Novell license revision

John Cowan jcowan at
Wed Mar 8 20:23:00 UTC 2000

Bruce Perens wrote:

> The enclosed Novell license revision is submitted for OSI approval and
> public discussion.

Thanks for posting this license.  It's interesting, and fairly
clearly Open Source.

I'm not clear on the actual intent of the license, however.  It seems like it
is meant to be GNU-style viral: any work containing parts licensed
under the NCL must be entirely licensed under the NPL.   If that is
the intent, then an exception should probably be created for the
GNU GPL so that the licenses are mutually compatible.  (The GNU GPL
does not exclude this license, as far as I can tell.)

OTOH, if it is really BSD-ish, then it should say so.  As far as I
can tell from reading it, releasing a binary containing unmodified
NCLed code (e.g. an NCLed library) plus restrictively licensed code
can be accompanied by (an offer of) a source-code library of merely
the NCLed parts.  The full source of such a program is a mere collection,
not a derivative work as such, so the NCL does not automatically
extend to it.


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan at>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  ||
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           ||
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

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