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GPL v3 and Ruby License.

 
 
Gregory Brown
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      04-04-2006
I went to MIT for the Free Software Foundation Associate members
meeting last weekend. I asked Stallman the question of whether the
FSF planned to contact various individuals who were using dual
licenses and encourage them to participate in commenting on GPLv3.

He sort of yelled at me a lot. Big surprise. You might be able to
find the recordings of this online sometime soon.

I talked to some other FSF members, including Executive Director Peter
Brown, and their suggestion was to encourage community members to come
use the comment system, and that they'd consider more formal outreach
programs for the second draft.

So, here I am making a suggestion that maybe is based on a bit of
paranoia. We're already having enough of a hard time explaining the
disjunctive license of Ruby... it'll be a lot harder to explain if
some people start using GPLv3 and others stick with GPLv2 when the
final draft rolls around.

Should the ruby community get active in commenting on GPLv3 in hopes
of making it possible to switch the ruby license to use it (alongside
the current, more permissive terms of course), or should we be
focusing on making a Ruby license that stands on it's own, or should
we just jump this hurdle down the line when we get to it?

My main cause for concern is that I really rely on the GPL part of the
license, since the terms Matz wrote don't seem to be an established
legal document. I will probably want to use GPLv3 alongside Matz's
terms for my software when it comes out, but I don't want people to be
any more confused than they have to about what the "License of Ruby"
means.

So... now I've gone and confused myself, but basically... I'm just
concerned about hybrid Ruby licenses using both GPLv2 and GPLv3
skulking around out there in the somewhat near future, and am hoping
that we think about it before it sneaks up on us.


 
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Timothy Goddard
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      04-05-2006
The ruby licence seems to simply specify that ruby may be distributed
either under the GPL version 2 or a separate set of conditions (the
ruby licence). This license does not currently seem to permit
distribution under the GPLv3, as the version enclosed is version 2 and
it never explicitly permits another version to be used (most programs
would say GPLv2 or any later version).

Some parts of ruby's standard library actually fall under completely
separate conditions. These may be affected, but the impact is unlikely
to be significant.

Interestingly, it's quite odd that you regard the GPL as an established
legal document but not Matz's licence. Both licenses are equally valid
in a legal sense. The ruby licence is actually much more liberal than
the GPL, and would be my preferred license to receive it under. This is
just an opinion, but I see no reason for regarding the GPL as a more
suitable licence simply due to how common it is.

 
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john_sips_tea@yahoo.com
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      04-05-2006
> He sort of yelled at me a lot. Big surprise.

Not sure if this is sarcasm or not. I went to a GNU/Linux user's group
meeting a year or two ago where RMS gave a talk, and he mostly just
seemed like a thoughtful guy who gives away his work under the GPL and
hopes you'll do the same.

After his talk, he got a little visibly annoyed at some questioners who
twice referred to GNU/Linux as "Linux", but that was about it.

> I'm just concerned about hybrid Ruby licenses using both GPLv2
> and GPLv3 skulking around out there in the somewhat near future,
> and am hoping that we think about it before it sneaks up on us.


I agree. Though, what I think it's important first to know is; what was
Matz's
rationale for the dual-licensing in the first place?

As an aside, I'm a big fan of the GPL. I'm in the US, and businesses
here are so cutthroat that the protection the GPL offers to keep code
free (and free of non-freely-distributable "patented software") is
vital (IMO). I'm guessing perspectives differ in other countries, where
laws are different regarding social responsibility of corporations.

 
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