least I know what I'm talking about.

> The language "GPLv2 or any later version" is what it is. You can change 
> it moving forward, but you cannot undo the past. You put this language 
> in there and IT WAS WHAT YOU MEANT AT THE TIME. Trying to alter that 
> would most likely result in a finding you are acting in bad faith.

I did _not_ put that language in, which is the whole point.

That language is in almost all GPL-licensed projects _except_ for Linux. 
It's in the FSF guidelines for what they _suggest_ people will do when 
they license something under the GPL. It's in all the FSF projects, 
obviously, and a lot of other GPL'd projects have also just mindlessly 
copied the FSF-suggested boilerplate.

Linux never did. Linux has _never_ had the "v2 or later" license wording 
in general. Go take a look. The kernel on the whole tends to not mention 
licenses in the individual files, preferring to instead rely on the 
external COPYING file that it is distributed with. That's very much on 
purpose: I personally _hate_ seeing a screenful of crapola that adds 
nothing over and over again.

In short, apart from the very early code in 1991 and early -92 (versions 
0.01 through 0.12), Linux has been licensed with _only_ the GPLv2 license 
file, and normally no mention of "v2 or later" in the actual sources.

And the way copyrights work, you have only as many rights as explicitly 
granted to you, so nobody has _ever_ had rights to re-license Linux under 
any other license than the one it came with: namely the GPLv2. Alan is 
trying to argue that the fact that it has been licensed under the GPLv2 
would somehow "magically" mean that it has been licensed under any version 
of GPL that you can pick, BUT THAT IS AN OBVIOUSLY LEGALLY FLAWED 
ARGUMENT.

It is so obviously flawed that I'm surprised he continues to argue it. 
There has _never_ been anything that says "any version of the GPL", or 
indeed just "the GPL" without any version. The version has _always_ been 
explicit: the kernel comes with the GPLv2 and no other version. If you 
don't accept the COPYING file as the license, then you had no license AT 
ALL to distribute Linux under.

So you have one choice, and once choice ONLY: accept the GPLv2 (as 
reproduced in COPYING) or don't accept the license at all. The option 
that Alan seems to want to do is "I'll take just the word 'GPL' from the 
COPYING file, and then stick to that" has simply never been an option.

Now, I can't stop Alan making stupid arguments. People can argue anything 
they damn well please, whether it makes sense or not. As SCO has shows us, 
people can argue crap for years, even in front of a judge, without any 
actual fact or paper to stand on.

And that is what Alan does. He tries to argue that the kernel has somehow 
magically been released under "the GPL" (without version specifier), even 
though the only license that it was ever released under (apart from the 
original non-GPL made-up-by-yours-truly license) very explicitly says 
which version it is, in big letters at the very top.

The fact that I made it even _more_ obvious five years ago by adding a 
further explanatory notice doesn't change anything at all, except make it 
more obvious.

Alan - talk to a lawyer. Really. Show him this email thread and my 
arguments, and ask him what he believes. I bet you can get a lawyer to 
argue your case if you _pay_ him (lawyers are whores - they are paid to 
argue for their client, not for the law), but ask him what he honestly 
thinks a judge would rule. THEN come back to me.

Because let's face it, the burden on proof on changing the kernel license 
is on _Alan_, not me. Alan is the one arguing for change. 

Now, some individual files in the kernel are dual-licensed. Some of them 
are dual-licensed with a BSD-license, others are "v2 or later version". 
The latter is by no means uncommon, but it's definitely in the minority. 
Just to give you an idea:

    [torvalds@g5 linux]$ git-ls-files '*.c' | wc -l
    7978
    [torvalds@g5 linux]$ git grep -l "any later version" '*.c' | wc -l
    2720
    [torvalds@g5 linux]$ git grep -l "Redistributions in binary form must" '*.c' | wc -l
    230

ie of the C files, only about a third have the "any later version" 
verbiage needed to be able to convert GPL v2 to v3 (and a small minority 
look like they are dual-BSD licensed - I didn't know exactly what to grep 
for, so I just picked a part of the normal BSD license, but they can 
probably also be converted to GPLv3 thanks to the BSD license being a 
strictly less restrictive license).

(I picked just the '*.c' files because that seemed fairer. If you could 
_all_ files, the "any later version" percentage drops even further).

			Linus
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From: "Jeff V. Merkey" <jmer...@wolfmountaingroup.com>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 20:50:11 +0100
Message-ID: <5B9FV-80v-17@gated-at.bofh.it>
References: <5x9lb-6QG-27@gated-at.bofh.it> <5x9XN-7VN-11@gated-at.bofh.it> 
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Linus Torvalds wrote:

>On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Jeff V. Merkey wrote:
>  
>
>>And how many times have you actually stood in front of a Judge over IP and
>>contract issues?
>>    
>>
>
>Well, at least I know what I'm talking about.
>  
>
Linus, it's awfully complicated when a judge has to look at this stuff. 
 From my experience they have
zero understanding of high tech so they always end up looking at 
agreements and wording of contracts
and licenses, since they can understand this.

>  
>
>>The language "GPLv2 or any later version" is what it is. You can change 
>>it moving forward, but you cannot undo the past. You put this language 
>>in there and IT WAS WHAT YOU MEANT AT THE TIME. Trying to alter that 
>>would most likely result in a finding you are acting in bad faith.
>>    
>>
>
>I did _not_ put that language in, which is the whole point.
>  
>

If you can provide this beyond all doubt, then I agree you have a solid 
basis to object.
However, it being there does make the whole arguments nebulous. I would 
suggest
removing any such language from kernel.org and state GPLv2 ONLY.

>That language is in almost all GPL-licensed projects _except_ for Linux. 
>It's in the FSF guidelines for what they _suggest_ people will do when 
>they license something under the GPL. It's in all the FSF projects, 
>obviously, and a lot of other GPL'd projects have also just mindlessly 
>copied the FSF-suggested boilerplate.
>
>Linux never did. Linux has _never_ had the "v2 or later" license wording 
>in general. Go take a look. The kernel on the whole tends to not mention 
>licenses in the individual files, preferring to instead rely on the 
>external COPYING file that it is distributed with. That's very much on 
>purpose: I personally _hate_ seeing a screenful of crapola that adds 
>nothing over and over again.
>
>In short, apart from the very early code in 1991 and early -92 (versions 
>0.01 through 0.12), Linux has been licensed with _only_ the GPLv2 license 
>file, and normally no mention of "v2 or later" in the actual sources.
>  
>

Again, get rid of this language completely about later versions.

>And the way copyrights work, you have only as many rights as explicitly 
>granted to you, so nobody has _ever_ had rights to re-license Linux under 
>any other license than the one it came with: namely the GPLv2. Alan is 
>trying to argue that the fact that it has been licensed under the GPLv2 
>would somehow "magically" mean that it has been licensed under any version 
>of GPL that you can pick, BUT THAT IS AN OBVIOUSLY LEGALLY FLAWED 
>ARGUMENT.
>  
>

It's not. I was also under the impression based on the language "any 
later license"
and I am a very bright chap. So if I got it wrong, then imagine how many 
other
folks are likely to be confused.

>It is so obviously flawed that I'm surprised he continues to argue it. 
>There has _never_ been anything that says "any version of the GPL", or 
>indeed just "the GPL" without any version. The version has _always_ been 
>explicit: the kernel comes with the GPLv2 and no other version. If you 
>don't accept the COPYING file as the license, then you had no license AT 
>ALL to distribute Linux under.
>
>So you have one choice, and once choice ONLY: accept the GPLv2 (as 
>reproduced in COPYING) or don't accept the license at all. The option 
>that Alan seems to want to do is "I'll take just the word 'GPL' from the 
>COPYING file, and then stick to that" has simply never been an option.
>
>Now, I can't stop Alan making stupid arguments. People can argue anything 
>they damn well please, whether it makes sense or not. As SCO has shows us, 
>people can argue crap for years, even in front of a judge, without any 
>actual fact or paper to stand on.
>  
>

Alan is trying to help you. I have never seen him do anything other than 
support you
to the hilt. Sure, disagreements happen, but he is there for you and 
Linux and has
been from day one.

>And that is what Alan does. He tries to argue that the kernel has somehow 
>magically been released under "the GPL" (without version specifier), even 
>though the only license that it was ever released under (apart from the 
>original non-GPL made-up-by-yours-truly license) very explicitly says 
>which version it is, in big letters at the very top.
>
>The fact that I made it even _more_ obvious five years ago by adding a 
>further explanatory notice doesn't change anything at all, except make it 
>more obvious.
>
>Alan - talk to a lawyer. Really. Show him this email thread and my 
>arguments, and ask him what he believes. I bet you can get a lawyer to 
>argue your case if you _pay_ him (lawyers are whores - they are paid to 
>argue for their client, not for the law), but ask him what he honestly 
>thinks a judge would rule. THEN come back to me.
>  
>

Linus, remove all nebulous language and post a notice on kernel.org 
clarifying your
position on this code, and I think the issue becomes closed. There's 
still the possiblity
that under the doctrine of esstopel, someone can claim or will try to 
claim conversion
to GPLv3. You will have to address this when and if it happens.

>Because let's face it, the burden on proof on changing the kernel license 
>is on _Alan_, not me. Alan is the one arguing for change. 
>  
>

A change to GPLv3 would be a good thing for you.

>Now, some individual files in the kernel are dual-licensed. Some of them 
>are dual-licensed with a BSD-license, others are "v2 or later version". 
>The latter is by no means uncommon, but it's definitely in the minority. 
>Just to give you an idea:
>
>    [torvalds@g5 linux]$ git-ls-files '*.c' | wc -l
>    7978
>    [torvalds@g5 linux]$ git grep -l "any later version" '*.c' | wc -l
>    2720
>    [torvalds@g5 linux]$ git grep -l "Redistributions in binary form must" '*.c' | wc -l
>    230
>
>ie of the C files, only about a third have the "any later version" 
>verbiage needed to be able to convert GPL v2 to v3 (and a small minority 
>look like they are dual-BSD licensed - I didn't know exactly what to grep 
>for, so I just picked a part of the normal BSD license, but they can 
>probably also be converted to GPLv3 thanks to the BSD license being a 
>strictly less restrictive license).
>
>(I picked just the '*.c' files because that seemed fairer. If you could 
>_all_ files, the "any later version" percentage drops even further).
>  
>

Given, the whole kernel cannot claim multiple licensing -- you have 
convinced me
on this point.

Jeff

>			Linus
>
>  
>

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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 21:50:05 +0100
Message-ID: <5BaBT-14o-1@gated-at.bofh.it>
References: <5x9lb-6QG-27@gated-at.bofh.it> <5x9XN-7VN-11@gated-at.bofh.it> 
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Jeff V. Merkey wrote:
>
> > I did _not_ put that language in, which is the whole point.
> 
> If you can provide this beyond all doubt, then I agree you have a solid 
> basis to object.

It's really easy to prove.

Look at core kernel source code today, and look at it 10 years ago. Look 
at it 15 years ago. Nothing has changed.

The really core files have copyright notices like this:

	/*
	 *  kernel/sched.c
	 *
	 *  Kernel scheduler and related syscalls
	 *
	 *  Copyright (C) 1991-2002  Linus Torvalds
	...

with absolutely no mention of any license rights at all. Not "this is 
under the GPL", not "GPLv2 or later". The _only_ license rights anybody 
ever had to those files come from the COPYING file, which very clearly 
states that it's "version 2, 1991"

(And yes, I'm a lazy bastard. I don't update the years. Some of the files 
I wrote still say "1991, 1992" even though they've obviously been edited 
since by me. If they fall into the public domain a couple of years 
earlier, I really don't see myself caring, since I will have been dead for 
a long while by that time _anyway_, judging by the current copyright 
nonsense).

[ Side note: the _core_ kernel files are more universally GPL v2-only than 
  the rest of the kernel. So for example, while almost a third of all C 
  files have the "any later version" notice in them, when you look at just 
  the core files in kernel/ mm/ fs/, it's a _lot_ less rare. For example, 
  in fs/*.c, it's only two files out of 57, and those aren't even the most 
  core files.

  So _qualitatively_, a lot more than "just" two thirds of the kernel are 
  based on my core files, and are GPLv2 _only_. The "..any later version" 
  stuff tends to exist mostly in drivers (and some filesystems: 9pfs, 
  afs, autofs, cifs, jfs, ntfs, ocfs2 have the "any later version" in 
  them, but the most common ones do not, and are often derived 
  (admittedly very indirectly, by now) from my original code. ]

> However, it being there does make the whole arguments 
> nebulous. I would suggest removing any such language from kernel.org and 
> state GPLv2 ONLY.

The COPYING file was edited (over _five_ years ago) to clarify the issue, 
exactly because some people were confused. So the COPYING file now 
explicitly says:

 Also note that the only valid version of the GPL as far as the kernel
 is concerned is _this_ particular version of the license (ie v2, not
 v2.2 or v3.x or whatever), unless explicitly otherwise stated.

and that has been the case for the last 5+ years.

(Another clarification is even older: the clarification that using "normal 
system calls" is _not_ considered linking, and thus the GPL doesn't infect 
any normal user-level programs. That one is over ten years old, since some 
people seriously worried about it. Again, it was really pretty obvious 
from the license itself, but the clarification made the question stop and 
made some people stop worrying unnecessarily).

Alan argues that that extra notice "changed" the license (and that any 
code that is older than 5 years would somehow not be GPLv2). I argue 
otherwise. I argue that for the whole history, Linux has been v2-only 
unless otherwise explicitly specified.

And I don't think even Alan will argue that the "v2 only" thing hasn't 
been true for the last five years.

> I was also under the impression based on the language "any later license"
> and I am a very bright chap. So if I got it wrong, then imagine how many other
> folks are likely to be confused.

Exactly. That's why I added the clarification on top of the COPYING file: 
people _have_ been confused.

That confusion doesn't stem from Linux, btw, but from the FSF distribution 
of the GPLv2 license itself. The license is distributed as one single 
file, which actually contains three parts: (1) the "preamble", (2) the 
actual license itself and (3) the "How to Apply These Terms to Your New 
Programs" mini-FAQ.

And that third part actually contains the wording "(at your option) any 
later version.", but a lot of people seemed to not realize that this was 
just part of a FSF-suggested boiler-plate on what to put in your source 
files.  In other words, that was never actually part of the license 
itself, but just a "btw, here's how you should use it" post-script.

A lot of people seemed to be confused by that, and this is exactly why the 
Linux COPYING file got the additional explanation.

(Side note: from a legal standpoint, "intent" does actually matter in the 
US legal system. So the FSF can actually argue that their pre-amble and 
their post-script to the license carry legal weight, because it shows 
their _intent_. However, they can only argue that for programs that they 
own copyright to, or when the license itself might be unclear - they can't 
argue that it shows _my_ intent. I've made my intent very clear over the 
years, and I've been consistent on this matter, so nobody can claim that 
I've "changed the rules").

> Alan is trying to help you. I have never seen him do anything other than 
> support you to the hilt. Sure, disagreements happen, but he is there for 
> you and Linux and has been from day one.

Absolutely. And I actually try to be very open to changing my mind if 
somebody has a valid point. Open source is absolutely not about just the 
source code - it's very much about the process, and about (mostly the lack 
of) control.

And hey, Alan tends to be mostly right in his concerns. Which is why he's 
so respected in the community. I just think that he is off the deep end on 
this one, and I have yet to see any actual convincing arguments for his 
standpoint. 

> Linus, remove all nebulous language and post a notice on kernel.org 
> clarifying your position on this code, and I think the issue becomes 
> closed.

The thing is, even the _clarification_ HAS BEEN THERE FOR 5 YEARS. At the 
very top of the COPYING file.

This really is nothing new. How much more prominent can it be than be in 
the top-level COPYING file that gets distributed with every single kernel 
version?

> > Because let's face it, the burden on proof on changing the kernel license is
> > on _Alan_, not me. Alan is the one arguing for change.  
> 
> A change to GPLv3 would be a good thing for you.

A lot of people like the GPLv3. I personally don't _dislike_ the current 
draft, but I don't think it's appropriate for the kernel. Part of why I 
liked the GPL in the first place (v2 at that point, obviously - v3 hadn't 
even been thought about) was that it put no restrictions at all on the 
_use_ of binaries. 

So I actually prefer the GPLv2. I don't think the current GPLv3 draft is 
"evil" or "bad", or anything like that, but it's not the license I would 
have selected when I started, and I don't see any reason to change to it 
for the kernel.

			Linus
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From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2006 00:50:10 +0100
Message-ID: <5Bdqa-5lD-19@gated-at.bofh.it>
References: <5x9lb-6QG-27@gated-at.bofh.it> <5x9XN-7VN-11@gated-at.bofh.it> 
<5xahl-8lL-23@gated-at.bofh.it> <5yXSv-2QV-9@gated-at.bofh.it> 
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On Maw, 2006-01-31 at 12:38 -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> Alan argues that that extra notice "changed" the license (and that any 
> code that is older than 5 years would somehow not be GPLv2). I argue 
> otherwise. I argue that for the whole history, Linux has been v2-only 
> unless otherwise explicitly specified.
> 
> And I don't think even Alan will argue that the "v2 only" thing hasn't 
> been true for the last five years.

I would argue its irrelevance

Two cases (lets call them a and b)

	a) The GPLv2 only was always the case
	b) There was no version so it was open to choice

Which ultimately means either

	a) Linus changed nothing
	b) Linus chose a version as the License allowed him to in accordance
with section 9.

So we have two legal outcomes both of which produce the right answer for
any vaguely recent source tree. At which point does it matter ?

My point was to make clear that assuming the GPL original text implies
the version of the code is wrong, and explain why the FSF recommend the
long text.

Is there doubt about the license status of the current code - not in
this area, no. The COPYING file is extremely clear on this, and more
importantly in other possible unclear and problematic areas. For example
the statement that the system calls are not derivative statement which
resolves the biggest interpretation concern of all.

Alan

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From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2006 01:00:15 +0100
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On Maw, 2006-01-31 at 11:07 -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote: 
> granted to you, so nobody has _ever_ had rights to re-license Linux under 
> any other license than the one it came with: namely the GPLv2. Alan is 
> trying to argue that the fact that it has been licensed under the GPLv2 
> would somehow "magically" mean that it has been licensed under any version 
> of GPL that you can pick, BUT THAT IS AN OBVIOUSLY LEGALLY FLAWED 
> ARGUMENT.

Clause 9 is clear and is part of the GPL v2. The GPL v2 text gives
people (including you) that right itself if no version is specified in
the program. You and the other authors granted that right if you didn't
include a statement about version. Now as it happens various
contributors specified versions long ago and you clarified it too.

> Alan - talk to a lawyer. 

Actually I did, long ago before this argument even appeared, because it
was important for another situation.

Also please get one thing straight. I'm not arguing for a license
change, I'm pointing out misunderstandings that might lead people,
particularly other GPL projects to make mistakes.

The big problem with any license change is actually the moral one, as
I'm sure you'd agree: Do you have the moral right to change the rules
(eg on DRM) when many have contributed with many differing views and in
many ways not all of them leading to them being copyright holders ?

Alan

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From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2006 01:10:24 +0100
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On Maw, 2006-01-31 at 09:57 -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> The fact that the COPYING file has a different copyright really doesn't 
> matter. It's still part of the release. 

Law is about precision and exact wording as well as intent. The exact
wording is "the Program" not "the release". And Program is capitalised
to indicate the use of the definition made earlier. That is: "The
"Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based
on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under
copyright law"

The COPYING file is not derivative and is not by any usual
interpretation part of the program. As I said and showed earlier the
COPYING file cannot be part of the program without contradiction.

Ask a law student if you don't believe me, or do it in equations not
words... 

> It's absolutely not different from having a separate "Release notes" file 
> which specifies the copyright conditions. That's how Linux-0.01 did it: 
> the thing was outside the actual main tar-ball, and sent out both as part 
> of the announcemnt and as a separate file in the same directory on the 
> ftp-site.

The release notes are part of the program. The section starting "NOTE!"
is maybe part of the program (thats a real lawyer question). However
whether it is or not is such clear intent that nobody would win an
argument that you had not said nowdays that it is V2

> I can make very specific arguments for why version 2 ONLY is the specific 
> license that covers Linux. In contrast you can only make weasel-wording 

Well if you consider accurate interpretation of language 'weasel
wording' I can only feel sorry for you and be glad you write code not
English. But since I don't actually want to change the license on the
kernel and I already can if I wanted for the small percentage I wrote I
don't see the need to continue the debate.

Alan

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From: Linus Torvalds <torva...@osdl.org>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2006 01:20:10 +0100
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On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, Alan Cox wrote:
> 
> I would argue its irrelevance

Well, I can absolutely agree with that.

It really wasn't ever meant to _change_ anything, so it definitely should 
be irrelevant in that sense. 

That said, I think it actually hass one big result: we may be discussing 
this for a couple of weeks, but I'm pretty sure we won't be discussing it 
for months and having a huge split over it in the kernel community. 

Which to me makes it less-than-irrelevant ;)

I actually tend to have two very different kinds of worries:

 - the technical problem of the month. Something doesn't work, and we 
   don't know why, and it's been broken for long enough that it seems to 
   be pretty fundamental.

   These things worry me, but they don't keep me up at night. 

 - the worry that somebody who submitted code to the kernel feels that his 
   code is mis-used and feels let down by the process.

   This thing _worries_ me. This is something I end up losing sleep over.

The second case is unusual, but it does happen. Things like the 
MMX-optimized AES routines, where Jari Ruusu ended up objecting to his 
code getting used. I really don't think he had any _legal_ reasons to feel 
that way, but _that_ is what really really tends to make me unhappy: 
regardless of legal correctness, I want developers to feel _proud_ of what 
they did in Linux, not feel like their code is being trampled on.

Do unto others.. and so on.

This is also why I don't much like BSD->GPL conversion, and try to ask the 
original author to OK it (the way we did with the original AES assembly 
code authored by Dr Brian Gladman - just to make sure). And regardless, I 
want to keep dual licenses _actively_ dual-licensed in the kernel, just to 
respect the original wishes instead of just converting them to the 
(stricter) GPLv2.

So the reason I've spent a lot of time on this thread is basically that I 
worry about people who would _like_ to upgrade (and incorrectly _expected_ 
to upgrade) the whole kernel to GPLv3 being unhappy.

So I'm spending time on this thread trying to make sure that everybody 
realizes that GPLv2 was always the license of choice - people may still 
have wished for something else, but at least I can do my damned best to 
explain why things are how they are, and explaining that any expectations 
to the contrary really were misguided.

> Two cases (lets call them a and b)
> 
> 	a) The GPLv2 only was always the case
> 	b) There was no version so it was open to choice
> 
> Which ultimately means either
> 
> 	a) Linus changed nothing
> 	b) Linus chose a version as the License allowed him to in accordance
> with section 9.
> 
> So we have two legal outcomes both of which produce the right answer for
> any vaguely recent source tree. At which point does it matter ?

Well, it does matter if somebody wants to start anew at the state we were 
at five years ago in the belief that that old state is GPLv3-compatible, 
and then add in the more modern part of the files that are explicitly 
compatible with GPLv3...

And if somebody feels _that_ strongly about it, and feels that five years 
ago there really was a real ambiguity, I'd be interested to hear his or 
her arguments. And I don't see myself likely objecting to it, if only 
because I'd be intrigued to see how far they get ;)

> Is there doubt about the license status of the current code - not in
> this area, no. The COPYING file is extremely clear on this, and more
> importantly in other possible unclear and problematic areas. For example
> the statement that the system calls are not derivative statement which
> resolves the biggest interpretation concern of all.

I was always surprised by how anybody could _possibly_ worry about that 
one, but it did come up very early. I forget exactly when, but I think 
that clarification was added way before Linux-1.0.

In general, people worry too much. And I worry about other people 
worrying.

Hopefully I also worry without any real cause.

		Linus
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From: Alan Cox <a...@lxorguk.ukuu.org.uk>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2006 01:50:06 +0100
Message-ID: <5Bema-6K3-9@gated-at.bofh.it>
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On Maw, 2006-01-31 at 16:18 -0800, Linus Torvalds wrote:
> That said, I think it actually hass one big result: we may be discussing 
> this for a couple of weeks, but I'm pretty sure we won't be discussing it 
> for months and having a huge split over it in the kernel community. 

Agreed

> Do unto others.. and so on.

This is how you spot a lawyer from a normal human. The human agrees but
the lawyer says "but what about my dentist, will he really want me to
drill his teeth" ;)

> So I'm spending time on this thread trying to make sure that everybody 
> realizes that GPLv2 was always the license of choice - people may still 

The intent is clear by any view for current code, and the past is for
argument but equally its unfixable whatever the result. 

> I was always surprised by how anybody could _possibly_ worry about that 
> one, but it did come up very early. I forget exactly when, but I think 
> that clarification was added way before Linux-1.0.
> 
> In general, people worry too much. 

Its the job of some of them to worry. After all many of them have
shareholders to answer for, and whether they worry about misusing your
pension fund or whether they'll still get a new yacht if there is a
lawsuit, they worry.

I've actually talked to a number of people for whom the syscall
clarification was critical to their choice to produce software for Linux
so don't underestimate your smart planning in advance ;)

Alan

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From: Theodore Ts'o <ty...@mit.edu>
Newsgroups: linux.kernel
Subject: Re: GPL V3 -- PLEA FOR SANITY
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 2006 15:00:36 +0100
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Let's give this thread a rest, OK?

Whether or not Linux is licensed under the GPLv2 only or not is
ultimately a matter for the lawyers.

The one big problem I see with the GPLv3 effort is given the
additional restrictions regarding DRM, it doesn't seem to clear to me
whether a project which has even a single line of GPLv2-only code can
accept GPLv3 code. That is, GPLv3 is designed to be compatible with
more licenses, but that doesn't matter of GPLv2 isn't compatible with
GPLv3.  If that is the case, if only a _single_ person (like Rogier)
has I want GPLv2-only, the whole project is can't use any GPLv3 code
unless they are willing to track down and rewrite all of the code
written by that person or persons.

If that is true (and again, at the end of the day lawyers or more
importantly, a judge is going to have to make that call, not debating
technologists) it's hard to see the GPLv3 making any headway.

						- Ted
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