namespace protection compatible with the OSD?

phil hunt philh at
Wed Apr 18 22:07:46 UTC 2001

On Tue, 17 Apr 2001, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> Let's say I created a specification for an interface in Perl; call it
> Foo::Bar.  Let's further say I published the specification, and a
> collection of code that implemented it, under a BSD-style license, with
> the sole added clause that any derivative work that changed the
> implementation in a way incompatible with the specification for that
> interface, needed to call its interface something else; it couldn't be
> Foo::Bar, but it could be Foo::Baz, or whatever.

I'm not familiar with Perl, so I'll attempt to translate this into C
for clarification.

I create a library in C. The interface is defined in mylibrary.h.
For someone to use my library, they must:

   #include "mylibrary.h"
The license for mylibrary contains a clause "if you create a derivative
work, you must rename mylibrary.h to something like yourlibrary.h". 

Is this this the gist of what you are saying wrt Perl?

The point of this is that any derivative work cannot be a plug-in
compatible, because users must change #include "mylibrary.h" to
something else.

> Why do this?  Because I wanted to make sure someone didn't take my code,
> slightly modify it in an incompatible way, and try to confuse the public
> about what the API Foo::Bar was supposed to do, whether intentional or
> unintentional.

I'm not sure what "incompatible" means here? What if my new improved
version was intended as a replacement, but which added new features
in a way that necessitated a degree of incompatibility?

> I suspect this would pass the OSD tests, but I wanted some validation of
> that.  I see it as a cross between the trademark-related covenants of the
> Apache license and the interface-changing clauses of the SISSL.

I don't know. In some cases I could see (if I have understood you
correctly), the restriction could be a way of preventing a fork of the
code. IMO, the ability to fork is a necessary part of an open source

***** Phil Hunt ***** 
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