Subject: Re: I'm not supposed to use the ECL v2?
From: Matthew Flaschen <>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 15:27:06 -0500

Tzeng, Nigel H. wrote:
>> There's a whole category of licenses (actually, at least three
>> categories: "Special Purpose Licenses", "Non-reusable licenses",
>> "Licenses that have been voluntarily retired") listed at
>> <>
 that OSI discourages use of.
>> Educational Community License is on the Special Purpose List.
> Oddly ECL v2.0 is not on the category list.

True.  I was assuming ECL v2.0 would be in the same place since it was
meant to supersede ECL v1.0.

> The category list is somewhat out of date...and honestly not too useful.

True.  It should be updated.

> I know your dim view of NOSA from your actions on Wikipedia.

That's a separate issue.  What I said there was that NOSA isn't a free
license according to the FSF.  NOSA and ECL v2.0 are both Open Source
licenses according to OSI, and I never said otherwise.

> Sorry, but I also contribute under NOSA without the express permission of the OSI

> board.  So I guess I am an unrepentant and repeat special purpose license 
> offender.

You have the right to use either and say with full confidence they're
OSI-approved and your software is OSI-Certified.  I'm just asking you to
think about whether your using ECL v2.0 is good for the FOSS community,
and I'm asking OSI to think more carefully about approving licenses for
limited use.

>>> Prior to the Bayh-Dole Act it was a lot more informal...
>> And it still is, in practice.  I can give you a dozen examples of people
>> using the MIT license (which does have a patent grant, whether people
>> like it or not) without their institution's explicit approval.
> A lot of folks break the rules.  I suggest you might not be so approving
> if they were breaking the GPL's rules.
> That some folks break rules doesn't mean that it is not a concern or
> that the rules don't exist.

I'm well aware that the patent-licensing rules exist.  My sole point is
that the universities are /very/ inconsistent in enforcing them.  Also
note that MIT of course approved the MIT license itself for at least
some uses, despite the fact that it is (according to about everybody
except the /current/ MIT administration) a broad-based patent grant

> If there IS some expectation that no one else would use the ECL v2 then it would
> have been better to call it the Sakai/Kuali License and stick it in the Non-Reusable

> section.

As you noted, the category list hasn't been updated since September
2006, so the fact that ECL v2.0 isn't on there means nothing either way.

> Its also really easy to understand:  "This is Apache with this one change".
> ECL v2 should not be relegated to some secondary, merely tolerated, status that 
> no one else should use.  I hope this is not the position of the OSI.

I don't think the OSI has an official position on it.  Like I said, all
I would hope is that they privately think, "Maybe we shouldn't be so
convinced by the 'This is a temporary license for limited use' argument
next time."

Matt Flaschen