[drupal-devel] Drupal and GPL3

larry at garfieldtech.com larry at garfieldtech.com
Thu Oct 6 20:59:28 UTC 2005

Some projects are licensed under GPL 2 "or, at your option, any later

A project that is licensed under GPL 2 would require the approval of every
contributor to be relicensed under GPL 3.  Even a fork to GPL 3 would not
be allowed without the consent of everyone involved.

A project that is licensed under GPL 2+ can be converted en masse to GPL
3, but not piecemeal.  For example, if Drupal is under GPL 2+ then Dries
could one day declare "OK, we're now GPL 3+!", and it would be so.  He
would have to if anyone sent in a patch under GPL 3+, in fact.  If he
didn't, someone could fork it under GPL 3+ but then the fork could not
cross-pollenate with the original Drupal.

My reading of RMS' statement (and someone correct *me* if I'm wrong) is
that GPL 3 would allow for "unmodifiable" "download the code here"
functions, similar to how the GNU Free Documentation License allows for
unremovable non-content stuff like colophons <sp>.  That's only an option
for the developer, though, and not required.

That would affect Drupal only if it's currenly licensed under GPL 2+ *and*
Dries decided to move to GPL 3.  (If it's currently GPL 2, then it's
locked on GPL 2 pretty much forever.)

I don't know off hand if Drupal is under GPL 2 or GPL 2+, so I don't know
which would apply to us.  Dries?

--Larry Garfield

> Please correct me if I am wrong.
> If existing codes of a project are licensed under GPL 2, and if someone
> from
> that project wants to license the codes with GPL 3 that command, EVERY
> code
> owner or contributor will need to agree on using the *new* license.
> realistically, if at least one ojbects the change, the codes can't be
> licensed with the new license.
> so GPL3 with that command doesn't apply to most of the existing projects.
> or
> someone can fork an project and apply the GPL 3 license.
> It can be used on any new project though.
> On 9/30/05, Karoly Negyesi <karoly at negyesi.net> wrote:
>> -------
>> Some companies, such as Google, use code covered by GPL to offer their
>> services through the Web. Do you plan to extend GPL 3 copyleft to
>> request
>> code publication in this case too, considering this behavior like a
>> product distribution?
>> Running a program in a public server is not distribution; it is public
>> use. We're looking at an approach where programs used in this way will
>> have to include a command for the user to download the source for the
>> version that is running.
>> But this will not apply to all GPL-covered programs, only to programs
>> that
>> already contain such a command. Thus, this change would have no effect
>> on
>> existing software, but developers could activate it in the future.
>> This is only a tentative plan, because we have not finished studying the
>> matter to be sure it will work.
>> How would it work?
>> If you release a program that implements such a command, GPL 3 will
>> require others to keep the command working in their modified versions of
>> the program.
>> -------

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