License option

Ryan Schmidt ryandesign at
Thu Jan 14 14:42:03 PST 2010

On Jan 14, 2010, at 02:59, Dan Villiom Podlaski Christiansen wrote:

> On 14 Jan 2010, at 02:58, Michael Crawford wrote:
>> The GPL is not just one license; in reality we have four licenses
>> whose terms and compatibilities are quite significantly different from
>> each other:
>> GPL version 2
>> GPL version 2 or any later version
>> GPL version 3
>> GPL version 3 or any later version

And finally:

GPL any version whatsoever, for software licensed under "GPL" without stating what version.

> Another approach would be to consider GPLv2+ code as dual licensed; that is, list the licences as:
> license GPL-2.0 GPL-3.0
> Should a GPLv3.1 or GPLv4 ever appear, it can be added to the list on if/when needed.

Except "the list" is in every port, so we currently have 183 ports that indicate they use some kind of GPL or LGPL, and we only just started indicating ports' licenses so there are probably a thousand or more additional ports that are GPL-licensed that just don't say so. So this would impose a burden to need to keep on top of updating license information in ports, and to keep aware of when new license versions come about. Many maintainers aren't that active or dedicated, and 40% of our ports don't have a maintainer at all. Only 5% of our ports indicate their license. Granted new license versions don't come out that frequently so the burden perhaps isn't so big.

But consider also the case of software licensed under "GPL 3 or any later version". There isn't a later version today. If we go by your plan, we'd have to write GPL-3.0 in the license field. If tomorrow a GPL-3.1 or GPL-4.0 comes out, we'd have to review all ports that claim to use GPL-3.0 to see if that meant GPL 3.0 only or GPL 3.0 and any later version.

More information about the macports-dev mailing list