Subject: Re: Questions to OSI Board quorum
From: David Barrett <>
Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 10:08:57 -0800

Chris Zumbrunn wrote:
> On Nov 14, 2005, at 8:56 PM, Russell Nelson wrote:
>>> Question 2) Would a license which requires all contributions to be
>>> licensed uner a BSD style license still be deemed descriminatory?
>> Probably not, because anybody could then do what they wanted with them.
>> The Apache license does something like this, but it's not a reciprocal
>> license, requiring all modifications to be contributed.
> This would not eliminate the asymmetry between the initial contribution
> and any subsequent contributions. OSD#3 says that the contributors
> must have the right to distribute their modifications under the same
> terms as the initial contributor. An open source license can not require
> subsequent contributions to be granted under terms that the original
> contribution was not granted under.

What about an 'opt-out' license -- contributors have the option of 
releasing code under the original license (with grant-back in place), or 
a modified license with no grant-back.

Thus the only "discrimination" in this license would be that it's 
disproportionally easy (but in no way required) to grant-back to the 
initial developer.

I favor this approach over the BSD approach, not only because it feels 
"cleaner" (having one license wholesale switch to another feels 
strange), but also because it helps the initial developer maintain 
license consistency in the main branch.  With the BSD approach, the main 
branch will gradually get taken over with BSD code, creating an auditing 
nightmare in the event there's question as to whether a block of code is 
BSD or OVPL.  With the opt-out approach, the initial developer rejects 
everything without the grant-back in place, and therefore there's no 
question that the main branch is pure OVPL.

And all this without threatening the communities "right to fork".

Would the OSI approve such a license?