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[gNewSense-users] FSF advice about gNewSense "under the GPL" policy

From: Bake Timmons
Subject: [gNewSense-users] FSF advice about gNewSense "under the GPL" policy
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2008 17:06:38 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

I just received advice back from address@hidden regarding our policy
about how to handle the "under the GPL" case.  In short, we do *not*
need to contact the licensor of Linux source code that is "under the
GPL", because it is safe to assume that GPLv2 is not ruled out by the
phrase "under the GPL" in a package that is licensed GPLv2 only.  This
covers our concern in the KFV process: no need to contact licensors for
this case.

Do we have any remaining concern there for the KFV process?

Now, apart from gNewSense's purposes and from my own understanding:

1. If we ever wanted to incorporate such code into, say, a GPLv3
package, then we should seek clarification.  Note that Torvalds's file
has no effect in this case, since it only covers what is distributed as
part of the kernel, a fact acknowledged by his phrase "as far as the
kernel is concerned".

2. *Presumably*, this need for clarification is because the "under the
GPL" notice occurs within a package that *insists* on a specific
version, and we can only assume that that the licensor might have used
the "under the GPL" phrase to mean only GPLv2.  That would be an
*incorrect* use of that phrase, since the legal meaning of the phrase
refers to a licensee's choice of *any version*.

3. "Under the GPL" does not correctly refer to Torvalds's COPYING file,
since that file, restrictive as it is, is not the GPL.  If that
reference were intended, the correct phrase would be, "under the terms
of the COPYING file in this distribution," or something like that.
However, it still might be a good idea to contact even licensors who
clearly indicate version 2, since they might be open to *new,
additional* terms involving other versions.

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