It also has it here http://www.gnu.org/licenses/rms-why-gplv3.html
on reasons why to
upgrade version 3.
On Saturday, 7 February 2015, 22:21, Tyler Romeo <tylerromeo(a)gmail.com> wrote:
I’ve been meaning to make this thread for a while. I also believe we should switch over
to GPL 3.
== Reasons to switch ==
First, to address the reason of why, there are a couple of reasons.
=== Language changes ===
Much of the language of the license has been rewritten or changed. Specifically so that:
a) it is more international and not using US-specific wording (e.g., “conveying”); and
b) certain things have been clarified due to changes in the Internet and technology over
As an example, GPLv2 requires that when distributing software that the source code be
provided *on a physical medium*. The GPLv3 relaxes this and allows an offer of providing
source code via network transmission, as we are doing right now.
=== License compatibility ===
The GPLv3 was adjusted so that it is compatible with more free software licenses. The
Apache 2.0 license and the XFree86 license are only compatible with the GPLv3, not v2.
=== Termination upon infringement ===
This is actually a pretty important one. The GPLv2 has a clause that upon a licensee
violating the GPL, their entire license is immediately terminated, and may only be
reissued by the licensor. This is obviously a troublesome legal situation in FOSS projects
because now a licensee has to seek permission to use the software from the possibly
hundreds of contributors, each of whom is an individual and independent licensor for the
In GPLv3, this is fixed by allowing infringers to resume distribution of the software if
they cease all violations. In other words, while the copyright holder can still, if they
so desire, explicitly terminate the license after a violation, in most cases the licensee
can make remedies and automatically continue distribution.
=== Addition FOSS protections ===
As other people have previously stated, the GPLv3 adds additional restrictions to protect
against trademark law, patent law, and sub-licensing. I won’t go too much into it, because
I don’t know the details, but it basically is an attempt to prevent the aforementioned
from imposing additional restrictions on redistributors.
== What MediaWiki should do ==
=== Changing our license ===
Just to specifically address the process that would be involved, all our current code can
be licensed under the GPLv2 or any later version. Thus it would be trivial to just
“redistribute” all of the code under the GPLv3. Yes, all the original code would still be
licensed under the GPLv2 as well, since that was what it was contributed under, but any
copy obtained from the Wikimedia Foundation would be under v3 since that is what the WMF
would be distributing.
In addition, by doing so we’d require all further changes to be contributed under the
GPLv3 or a compatible license, which, as aforementioned, is actually more licenses than
could be done under the v2.
=== Which license? ===
I’m going to be honest, I think it is non-controversial to change over to GPLv3. It isn’t
really more restrictive than v2 (patent law and DRM don’t really apply to us). If
anything, it is actually an easier-to-implement license, since now the WMF has less
responsibilities in terms of source code offering, etc.
**However**, I’d like to take this opportunity and jump a step further. What would
everybody think of switching to the AGPLv3 instead? The advantage that this provides, for
those who don’t know, is a single additional restriction: when the software is used over
the network, source code must still be provided. In other words, the requirements all
remain the same (providing a copy of the source code, ensuring all modifications are also
GPLed, etc.). The only difference is that the requirements take effect over the Internet
rather than only when the software is distributed in object code form.
The situation this protects against specifically is if a vendor does the following:
1) Download MediaWiki
2) Make a change to the software that they want to keep secret
3) Run the new MediaWiki on their servers, but never give out the source code
Technically, this is compliant with the license, because a distributor only has to provide
corresponding source code if a user is given object code, which in the case of a web
application, they are not. The AGPL protects against this by requiring provision of source
code to the end-user web clients. Of course, the source code can be “provided” in the form
of a simple link to another website on which to download the code.
On February 7, 2015 at 16:08:16, Bartosz Dziewoński (matma.rex(a)gmail.com) wrote:
MediaWiki is already available under GPL 2 *or any later version*. Why
would we want to disallow distribution under GPL 2?
(Not that it's even possible. We could only state that new changes to
MediaWiki code are only available on GPL 3+, we can't re-license existing
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