Subject: Re: OVPL - time for the client to speak directly?
From: David Ryan <>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 11:13:41 +1100


>> All, just an observation that this list has probably seen
>> more traffic about OVPL than any other license (or any two, three,
>> or four licenses) ever submitted, yet none of the traffic
>> so far has been directly with the principals who are driving
>> the license.  My understanding is that Alex Bligh is representing
>> OVPL on behalf of an unnamed client.
I'm sure you already know this but the OVPL was put forward by both Alex 
and myself. 

I had planned to use the OVLPL to release a Argot.  Argot is a binary 
encoding method which includes the ability to encode a meta data 
description of the data with the data.  Argot goes further and encodes 
the description of the meta data using the same binary data encoding.  
Argot creates a fully self referencing data description down to the last 
byte.  If you want more information you can visit the web site

The reason the OVLPL was important to me was exactly because Argot is a 
binary data encoding.  If we allow people to fork the code we create a 
situation where the meta data used to describe data may change and 
become incompatible.  The OVLPL provided the opportunity to ensure 
compatibility by using meta data from forked projects. Given the other 
constraints of the OSD this was the only hope I had to ensure some 

The second reason the OVLPL was important was because I did want to 
create a business model which would result in some income.  The OVLPL 
allowed me to charge for commercial license in those situations where a 
company was distributing code based on the runtime library.  The flip 
side of this was that I wanted to ensure people developing open source 
software could use the same library.  Instead of using the GPL and 
reducing the license choice to only the GPL, I wanted a license which 
would allow the library to be used in any OSI approved license.  I still 
believe that this type of license would still be a valuable addition to 
the currently available licenses (ie without the license back provision).

Much like Java, the importance of keeping compatibility has really 
driven the license choice.  In some ways I still had reservations about 
the OVLPL, however, was willing to compromise for the OSI logo.  As 
mentioned earlier, now that the OVLPL has been rejected I must 
re-evaluate the methods I can use to ensure compatibility.

> I'd like to repeat publicly what I said in my message to the board, and
> thank people for the time and effort they put in to reviewing OVPL. I'd
> further like to add that despite my occasional criticism about process 
> and
> transparency at the OSI, we had a very useful teleconference with Russ 
> and
> Danese, who I'd like to thank particularly, prior to the last board
> meeting. Without making this into the oscars, I'd also particularly 
> like to
> thank Simon Phipps at Sun and the other CDDL folks for their time. I know
> there is a view that this outcome (largish project licensed under GPL
> rather than a license some see as not in the spirit of open source) is a
> success for open-source, rather than a waste of everyone's time, and I'd
> tend to agree, though I suspect the issue of mandatory license-back 
> has not
> gone away for good.

I'd like to echo Alex's words, and thank the OSI board, Russ, Danese, 
Simon, and everyone else on the license discuss list for their efforts 
and discussion regarding the OVPL.  I too have had my criticisms of the 
process, especially the length of time this answer has taken to 
achieve.  I think I've made that clear enough in previous emails. 
However, I am very happy that if nothing else the OVPL has made clearer 
how the Open Source Definition should continue to be interpreted. 

> Our current plan is to leave it (the site) as is, so that people
> may borrow from it etc. as they wish. However, I (personally) do not 
> expect
> to be pushing the issue myself and further filling Russ's inbox on the
> subject - a matter of which I'm sure he will be glad :-)
I have updated the site with the following news:

"After months of deliberation, the OSI has finally decided to reject the 
OVPL and OVLPL. They consider them not to meet the Open Source 
Definition. Therefor, we do not recommend that people use the OVPL or 
OVLPL for open source projects.

If you find that the OVPL or OVLPL meet your needs you are free to use 
the license text. We request that you change the name of the license and 
provide a legal entity as the license steward."

If anyone has suggestions for an open vendor web site transformation 
into something more useful than a historical OVPL tomb stone, please 
feel free to contact me.


David Ryan. aka Oobles.