Subject: Re: For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 24 Sep 2003 22:06:12 -0700

Sean Chittenden <> writes:

> I am not concerned about freedom of development to users/consumers
> (which is the aim of the GPL), I'm concerned about the freedom of
> development for businesses.

Your terminology is strange to somebody like me, who worked for many
years at a business which did very well using the GPL (Cygnus).  It's
difficult for me to understand just who you mean when you use the word
``business.''  It seems to me that your license is Cygnus-unfriendly
in more or less the same way that the GPL is Microsoft-unfriendly.

> > >     5. Redistributions of source code in any non-textual form (i.e.
> > >        binary or object form, etc.) may not be linked to software that is
> > >        released with a license that requires disclosure of source code
> > >        (ex: the GPL).
> > 
> > This may preclude running the software on any system which uses
> > glibc, such as GNU/Linux.  Perhaps this is your intent.
> Correct.  Most Linux distributions with GPL'ed libc's will be unable
> to run OSSAL software unless their libc is LGPL'ed (which is
> unimpaired or affected by OSSAL): a non-issue for BSD or OS-X users.

If I understand this correctly, you should clarify point 5 to explain
that the disclosure of source code in question is the OSSAL source
code, not the source code of the software to which it is linked.  When
I read clause 5 above, it says that you can not link OSSAL code which
LGPL code, because the LGPL does require the release of source code:
it requires the release of the source of the code licensed under the

> Discussion: As stated above, I wish to preserve the business
> friendliness of all modules.  Man hours and resources are precious and
> duplication of work by anyone is foolish.  This ensures that all open
> source modules are available to other businesses.

And yet if your license is adopted widely it requires the duplication
of work by people who prefer the GPL, in precisely the same way that
the GPL requires the duplication of work by people who do not prefer
the GPL.  So I think that your license really does not promote what
you say it promotes.

> Right now open source works in favor of individuals, but not for
> businesses.

I'm sorry, but this is nonsense.  The whole point of open source, as
opposed to free software, is to support businesses.

> OSSAL is intended for businesses and is just as open
> source as FreeBSD.

OSSAL may be just as open source as FreeBSD in the technical sense
that it follows the OSD.  However, it is not as open as FreeBSD, nor
as free as FreeBSD.

> Unfortunately, too many people confuse Open Source
> with the GPL and/or Linux and I think the OSD correctly skirts this
> very issue and makes OSI more creditable in the process (thus averting
> the phrase, GNU Source/Linux Source vs. Open Source/Business Source).

That fact that some people may have such a confusion is a reason to
educate them.  It is not a reason to promote a license which weakens
the open source community.

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