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Re: [gNewSense-users] KFV check-in

From: Bake Timmons
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] KFV check-in
Date: Fri, 04 Apr 2008 23:24:02 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

> I'm a little confused about this write the author business. Because the
> GPL (and the LGPL) say that if no version is specified then it can use
> any of them, it seems to me that that is kind of like specifying a
> version. For example, if I wanted to write code that could be used with
> any version of the GPL, I might choose to not specify the version. And
> if we do contact the author and he gives us the version, we can publish
> it, but it still won't be in the original code. If he can just decide
> whenever he's asked, couldn't he change his mind later?
> Anyway, I'd be happy to email the authors if that's what we want to do.

I think it's *understandable* why some people may want to write the
author, but it hardly seems *necessary* in the circumstance we are
discussing.  Recall Torvalds's written notice:

"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."

"Under the GPL" is not an explicit statement of a version, so v2 applies
to such a file as long as it is being considered part of the kernel,
i.e., for our KFV purposes.  Whatever the author may tell us must be
compatible with this choice, assuming the context of the Linux kernel.
I.e., I cannot imagine how the author, if asked to mention a *specific*
version, could say anything other than v2, unless the files are to be
distributed *apart* from the kernel.

Another way to see that writing to the author is not necessary is to
consider that KFV is not about documenting how the files might be
distributed *outside the kernel*.  Therefore, KFV is not subject to the
only place where the GPL (versions 1 and 2 at least) addresses "writing
to the author":

"If you wish to incorporate parts of the Program into other free programs
whose distribution conditions are different, write to the author to ask
for permission."

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