Subject: Re: For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 27 Sep 2003 09:19:59 -0700

Sean Chittenden <> writes:

> > What I'm trying to understand is why you say that incorporating BSD
> > code in a proprietary product is a good thing and simulataneously
> > say that incorporating BSD code in a GPL product is a bad thing.
> Changes made to the BSD code by the authors of the GPL product are
> changes that are available only under the GPL.

Yes, and changes made to the BSD code by the authors of a proprietary
product are changes that are only available to the authors of the
proprietary product.

What's the essential difference?

On a separate but related topic, I can write a license which says
``This source code may be used by anybody other than my direct
competitors.  If you modify this code, you may release source code for
the modifications, but you need not.''  Obviously such a license is
not open source, but it seems to me that I am permitted to take OSSAL
code and relicense it under those terms.  Then similarly a different
non-competitor could pick up my changes, change them further, and
release the new code under a license which forbids me to use it.  So
then somebody has taken my changes, made their own changes, released
their own changes in source code form, but I can't take advantage of
them, even though everybody else can.  I have to reimplement those
changes myself.  So I don't even see how the OSSAL protects against
the problem you say that you are most concerned about.

So I don't think you've managed to write a quid pro quo license.  I
think you've only managed to write a GPL sucks license.

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