Subject: Re: SOS license
From: (Bruce Perens)
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 12:25:11 -0800 (PST)

From: Brian Behlendorf <>
> "plain" and "unambiguous" are usually not compatible notions.

Yes. My major problem with the license structure is the way it says
you can't do something, and then lays out exceptions that allow you to
do just that thing in the next paragraph. It does this to the extent
that the license seems to be mainly composed of exceptions.

> I think the BSD, Apache, and Artistic licenses qualify under that
> one.

Although I'd strongly recommend you read my criticism of the Artistic at before you use it. And although you might object
to the GPL's length and ambiguity, it's been analyzed more than any other
license, there's a large body of software under it that could be mixed
with your code, and it gets modifications back to you, so I'd recommend the
GPL too.

The point at which this license is different from the BSD is that it requires
that changes go in patches, while the BSD lets you put them in the main thread.
Both licenses do not require you to put a specific license on your changes.
It also gives some additional protection to the author's "official" version,
but that is something that you can better do using trademark law instead of
copyright law.

Doubtless you've seen the problems we are seeing caused by the
proliferation of licenses that are all incompatible with each other. Your
license, for example, can't even be mixed with another program and
distributed as one piece. So, if we want to marry your code into another
program, the other program in its entirety must become a patch.

But if you won't release your software any other way, we'd be happier to see
it under this license than not free software at all. Just please keep in mind
the damage that having one more incompatible licenses does.