A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

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Ancient
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:32 pm

Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by Ancient »

Quim wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:59 am
So... what would ReactOS developers do?
Re-licence all possible code as GPL v3 ?
YES, any code made by an RoS developer who is willing to re-license it in GPL 3 will be helping to avoid grief if anything in a court (likely a U.S. court) gets goes off the rails. Any code which is a modification of GPL-2 licensed code, may not legitimately be copyrightable by a subsequent developer to the extent any GPL-2 code owned by someone else is included. Only the direct owners can license under GPL-3. RoS may do well here, depending on how much GPL-2 code it has from elsewhere vs self created code.

It may be a good policy to require GPL-3 code only for future additions to RoS. Just a suggestion, I am not a developer, and am here to discuss stuff but do not develop.

justincase
Posts: 440
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:13 pm

Re: A question about ReactOS code and copyright ???

Post by justincase »

karlexceed wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:30 pm
As PurpleGurl said, I don't want to derail this thread.
The purpose of this thread (as stated by the OP) was to discuss the potential for issues caused by the GPLv2 license in Linux in order to see if they could affect ReactOS, as ReactOS is also (mainly) GPLv2, so none of the posts in this thread have really been off topic, even if some have been factually incorrect.
binarymaster wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 10:42 am
:!: Highly related and must read:

Conservancy Adds Expanded Section To Copyleft Guide On GPLv2 Irrevocability — https://sfconservancy.org/news/2018/sep ... ocability/

A letter from Eric S. Raymond — http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kern ... 06864.html
Thank you, these articles do help to clear the air around this topic a bit.
dizt3mp3r wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 11:41 am
To extract the section in question - is described here:
Today, a new section in the Guide explains GPLv2's safeguards to prevent the very scenario recently contemplated. In particular, a contributor may only modify the software and distribute that contribution if they have agreed to the full text of the GPLv2. (“By modifying or distributing the Program… you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying the Program or works based on it.”) Part of the grant from the contributor is an irrevocable license to that person's contribution, provided that the downstream user complies with the conditions on the license grant. (“Parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.”). The contributor is, of course, free to make no future grants, but they can’t withdraw past grants. The Guide's new section also explains how promissory estoppel is an additional legal safeguard ensuring the withdrawal of permission will not disrupt the use of those who rely on the software.
The old version 2. 0 already has this:
The parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain in full compliance.
I reckon it is sorted but we shall see, storm, teacup?
I thought there was something to this affect in the text of GPLv2, but I couldn't remember the exact words used, and my searches through the text were unsuccessful. I suppose I could have read the whole thing, front to back, but one can only handle reading the full text of a lengthy license every so often, and I had other higher priorities in my life. Anyway, this verifies what I thought: You can't revoke someones GPLv2 based permissions after having granted them to them. I'll edit my previous post to reflect this new information.
Ancient wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:01 am
Linus is gone, the lead Kernel developer is out (who isn't Linus), others are out. If anything this is going to adversely affect Linux development.
Such restructuring could well result in delays and/or poorer workmanship for a while, but this isn't permanent by any means.
Ancient wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:01 am
Google is working on a non-Linux based Android replacement with all Google proprietary code. Google will be out. This may affect Amazon as it's using an Android variant.

If large companies develop new private code not to be shared, it'll have a negative effect on a lot of open software development.
A large contributor (e.g. Google) moving away from Linux could also hamper continued development to a certain degree, but by no means does this mean the end of Linux, and/or other Open Source projects/philosophies.
Ancient wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:01 am
Particularly if there is any reasonable threat of litigation.
Ancient wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:06 am
dizt3mp3r wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:45 pm
It sounds as if a developer could contribute code as the original author just in order to hold the project to ransom later. A kernel developer could be bought by MS or an organisation that has an axe to grind against ReactOS, then he could threaten to pull his code at any time effectively holding the WHOLE project to ransom.

It would make contribution of source code under GPL2 a potentially valuable commodity... I can imagine companies going out and purchasing the rights to originally authored code under GPL2 just so they could monetise it in this way.

I'd suggest the dev team really think about this. Could be the end of open source as we know it...
Heck MS and Google already contribute a lot to Linux, they don't need to have hidden embedded contributors, if rescission is possible for GPL 2, they can yank a ton of code. Is any code here, or any WINE code vulnerable? Does Google or a Google employee who helped here own parts of RoS copyright licensed under GPL 2, can pull it?? There is likely to be a litigation mess for years. This should be resolved, but they should have moved to GPL 3 years ago. In litigation world deep pockets help a lot. Google has very deep pockets. What will large corporate Linux users / contributors do?
As stated previously, GPLv2 does have safeguards against a contributor revoking someones GPL based permissions, they're just not stated in the same words as can be found in the text of GPLv3.
Quim wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 4:59 am
So... what would ReactOS developers do?
Re-licence all possible code as GPL v3 ?
Ancient wrote:
Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:12 am
YES, any code made by an RoS developer who is willing to re-license it in GPL 3 will be helping to avoid grief if anything in a court (likely a U.S. court) gets goes off the rails. Any code which is a modification of GPL-2 licensed code, may not legitimately be copyrightable by a subsequent developer to the extent any GPL-2 code owned by someone else is included. Only the direct owners can license under GPL-3. RoS may do well here, depending on how much GPL-2 code it has from elsewhere vs self created code.

It may be a good policy to require GPL-3 code only for future additions to RoS. Just a suggestion, I am not a developer, and am here to discuss stuff but do not develop.
Changing to GPLv3 would be quite an ordeal, considering how many inactive previous developers would have to contacted for permission prior to such a change happening. Also, some may not want their work to be published under GPLv3, as GPLv3 is more restrictive in some ways than GPLv2.

From what I can tell there's really little to no threat to ReactOS or Linux in simply sticking with GPLv2, as they already are.
I reserve the right to ignore any portion of any post if I deem it not constructive or likely to cause the discussion to degenerate.

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