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

Randy Kramer rhkramer at
Fri Nov 2 14:08:58 UTC 2001

I've skimmed this thread, but don't know if I got the point.  I'd like
to try to make a few simple statements and questions, and have somebody
tell me if I'm on the right page or not:

1. Use (and modification) of software can be restricted by copyright but
might also be restricted by patent (if the software uses something which
is patented).

2. The open source licenses attempt to give us (or avoid restricting)
our ability to use (and modify) software which might be copyrighted.

3. The Intel license is attempting to give us (or avoid restricting) our
ability to use (and modify??) software which might also be protected by

4. If I'm on the right track so far, is the Intel license (with respect
to the patent issue) more like the GPL, that is attempting to guarantee
that the software can never become proprietary?

If the above are true then:

1. Thank you Intel.

2. A question is whether the patent issue should be handled in the same
document as the software issue.  

As a potential user of the software, I would want to know (quickly and
easily) what rights I have or do not have if using that software.  

It could be handled either way, but if it is handled by separate
licenses for the copyright and patent issues, I think a summary
statement is required which addresses the overall rights of usage and
modification considering both the copyright license and the patent

Further, an organization like, dealing with the copyright
issues associated with different licenses, could be helpful in dealing
with the similar issues for a patent license.

Aside: I would feel cheated (misled, whatever) if I started to use
software that was open source (with the rights associated with the open
source license applied to that software), but some of those rights were
restricted by patent issues, especially if the licensing was so opaque
that I didn't realize that until later.

Randy Kramer

Forrest J. Cavalier III wrote:
> > 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.
> >
> Yes, that point was made already.  But why is it important for
> Intel to provide a patent grant from within the copyright license?
> They could be separate documents.
> It seems that your position is that the OSI board should approve
> the license based on the copyright license terms alone, and they
> should ignore the patent terms.  Many posters have indicated
> the patent license terms should also meet the spirit of the OSD.
> Do you agree?
> Your main point seems to be that the patent terms are "better
> than nothing."  But the bar for OSI approval is higher than that.
> There are "better than nothing" copyright licenses out there.
> (Including the "No commercial use" licenses.)  They are not OSI
> certified.
> --
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