Intel's proposed BSD + Patent License

Russell Nelson nelson at
Mon Nov 5 03:05:23 UTC 2001

Karsten M. Self writes:
 > on Fri, Nov 02, 2001 at 05:34:48PM -0500, Russell Nelson (nelson at wrote:
 > > The BSD+Patent license doesn't restrict use either.  The patent system 
 > > restricts use.  The BSD+Patent license grants use.
 > The patent license creates an explicit class of works under which the
 > software is not freely utilizeable.

No it doesn't.  The patent *system* creates this class of works.

 > The tying of the patent clause to the license of the software
 > itself means that collectively, the licenses for copyright and
 > patent discriminate against fields of endeavor (any non-OS work),
 > OSD section 6.

If the patent grant applies to you, then you have something more than
an open source license.  If the grant doesn't apply to you, then you
have merely an open source license (BSD).  Yes, it discriminates, but
both classes are operating under an open source license.

I think we could put forth a clear case for going either way on this.
Given how controversial it is, I think I'm going to vote against it.

 > There's also the issue of the patent restriction raising compatibility
 > issues with the GPL.  I don't believe it's the purview of the OSI to
 > consider license interactions, but if the patent license fails to meet
 > the requirements for GPL distribution, then it's utterly void, and the
 > license as drafted doesn't allow for *any* distribution. 

May very well be.

-russ nelson <sig at>
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