Subject: Re: I want terms that are midway between proprietary and GPL
From: David Welton <>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 10:35:17 -0700

On Fri, Aug 28, 1998 at 01:13:54PM -0400, Frank Hecker wrote:
> David Welton wrote:
> > 
> > On Thu, Aug 27, 1998 at 03:36:49PM -0400, Brian Bartholomew wrote:
> > 
> > >    +-------------------------------------------------------------+
> > >    |  I want terms that are midway between proprietary and GPL.  |
> > >    +-------------------------------------------------------------+
> > 
> > Well, a couple of alternatives spring to mind:
> > 
> > The M(ozilla)PL, which, as far as I understand it, is like the GPL
> > for everyone but the original licenser.
> I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this.  The Mozilla Public License
> (MozPL) requires modifications to be redistributed, like the GPL), but
> defines "modifications" in such a way as to limit tainting more than the
> GPL does.  Under the MozPL, if you changed source code file foo.c in the
> original distribution, you would be required to resitribute those
> changes under the MozPL, but if you added a new file bar.c (which might
> be called by your new code in foo.c) then you would not be required to
> redistribute that new file under the MozPL.  (You could do so
> voluntarily, of course.)

Ah, thanks for the correction - I wasn't (obviously) real sure about
the MPL.

> However, under the MozPL doing this is possible whether you are the
> original developer and licensor, or someone else.  The MozPL makes no
> distinction in this particular regard.
> The distinction between original developer and others is more
> significant in the Netscape Public License, from which the MozPL was
> abstracted.  There are clauses in the NPL (in Amendment V) relating to
> rights under the license granted to the original developer but not to
> licensees in general; those particular clauses are not in the MozPL.

Ah, this must have been more what I was thinking of.

> > Or, you could license software under the GPL, but make sure that
> > people who contribute sign over their rights to you.  This way, you
> > could provide alternative licensing for those who desired.
> This is indeed a possible scheme in theory with the GPL (or with any
> other open source license, for that matter).  The problem in practice is
> securing the agreement of contributors for you to do this.  (Or, to put
> it another way, the problem is finding contributors who are willing to
> contribute under such a scheme.)

I think PHP does this, as well as several other things that I have
seen, mostly smaller programs, or software where the contributions of
others is relatively minor.

David Welton                 

	Debian GNU/Linux -