Apache vs. BSD licenses

kmself at ix.netcom.com kmself at ix.netcom.com
Wed Mar 21 05:43:30 UTC 2001

on Tue, Mar 20, 2001 at 07:43:31PM +0000, David Johnson (david at usermode.org) wrote:
> On Tuesday March 20 2001 06:12 pm, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> > Stallman has indicated to me that clause 4 ("Apache" may not be used to
> > endorse) will be compatible with the GPL v3, but clause 5 ("Apache" may
> > not appear in the product name) will not. 
> Why is it always the non-GPL license that must conform? Why is the GPL never 
> criticized for being incompatible?

The GPL specifies a set of requirements, and, to further its objectives,
requires that they be adhered to -- they cannot be increased or
diminished.  If you think about it, any more flexible approach is likely
to lead to loopholes.

The other question is:  if your objectives align with those of the GPL
(copyleft, promotion of free software), why would you need a different
license?  This isn't an entirely rhetorical question.

Practically, one alternative that's being practiced with greatre
frequency is mutliple licensing, with the GPL or a GPL-compatible
license (usually the LGPL -- compatibility being accomplished by
deferring to the GPL when used in combination with other GPLd code).

I'm not sure what alternative constructs exist, one option might be a
license which specifies some sort of legal test.  The OSD is a possible
instance of same (though it's a meta license).  The IBM public license
also provides a somewhat similar test.

The problem with such a construct is you now have to go through and
legally analyze all licenses to see whether or not they satisfy the
test.  And come up with a way to deal with the possibility you'll have
to change your mind on such a decision down the road.

By specifying an immutable set of text (the GPL), the test is greatly
simplified.  Though some licenses are compatible by virtue of not adding
additional requirements to those of the GPL (revised BSD, MIT,
Artistic).  Meaning that a bit of analysis may be necessary even under
the current regime.

Karsten M. Self <kmself at ix.netcom.com>    http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
  http://gestalt-system.sourceforge.net/         http://www.kuro5hin.org
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