Subject: Re: For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 25 Sep 2003 09:44:08 -0700

Sean Chittenden <> writes:

I won't comment on what other people have already commented on.

> Let me clarify some vocabulary:
> people = home user or developer of applications out side of a
>          commercial entity working on a not for sale piece of
>          software.
> businesses = commercial developers interested explicitly in the
> 	 purpose of developing commercial applications and products.
> In the context of this discussion, the OSSAL is not interested in
> protecting the "work by people," it cares about work by businesses
> that is usable in its commercial products.  The OSSAL guarantees
> freely available resources to businesses.  If "people" is defined as
> above, "people" don't care if businesses use the same code as they're
> using for their program.  In fact, "people" would probably prefer
> OSSAL code over non-OSSAL code because it likely means that the OSSAL
> code has been looked over by someone who programs professionally, or
> that it has been used more widely and contains fewer bugs/more
> features.

I'll assume that when you say ``commercial'' above you mean
``proprietary.''  There is obviously plenty of commercial GPL
software, so that can't be what you mean.

You argue that ``The OSSAL guarantees freely available resources to
businesses.''  I really don't see it offers any such guarantee beyond
what the BSD license provides.  As far as I can see, the only
guarantee which the OSSAL provides, that the BSD license does not, is
the guarantee that nobody will ever distribute a binary in which OSSAL
code has been linked against GPL code.  I don't see how providing that
guarantee equates to ``guarantees freely available resources to

> > 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.
> It is just as free if you're a FreeBSD user and given that any of the
> BSD's.

You write this statement as though you are disagreeing with me, but in
fact you seem to be agreeing.

> Term 6 is
> intended to keep the GPL zealots from publishing 0.1 versions of code,
> then changing the license to be GPL'ed, thus diluting the value of
> OSSAL bits to businesses.

Can you explain how this dilutes the value of the OSSAL bits?  The
original OSSAL bits are still right there, still under the same
license they were under before.  Their value hasn't gone away at all.

> If the bits are OSSAL, a business can trust on the OSSAL bits always
> being OSSAL.

This would be just as true if you used the BSD license.

> > > 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.
> That's a topic for debate that is outside of the scope of this current
> discussion.  If you, or anyone else would like to entertain such
> discussions, please let me know and I will either entertain such
> discussions privately, or if there is enough interest, setup a
> dedicated list for this topic... but please, it's not appropriate
> here.  The OSI is not a political organization to advocate use of the
> GPL.  -sc

The OSI is a political organization ``dedicated to managing and
promoting the Open Source Definition for the good of the community.''
So I don't think that debate is off-topic for this list.

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