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Re: CVS update: subversion/subversion/libsvn_client add.c apply_edits.c checkout.c client.h commit.c delete.c status.c update.c

From: Karl Fogel <kfogel_at_galois.collab.net>
Date: 2000-11-22 19:55:01 CET

Greg, those retroactive later-version licenses don't work the way
you're saying.

Once you've released code under a particular license, no one can take
those terms away. However, you can give people the *option* of using
your code under a different license, or not (that's the "this version
X, or any later version" clause).

Thus, people will always have whatever rights you originally released
the code under -- CollabNet cannot change that later. However, you'd
be explicitly granting them the right to *choose*, later on, to use
some other terms. Since our current license already permits
proprietary forks, this can't result in anything too awful. But it
does give CollabNet the ability to retroactively rerelease things
under even more liberal terms in the future.

The scenarios you describe below don't happen:

Greg Stein <gstein@lyra.org> writes:
> As a user of software, I really dislike that "any later version" phrase.
> *) consider the NPL/MPL: it has this "feature". Are you happy contributing
> to that project, knowing that AOL/Netscape can release a new NPL/MPL that
> says "nobody can copy this software without paying us our licensing fee"
> and attach it to the code you wrote? If you were a user, would you
> appreciate new licensing that said you must pay for using Mozilla?

But that's not what happens, because you still always have the option
of choosing the earlier (original) terms. In fact, you (the user) get
to select whichever version of the license you like the most, from all
the versions since the earliest, inclusive.

> *) consider the GPL: are you happy to contribute to that, knowing that RMS
> could release GPL V3 that states that you can only use the software on
> systems that contain zero proprietary software? He could do it, and
> software authors could elect to use V3 and there isn't much you can do
> about it since it *said* they could do that.

Same rebuttal.

> *) Linus removed that "any later version" phrase from (his portions of)
> Linux because he wasn't sure what RMS was going to do in V3, and he
> didn't want those changes to magically apply to his software.


> I say that software should be released under a specific license. If you want
> to change the license, then re-release the software with the change. Let the
> people decide whether they want to use the new or old license.
> But this whole "hey, we can change it" is a bit scary for developers and
> users of the software.

Not scary if you realize all the options available to every user.

Received on Sat Oct 21 14:36:15 2006

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