Subject: Re: For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License
From: John Cowan <>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 00:21:45 -0400

Ian Lance Taylor scripsit:

> That said, I don't see any reason why your license does not conform to
> the OSD.

I agree.

> >     3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
> >        should, in good faith, display the following acknowledgment:
> >     This product includes software developed by the <AUTHOR> and its contributors.
> > 
> > Discussion: Non-legally binding clause that asks for recognition, but
> > isn't required.
> With regard to this clause, your discussion says that it does not
> require recognition, but a plain reading of the clause is that
> recognition is required if any features or use of the software are
> mentioned.  Which is it?

The former.  Note the presence of "should" rather than "must" or "shall".

> >     4. Redistributions of source code may not be used in conjunction
> >        with any software license that requires disclosure of source
> >        code (ex: the GNU Public License, hereafter known as the GPL).
> This is also not entirely clear.  Perhaps you mean something like
> ``this source code may not be relicensed under any software license
> which requires disclosure of source code.''

Technically, source code is not (cannot be) normally relicensed.
What is meant is that derivative works in non-textual form can't be
licensed under a copyleft license, for an appropriate definition of

It would be better to word this "must not" rather than "may not", which
latter is subject to misreading.

John Cowan
If a soldier is asked why he kills people who have done him no harm, or a
terrorist why he kills innocent people with his bombs, they can always
reply that war has been declared, and there are no innocent people in an
enemy country in wartime.  The answer is psychotic, but it is the answer
that humanity has given to every act of aggression in history.  --Northrop Frye
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