Subject: Re: Submitting a new license or using the current ones
From: Chuck Swiger <>
Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 16:50:14 -0400

On May 6, 2004, at 3:20 PM, wrote:
> Chuck Swiger scripsit:
>> The list of OSI-approved licenses includes near-duplicates such as the
>> BSD license versus the SleepyCat license or the "University of
>> Illinois/NCSA Open Source License", for one thing.
> A tricky example, actually, since the Sleepycat license is reciprocal:
> you have to provide freely redistributable source to your applications
> that use Berkeley DB, unless you buy a commercial license from 
> Sleepycat.
> It's much more like the GPL, though without the "derivatives under GPL
> only" provision.

You're right.

I suppose I should have said, the Sleepycat license consists of a 
3-clause BSD license (copyrighted to the Regents of CA), a 3-clause BSD 
license (to Harvard), and a 2-clause BSD-license (to Sleepycat itself), 
plus the 3rd reciprocal clause which you describe above.  :-)

>> Others who have suggested that the list of approved licenses is going
>> to continue to grow are very likely right, but is that a problem?
> I see two problems:
> 1) Developer confusion.  With lots of licenses, it's hard to juggle 
> the rules
> in your head, and especially to know if you can create joint 
> derivatives of
> software under license A with software under license B.

Agreed.  The OSD would be more useful if one implication of being "OSI 
Open Source" meant approved licenses played nice with each other, but 
even that doesn't seem to be a point that everyone can agree with!

> 2) Partition of the commons.  The GPL creates a commons of software:
> programs that make use of GPL software have to stay within the commons.
> The OSL does the same, but incompatibly with the GPL (in the opinion 
> of the
> people promulgating the GPL, at any rate).

So the FSF people say, yes.  Well, the OSL is hardly unique in that 

> You can't mix'n'match GPL and OSL components.  The non-reciprocal 
> licenses don't cause a problem in this case, since they cross all 
> boundaries. one cannot mix'n'match GPL-licensed software with most of the 
OSD-approved licenses.

Well, to the extent that the current situation reflects what people 
using the GPL actually want (or what Larry Rosen wants :-), we're all 
going to have to live with it.  I'd imagine the FSF objects to OSL 
clause #10 and maybe #11?

>> If so, efforts to create license templates with a range of choices
>> which result in OSI Open Source-compatible terms, such as the Creative
>> Commons licenses, seem to be a good idea.  A similar effort could be
>> made to coalesce BSD-like licenses, GPL-derived licenses, and perhaps
>> others (the MPL?).
> Alas, you run up against Not Invented Here.

Goodness, yes.  Well, problems "Not Invented Here" are still problems 
that here has to face.


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