2

Section 14 of the GPL(v3) states:

  1. Revised Versions of this License.

The Free Software Foundation may publish revised and/or new versions of the GNU General Public License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns.

Each version is given a distinguishing version number. If the Program specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU General Public License “or any later version” applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that numbered version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If the Program does not specify a version number of the GNU General Public License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free Software Foundation.

If the Program specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of the GNU General Public License can be used, that proxy's public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Program.

Later license versions may give you additional or different permissions. However, no additional obligations are imposed on any author or copyright holder as a result of your choosing to follow a later version."

What is meant by "versions"?

If the Program specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of the GNU General Public License can be used, that proxy's public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Program."

What does this mean?

5
  • "Versions" means a potential GPL v3.1, v4, v5 and so on.
  • "Revisions" is not used in the text you have quoted.

With regards to the "proxy" paragraph, it is possible for you, the copyright holder to license a program with something like

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) at Philip Kendall's option any later version.

where the bold text replaces the "normal" struck through text. That would make me the proxy, and the paragraph specifies what counts as me exercising that option.

3
  • Thanks!! I still have some questions, what is meant by "that proxy's public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Program."? So if you were the proxy, does this mean that if you choose the GPLv3, it will be GPLv3 forever? – YummyChocolate123 Mar 30 at 21:02
  • 2
    @YummyChocolate123 In this answer's example the software is already under GPLv3 forever from the start, and a proxy can permanently allow recipients to use later versions (GPLv3.1, GPLv4, GPLv5), too. In that case, the later GPL versions that the proxy allowed can be used forever, yes. The GPL does not allow a proxy to take back permission to use some software under some later GPL version after it has granted permission. – apsillers Mar 30 at 22:34
  • @YummyChocolate123, regarding the "public statement" part, that means that if the proxy writes on their website that GPLv4 is acceptable to use, then you can use your copy of the software under the terms of the GPLv4, without there being any change to the software itself to note that it can be used under GPLv4. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Mar 31 at 5:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.