back to article From here on, Red Hat's new GPLv2 software projects will have GPLv3 cure for license violators

Red Hat on Monday said all of its newly initiated open-source projects that adopt GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1 licenses will be expected to include the GPLv3 "cure" provision. The move follows Red Hat's announcement last November, in conjunction with Facebook, Google and IBM, that the four companies intended to extend the GPLv3 violation …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    So, having made a composite of two licences what's the actual result? Surely it's neither GPL v2 nor GPL v3. GPL v2.1?

    1. thames

      There is no change to the actual license. If the original license was GPLv2, then that remains the license. What happens is they add another file to the project which says that in the event of a license violation, the "cure" procedure for copyright violation will be as specified in the new file. Since GPLv2 doesn't address what happens at that point there is no conflict with that license. Since Red Hat stated what they they would do in that instance, so far as a court is concerned they are as effectively bound by it as they would be if it was a clause on the license itself.

      GPLv3 addressed a lot of issues in GPLv2 like this, and is in my opinion overall a better license and what I use in my own open source projects unless I need to conform to the license of an existing project. The GPLv3 drafting process also took in a lot of input from lawyers around the world to correct issues relating to legal systems which are different from that in the US, as well as many other matters.

      The main objection that people had against GPLv3 was the provision that manufacturers of locked-down platforms had to provide unlock keys. The main objector back then appear\ed to be Tivo and other makers of things like home TV video recorders. These days it is cell phone and tablet makers who object to it.

      I won't be surprised if eventually they end up with what is effectively a "GPLv2.9" - or a GPLv3 without the anti-lock-down provisions.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      I have a better remedy...

      I have a better remedy. Make it all BSD 3 or 4 clause and be done with it. No 'remediation' needed.

      If you TRULY want to contribute, that's what you'll do. Otherwise, you're trying to control too much on how people use it.

      I don't like [L]GPLv3 for many reasons, starting with the lengthy lawyerspeak and WAY too many implied and explicit restrictions, particularly for commercial use, with terms like "aggregate" being applied to GPLv3 licensing where one GPL component may or may not force "the entire work" to be GPLv3, basically MAKING ROOM for L[aw]YERS to sue/settle and get paid at YOUR expense. [L]GPLV2 is much cleaner, simpler, common sense, etc. and I tend to 'dual license' everything I put online anyway, such that either BSD or [L]GPLv2 license applies at the discretion of the person using it.

      It's not like I won't get credit for writing those things anyway, with a non-GPL license. I just prefer freedom over "copy-left" and Stallman's anti-capitalist attitude as reflected in the licenses. If you restrict what people do with it, it's not "freedom" any more. "You're free to play with my toys, but you have to make a bzzzzz sound when making the airplane 'fly'" <-- like that

      (understandably, Linux is GPLv2 but you can run proprietary binary-only stuff on it if you want to. RH could simply ship it separately as an add-on if they wanted to)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I have a better remedy...

        > you're trying to control too much on how people use it.

        The GPL places no restrictions on how people use software.

        > ...terms like "aggregate" being applied to GPLv3 licensing where one GPL component may or may not force "the entire work" to be GPLv3, ... [L]GPLV2 is much cleaner, simpler, common sense, etc.

        GPLv2 is no different to GPLv3 in this respect.

        > I just prefer freedom over "copy-left" and Stallman's anti-capitalist attitude as reflected in the licenses. If you restrict what people do with it, it's not "freedom" any more.

        You seem to only consider the freedom of developers immediately downstream of your project. Stallman, by way of the GPL, attempts to maximise the freedoms of everyone in the chain of possession, right down to the end user.

      2. thames

        Re: I have a better remedy...

        Changing the license to BSD would do absolutely nothing to resolve the questions being addressed here because the BSD license does not even attempt to address the issue of what happens if you were found to be exceeding the terms of the license.

        The question of "cure" is with respect to what does someone have to do to get themselves into the clear if they were caught violating copyright law with respect to a published work. GPLv2 as it stands does not address this. BSD also does not address this.

        GPLv3 however lays it all out clearly that you if you bring yourself into compliance with the license then "forgiveness" (in the legal sense) is automatically instated. Under copyright law, formal "forgiveness" is required in order for copyright infringement complaint to be considered closed. The measure being adopted by Red Hat tacks that aspect of GPLv3 onto the side of GPLv2 without changing the license itself.

        When you "violate copyright" you are violating copyright law. The license is your defence as a user against being sued by the copyright holders. A license that is more explicit in this respect is to the user's advantage. A license which does not address this issue leaves it up to the courts and the lawyers to argue it out.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @bombastic bob - Re: I have a better remedy...

        May I remind you that any freedom has and must have limits. According to your (flawed) understanding, your freedom is severely limited by the fact that you are not allowed to kill or seriously harm people around you.

        Don't like GPL, then don't use it. Go use Microsoft proprietary license, it's open source too.

      4. DuncanLarge Silver badge

        Re: I have a better remedy...

        So, basically you are sayng that you want the freedom to take freedom from others?

        Or you dont care if you give the freedom for others to do the same?

        The copyleft "restrictions" are there to specifically enforce decent behavior out of people who do such things.

        But I suppose its fine as YOU have total freedom even if someone else doesnt. One rule for you, and another rule for the others.

        You know that YOU are not free to do many things in society yes? And you agree that nobody should be above the law? Then again maybe you are of the opinion that we should be free from laws as they restrict your freedom to do what you want to others including making your own laws that they must follow lest you retaliate. I know a type of person that thinks that way and I'm glad that the GPL is doing its best to prevent such people from affecting computer users in general.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Surely it's neither GPL v2 nor GPL v3. GPL v2.1?

      You mean it's the systemd of licensing?

  2. bazza Silver badge

    Changing the License Terms?

    It's all very well saying that it's for new open source projects, but just how much of a new project is entirely new code these days? If they're using a bunch of libraries, etc. then there's a good chance that some component of a new project won't have the cure clause in its own license, negating the whole purpose.

    Still, it's a good idea. But from a system point of view, that includes hardware, an OS, and application software on top. With Linux being the most likely OS chosen for a whole range of applications (e.g. a car I.C.E. system) there's still going to have to be the offer of the kernel source code, and failing on that front is just a debilitating as failing to supply the source code for open source derived applications.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beats "Sue first and ask questions later" I guess...

    1. Kabukiwookie

      Slippery slope?

      Not sure what the 'cure' term is in GPLv3, but while in this extension the time in which a licence breach can be fixed in 30-60 days (if caught at all).

      What's stopping all the proponents for this addition to GPLv2 to slowly start extending this 'cure' term to 144 years?

  4. keithzg

    I actually prefer another license which Fontana is involved with

    IMHO the best Free Software license is copyleft-next, which (amongst other things) largely takes the good points of GPLv3 and condenses it down to a human-readable length:

  5. Anonymous Coward

    "you could include a command that reads the notices aloud"

    It's getting Crazy

    From the GPLv3 "cure" provision. Q&A

    Q] "My program has interactive user interfaces that are non-visual in nature. How can I comply with the Appropriate Legal Notices requirement in GPLv3? (#NonvisualLegalNotices)

    A] All you need to do is ensure that the Appropriate Legal Notices are readily available to the user in your interface. For example, if you have written an audio interface, you could include a command that reads the notices aloud."


    just include a parameter "xxx.exe /license" to display the license using a shortcut or link.


    Just include a menu/desktop/folder link or shortcut to the license text file to display the license.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      a Maxim of Design is FUNCTION FIRST

      then there is FIT for PURPOSE

      The licensing of programming componentry is at the manufacturing stage not the user stage

      logos are usually provided on documentation or at best on the underside of the product.

      Only where the logo has a selling advantage do you see it displayed on the front interface of any major product.

      I would not want the 'easter egg crap' of a license within a product when they can just nod and tip their hat to that in the documentation.

      As really ! What th F#$% do I care, I can make a mental note when purchasing and installing the product.

    2. DuncanLarge Silver badge

      Re: "you could include a command that reads the notices aloud"

      Speaking aloud the license is crazy?

      What if you are blind?

      What if your software has no visual interface because the hardware has no visual interface at all?

      Shouldn't Alexa speak out its license terms if you verbally ask it or should you find a sighted person (assuming you are not) to browse to the webpage that has the license text? What if, all you have is alexa. No computer to speak of. No smartphone. You make calls to your family via alexa and their alexa, you order stuff from amazon through alexa, have it remind you of appointments etc. How did you set up your amazon account without a laptop? Well maybe you popped to the local library and did it there or being blind had a mate set it up for you leaving you with a functioning voice operated speaking computer that can not display license text as the whole idea of a screen for alexa was not in the designers mind.

      So "Alexa, read me your license", "OK, blah blah blah blah", "Alexa, STOP!" seems quite appropriate to me.

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