On Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 6:41 AM Ulrich Mueller <u...@gentoo.org> wrote: > > Historically, all ebuilds in the Gentoo repository were licensed under > GPL-2+. At a later point they were relicensed  to GPL-2. See  for > a rationale (or absence of it, YMMV).
I think the historical policy made sense in its context, which was a world where all copyrights were to be assigned. In that case you can already relicense at will, so you still have flexibility, but by keeping it pinned at one version you don't get pulled into something by somebody else that you didn't intend. Now, over time the whole assignment thing became fuzzier and I don't really want to get into a largely-moot debate at this point over how effective those assignments were at various points in time. Today we are in a world where our intent isn't for the default to involve assignment, and so the v2-only licenses create (IMO) more problems than they prevent. > On the other hand, we would presumably never achieve a complete > transition to GPL-2+, so we would have ebuilds with either GPL variant > in the tree. Not sure how big an issue that would be. Updating ebuilds > wouldn't be a problem (as the old header would stay), but devs would > have to spend attention to the header when copying code from one ebuild > to another. Devs already have to be careful about copying code into ebuilds that go into our repo. Somebody could attach an ebuild to a bug and stick "Copyright Joe Smith all rights reserved" at the top of it. I think it would make sense to have a call for Devs to voluntarily report in and give permission for their contributions to be licensed v2+ with no change in copyright ownership and see what happens. I wouldn't be surprised if we could relicense 80-90% of the tree quickly. If that happens then we could just require it for new contributions (if we wanted to), and then over time the problem would just go away, just like an old EAPI. We could also stick warnings in ebuild comments like "# Warning v2-only ebuild - do not copy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and maybe copy it every 20 lines if we wanted to be super-paranoid. I do agree with the general argument that much of this code isn't really subject to copyright. We could just do both an opt-in and opt-out approach to this. Have the opt-in so that we get as much explicit approval as we can. Also do an opt-out with a prominent announcement like, "hey, we're about to adopt GPL v2+ for all our ebuilds so if you think you have contributions that are non-trivial and want to object to those contributions being relicensed please let us know." It isn't an airtight defense, but it isn't entirely unreasonable either. Or we could just see how many fish we catch with a very conservative opt-in approach and go from there. We might not need to even consider the risk of an opt-out approach. -- Rich