Re: FW: [Nvda-devel] FW: [nvda] eSpeak/eSpeakNG GPL3 but NVDA GPL2?


Marshall handheld Flax
 

Thank you!  To summarize the email trail:

1. The NVDA developers have well-thought-out reasons why they wish to remain GPL2 (which of course is their right).  They have some problems with GPL3, but are more worried that GPL4 (if/when it is created) could have entirely unacceptable provisions.  In addition, NV Access is not assigned copyright on contributions to NVDA, so it would be a nearly-impossible project to get every developer who ever added code to NVDA to grant permissions to change from GPL2 to "GPL2-or-later" (or even from GPL2 to "GPL2-or-3").

2. They had a specific additional license from the original eSpeak developer to include it within NVDA, so there was no problem using the pre-fork eSpeak.

3. The core NVDA team will reach out to the eSpeakNG developers to get a similar dispensation (building upon the original eSpeak dispensation), which would resolve everything.  (Note: I'm not sure whether that dispensation would allow specifically allow inclusion within "NVDA" or more generally within any GPL2-licensed system.)  

As always, thanks for NVDA...may it last 1000 years!

Marshall

p.s. For those who are wondering why this is an issue: the problem isn't that an eSpeakNG developer would complain about NVDA...the problem is that some risk-adverse corporation might one day have a policy blocking the use of inconsistently-licensed software (because of the theoretical risk) and that NVDA might therefore be blocked from such employee's desktops.  

On Sun, May 14, 2017 at 8:40 PM, Joseph Lee <joseph.lee22590@...> wrote:

Hi,

To whoever asked about this, please read the below emails to their entirety.

Cheers,

Joseph

 

From: Travis Siegel [mailto:tsiegel@...]
Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2017 4:57 PM
To: NVDA screen reader development <nvda-devel@....net>
Subject: Re: [Nvda-devel] FW: [nvda] eSpeak/eSpeakNG GPL3 but NVDA GPL2?

 

Ok, that makes sense. 

Not sure it's an actual problem waiting to happen, but folks do have the ability to surprise, so I guess it'll have to do.

On 5/14/2017 7:29 PM, James Teh wrote:

What you suggest might result in forks which are GPL 3, in which case we couldn't pull in any of the affected code. That means that the fork benefits from our code without us being able to do the same. Also, there's still the concern of what future versions of the GPL might bring. Sure, the hardware restriction isn't so bad in most cases, but what if GPL 4 brought something we were 100% opposed to in all cases? We would not want anyone to redistribute under those terms in that instance.

 

On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 9:16 AM, Travis Siegel <tsiegel@...> wrote:

hmm, so because moving to gpl3 as a whole would restrict people from locking down the program, you're opposed to it? Seems a bit odd for a program that is trying to be used as widely as possible.  I get the whole folks might want to be proprietary thing, that's why the (or at your option) could allow others to use gpl3 if so desired, without restricting NVDA itself.  Keeping nvda itself at GPL2, but allowing others to redistribute it under GPL3 wouldn't prevent commercial usage with drm content, as they could simply distribute under GPL2 terms.  I understand the argument, but the whole (at your option) doesn't mean folks have to use GPL3, it only means they can if so desired.

I don't see this as a problem, but perhaps there's things I'm not aware of as regards NVDA and it's various libraries/plugins.

 

On 5/14/2017 6:34 PM, James Teh wrote:

This is not at all pedantic; it's important that such things are clear and transparent.

1. NVDA is quite intentionally not GPL 3. The reason is that GPL 3 does not permit hardware to prevent installation of modified copies of the software. Our concern is that this might prevent NVDA from being used in some cases which might provide benefit to the project; e.g. television products. Note that Linux and other notable projects refused to switch to GPL 3 for similar reasons. See the Wikipedia article on Tivoization and this excerpt from a video interview with Linus Torvalds for more info.

2. Licensing to GPL 2 or later would thus allow NVDA to be used under terms we do not agree with. This might not be so bad for GPL 3 - the use cases where the hardware restrictions apply are pretty limited for us - but there are no guarantees that some future version of the GPL won't include something we disagree with further still.

3. Changing NVDA's license would require permission from all copyright holders. Given the large number of contributors and the fact that we do not require copyright assignment, this is extremely difficult to coordinate and it's likely that at least someone would not approve.

4. We requested and received permission from Jonathan Duddington to use eSpeak with NVDA, despite the GPL 3's incompatibility with GPL 2. This was fine for eSpeak given that he was the sole copyright holder. However, this does raise a concern for eSpeak NG which we did not hitherto consider. We will need to look into this.

Jamie

 

On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 7:44 AM, Travis Siegel <tsiegel@...> wrote:

I have to strongly agree here.  GPL3 is a much cleaner license than GPL2, and much easier to understand for nonlawyer types.  It's basically the same thing as GPL2, only stated more susinctly, and it addresses the ability to link with other software more clearly, as well as relaxing teh terms upon which software can be linked and distributed.  I have to think this would be a good thing for NVDA, since it's entire purpose is to get is used by as many people as possible.  I've personally not had any issues with any of the gpl licenses, but I have read all kinds of complaints, stories, and general gripes (as well as a wealth of wrong information) about various gpl licensing terms.  I believe the GPL3 addresses most of these issues, and would make for cleaner implementation of licensing if it were adopted.  If changing to GPL3 isn't possible, then by all means, add the (or at your option, any later license) into the program, so it's not restricted to GPL2, and folks will then be allowed to use GPL3 if so desired. 

In my opinion, this can only help.

The views above are my own, and reflect no information gathered elsewhere.  I have not done a comparison of GPL2 vs GPL3, so I can't state for certain the differences, this comes from my (admittedly) rather rattled memory, since it's been several months since I've read the GPL2 through in full, (I make it a habbit to do so periodically, though I'm a bit late on this one), so perhaps some of my recollections are flawed, but based on memory, of the GPL2 license, I'm all for converting entirely to GPL3, (or adding the later phrase) to the license terms.  Anyone is of course welcome to their interpretations of such, and I'm not an expert on GPL licenses, so feel free to correct or rebuff where necessary.

 

On 5/14/2017 12:19 PM, Joseph Lee wrote:

Hi,

Any comments on this? Thanks.

Cheers,

Joseph

 

From: nvda@nvda.groups.io [mailto:nvda@nvda.groups.io] On Behalf Of Marshall handheld Flax
Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2017 6:17 AM
To: nvda@nvda.groups.io
Subject: [nvda] eSpeak/eSpeakNG GPL3 but NVDA GPL2?

 

Two questions:

1. Should https://www.nvaccess.org/about/nvda-features/ be changed from pointing to http://espeak.sourceforge.net/ to pointing to https://github.com/espeak-ng/espeak-ng?

2. Both the Sourceforge and "espeak-ng" versions of espeak are currently licensed "GPL3 (or later)".  But NVDA itself is licensed under "GPL2" -- at least according to https://github.com/nvaccess/nvda/blob/master/copying.txt, which reads "NVDA is available under the GNU General Public License version 2, with two special exceptions." However, https://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.en.html#GPLCompatibleLicenses reads in part: "Please note that GPLv3 is not compatible with GPLv2 by itself. However, most software released under GPLv2 allows you to use the terms of later versions of the GPL as well."  Would it be possible for NVDA to change their license.txt to be "NVDA is available under the GNU General Public license 2 (or later), with two special exceptions"?  

 

I know this sounds pedantic, but it might be good to reflect upon the history of the eSpeakNG project itself...there was of course difficulty in deciding to branch (after the original developer because unavailable), but there was never any question as to whether it was legally possible -- all since all of the original code was consistently GPL licensed.  It would be worthwhile to make NVDA as similarly ironclad.

 

Thank you so much!

 

Marshall



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