Response to comments on Intel's proposed BSD+Patent license

Stamnes, Michelle michelle.stamnes at
Thu Nov 1 01:31:29 UTC 2001

There seem to be a number of comments on the BSD+ Patent license we have
proposed that claim that the license is not "open" because it only licenses
a specific product; i.e., Linux.  

First, this is not true.  The patent license that is extended is for ANY OS
that is licensed under the GPL.  It may be Linux or any other OS that is
licensed under GPL.

Second, and far more fundamental, all of the threads seem to agree:

1. BSD is a copyright only license.
2. BSD grants NO rights to patents.
3. BSD is an open license.

It is not logical to say that a license that grants MORE rights than the BSD
is not "open".  If you use the software in an OS licensed under GPL, you
also get a patent license on the use of that software.  For the sake of
example, let's assume that instead of granting the additional value of a
patent license from Intel, the proposed license said "If you use the
software in an OS that is licensed under the GPL, Intel will pay you $100".
The license merely provides an incentive for a particular use, but does not
prohibit other uses.  Now, change the value to being a patent license.  That
does not change the fact that there is additional value; it is just value of
a different form. How is that not an open license?  

Finally, under the proposed license, you can use the software in Solaris or
any other proprietary OS or in any other piece of software (in addition to
the GPL based OS's).  You just don't have a patent license; so you are no
worse off than with the BSD license.

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