Ariadne Conill of Alpine Linux published this article today, which I agree with wholeheartedly:

I'm a fan of the GNU GPL, especially version 3. I actually think version 3 is the best version, for several reasons. The events of 2021 have made me worry about GPLv4 and what that might bring, if it ever comes about, so I'm interested in removing the "or later" clauses, whenever permissible to do so, in my own projects.

@libreleah "When the “or later version” clause was first introduced to the GPL, it was unthinkable that the Free Software Foundation could ever be in such a state of affairs, but now it is." — this is wrong. The „similar in spirit“ part is explicitly in there to prevent that problem.

The FSF already forsaw that such problems could come, and that part of the license protects against that.


@libreleah I now wrote a reply to the article:

Because I learned the hard way that a comment written somewhere usually gets lost in noise.

Please use the “or any later” option of the GPL. There is already considerable damage from GPLv2-only licensing.

We once spent enormous effort in a process that took several years to move Mercurial from GPLv2-only to GPLv2-or-later to enable compatibility with the Apache license. Such problems will come again if you use GPLv3-only.

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