Intel's proposed BSD + Patent License

John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Nov 2 14:58:14 UTC 2001

Russell Nelson wrote:

> s/BSD/GPL/, burn a CD, and send it to me.  You are now using a
> GPL-licensed OS.  But that's besides the point, really.  The point is
> whether a license which is open source can become not so if a patent
> license is included with it.

Framed that way, certainly.  But can a license that discriminates
against certain classes of users be Open Source, even if it offers
*some* rights even to the discriminated-against group?

And no, I don't find the supposed parallel to the SISSL at all
convincing.  The SISSL offers a choice: keep your code proprietary
but open-standards, or deviate from the standards and publish your code.
This choice affects developers, not users.  The SISSL grants an
unlimited royalty-free patent license.

The Intel license affects users directly, limiting what they can use
the code for.  It prohibits extension or re-use of the code by
developers.  It breaches both the letter and the spirit of the OSD.
It ought not to be approved by OSI.

Not to perambulate             || John Cowan <jcowan at>
    the corridors               ||
during the hours of repose     ||
    in the boots of ascension.  \\ Sign in Austrian ski-resort hotel

license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list