Subject: Re: For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 25 Sep 2003 10:07:56 -0700

Sean Chittenden <> writes:

> > > If the bits are OSSAL, a business can trust on the OSSAL bits always
> > > being OSSAL.
> > 
> > This would be automatically true by default operation of copyright
> > law, with or without OSSAL clause 6.  To reiterate: Licences over
> > other codebases used in combination with the OSSAL-covered code
> > _could not_ affect licence status of the OSSAL-covered portion of
> > the derivative codebase.  How could it?  Doing so would violate the
> > property rights of the OSSAL codebase's copyright owner.
> This doesn't mean it hasn't happened, however.  Having it explicitly
> stated doesn't hurt anyone, esp since this isn't the 1st time this has
> happened.

Since what happened there was a copyright violation (it has, of
course, since been resolved), the OSSAL would not protect against that
any more than the current BSD license does.  It was already a
copyright violation under the BSD license.  It would still be a
copyright violation under the OSSAL.

Your arguments about businesses don't make any sense to me since there
are certainly a number of businesses happily making money from GPL
software.  Here is what my version of what I think you are doing.

The reason that some people like the GPL is that it prohibits a
proprietary fork.  Open source code is always open source; that is
true no matter what license you use.  What the GPL prohibits is
somebody doing work on the GPLed code and distributing the result as
proprietary software.

The reason that some people like the BSD license is that it permits
proprietary forks.  They don't usually say it that way.  They usually
say that the software is maximally free/open.

The OSSAL appears designed to prohibit GPL forks.  It permits
proprietary forks, but prohibits GPL forks.  Since the main effect of
a GPL fork would be to prohibit proprietary forks of the forked code,
the effect of the OSSAL is to prohibit prohibiting proprietary forks.

So what you are trying to do is sort of a reverse copyleft (I don't
know what that would be called--not a copyright, but maybe a copyup or
copydown).  Copyleft code tries to prohibit proprietary forks ``to
make sure the software is free for all its users'' (quoting the GPL).
The OSSAL tries to prohibit prohibiting proprietary forks presumably
to make sure the software is always free to be available for use in a
proprietary fork.

This doesn't seem useful to me, but obviously I don't speak for the

Also obviously you can use your license whether or not the OSI blesses

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