[IAEP] [Sugar-devel] ANNOUNCE: Moving Sugar to GPLv3+

Martin Langhoff martin.langhoff at gmail.com
Fri Apr 22 10:50:26 EDT 2011

On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 8:00 PM, Bernie Innocenti <bernie at sugarlabs.org> wrote:
> Authors can express their intentions through a license. If you didn't
> want your code to be redistributed under a later versions of the GPL,
> then why didn't you distribute as GPLv2-only?

On a personal note here... programmers that liked GPLv2 due to its
share-and-share-alike quid-pro-quo (like me, perhaps Scott too)
trusted FSF for have future versions be "bugfix" versions.

So I've also published GPLv2 bits and now I wish I hadn't.

Some things in v3 are "bugfixes" -- the license compatibility, the
patent wording (though it could scare some corporations that do hold
patents). But the anti-tivoization clause changes the social contract
significantly -- it moves towards a new territory that is problematic.

I sure wish that GPLv3 was limited to those bugfixes, and the
anti-tivo wording was segregatd to a new license; a bit like some
clauses were split off to the Affero-GPL.

> To me, this seems like the GPv3 has a long list of *practical*
> advantages over the  GPLv2:

None of those seem interesting to Sugar.

> A clearer patent license,
> no ambiguities for distributors

Nice, but GPLv2 is well understood by now.

> better compatibility with other licenses,

A high-profile, well-liked project like Sugar never has problem to get
a dual-license grant from any incompat license. I've requested -- and
obtained -- such dual-licenses from many (PHP-licensed) projects that
we wanted to include in Moodle (GPLv2, and not as high profile as

> anti-tivoization

This is rather problematic. While it doesn't affect OLPC/bitfrost, it
can affect situations where I'd like to see Sugar in use. For example
a well-setup thin-client / terminal server (like SkoleLinux/DebianEdu)
may lockdown X so that .xsession is ignored.

> protection from the DMCA

Not relevant. Sugar ain't mplayer.

> easier path to return into compliance for accidental
> violations...

Nice but... was that ever a problem? There's ample "best practice"
around accidental violations. It doesn't change anything.

So my questions are

 -  What's the upside?

 - At what point do we say "hey, this has scant upside, and negative
controversy around it, let's spend our time in productive things


 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- Software Architect - OLPC
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