Wording in Open Source Definition

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Fri Feb 16 12:11:09 UTC 2001

Richard Boulton scripsit:

> We were unable to come to a satisfactory agreement, so I am asking this
> list:  "Is it permissible in any circumstances for an Open Source license
> to require a royalty or other fee for sale of the software?"

The answer is clearly "no".

> If the answer is no, I humbly suggest that the "may not" be changed to
> "must not" where it appears in clause 1, and that "free" be changed to
> "free-of-cost" in the rationale for clause 1, to avoid others falling into
> this same argument.

I think you are absolutely right, and "may not" should be changed to
"must not" everywhere.

As evidence that "may not" means "must not" in this document, however,
consider clause 6.  The second sentence purports to be an example of
the general principle given in the first sentence, yet the second
sentence reads "may not" where the first reads "must not".

John Cowan                                   cowan at ccil.org
One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore
	--Douglas Hofstadter

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