Please help me out
bruce at perens.com
bruce at perens.com
Fri Apr 30 22:56:14 UTC 1999
I've included some analysis here, and some serious questions for you.
Can you please explain why you feel it is necessary to produce yet
another license? Will none of the existing licenses, even several of
them offered in parallel, let you do what you wish? Have you considered
the license-to-license incompatibilities that you are introducing, and
the additional complexity for the free software community introduced by
their having to deal with yet another license?
It doesn't look as if you're a lawyer. I'm afraid you are going to
need to consult one to craft an _enforcable_ license of this degree
The license appears to be an NPL/MPL derivative, with some APSL 1.0
derivation as well.
2.4 is vague regarding what license Licensee can apply to Modifications
produced by Initial Developer and Other Contributors. It might be interpreted
as "any license at all", including public domain. If that's what you mean, say
3.1 Is very problematical. You discuss how the licensee can "limit
the rights of others". This is way too vague, it could apply to rights
that have nothing to do with the Software or Modifications, which you have
no control over. Instead of "rights", discuss the _license_terms_ that
Licensee may apply to the Software and Modifications. You might state it
something like this:
Licensee must apply this license to the Software and
Modifications, and may optionally apply another license to the
Software and Modifications. If Licensee transmits a different
license to any recipient, he must accompany that license with a
written offer to provide the software and modifications under
the Larson Software Free Edition License Version 1.0, or any
But even this is very problematical. If I recieve the Software from a
Contributor under a _different_license_ as permitted under 3.1, and I
decline the offer to accept it under the LSFEL, am I required to offer
the LSFEL to the next person to whom I distribute the Software? If so,
the Contributor whom I recieved it from must be compelled to write that
term into their license, and they must compel all to whom they transmit
the license to write that term into their licenses, ad infinitum. Your
terms don't say that.
3.2: I can avoid this provision by packaging the program along with
hello_world.c . See what I wrote about the Artistic License in
http://www.hams.com/OSD.html . You have fallen into the same trap they did.
It's best to simply delete this requirement.
3.4 As far as I know, "All Rights Reserved" is mutually exclusive with a
license - it's effectively "hands off". You might say "All Rights Reserved
except those conveyed by the license herein."
4.1: This is the odious reporting requirement that Apple just dropped.
It's been demonstrated that this won't fly with the Open Source community.
I suggest you substitute the approach taken by the APSL version 1.1: Rather
than require that you send them a copy of every modification, Apple now
requires that you register where any modifications you produce can be found.
See http://www.publicsource.apple.com/modifications.html . This has advantages
for both you and the recipient:
a. Developers can notify you _once_ and then produce modifications on a
continuing basis, and you always know where to find them. This drasticaly
lowers the overhead on distribution creators (like Debian and Red Hat)
in that they need not, every time they revise a package or distribute a
beta version, determine if the package contains any modifications that
must be sent to someone due to a notification requirement. An
all-volunteer distribution like Debian might be seriously encumbered if
many vendors required notification after _each_ change.
b. You won't be deluged with submissions of software.
Most Linux distributions would probably err on the excessive side and
send you their entire systems (gigabytes in size) rather than stop to
classify where the Larson code is in those distributions. Individual
developers also have told me that they'd deal with this sort of
notification clause by sending too much code.
c. A list of URLs is a lot easier for everyone concerned to read and make use
of than a ton of unclassified patch files.
5.2 No obligation of any sort to licensee? Not even the obligation to honor
a license? Is this not tantamount to placing Modifications in the public
domain? You come close to that in a few other places, too.
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