Subject: Re: OVPL - wrap-up of objections
From: Chris F Clark <>
Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2005 15:30:07 -0400 (EDT)

Andy T Wilson (ATW) posted two objections to the OVPL, which he
summarized and I have extracted from below:

> The "contract" portion of OVPL creates a bi-lateral 
> agreement between the contributor and ID in which the contributor 
> (a) agrees to furnish the ID with all future contributor modifications 
> to covered code, and (b) agrees that the ID (and only the ID) 
> has rights to, at its option, re-license contributor 
> modifications on non-OVPL terms.

I'm going to ignore the issue of the ID being able to relicense the
code under other licenses.  From my point of view that is a desirable
quality.  However, as discussed, it may not be doable as part of a
license which is not a properly executed signed contract.  Even as a
developer who would be tempted to use the OVPL, I would still want to
have signed argeements for non-trivial submissions (and perhaps even 
agreements for trivial ones).

> ATW objection #2

> The mandatory license back to the ID is not in keeping with the
> open source principles.  As has been astutely pointed out by
> other readers of this thread, OVPL is a pay-to-play scheme.
> You may or may not pay in currency to work with OVPL code, but
> you certainly have to pay in code by pledging to deliver
> all modifications to the ID and allowing the ID to relicense
> them as proprietary code.  Pay-to-play, be it in cash or
> code, is not open source.

I think the important point here is the "all" modifications portion,
which has been disputed.  The OVPL as far as I can see, is trying to
prevent "shared secrets", that is donwstream versions that are shared
by a community but are secret to that community.  It is not clear that
preventing shared secrets is non-OSD.  (I think it fails one of the
criteria for being "free", but that is a separate topic.)

If the OVPL did not give the ID rights to relicense the contributed
software, would it still be objectionable?  Next, would it still be
distinct from other licenses?  Is there another license that allows
the ID to request modifications that have been distributed, but for
which source is not "generally available"?