Intel's proposed BSD + Patent License

Russell Nelson nelson at
Mon Nov 5 15:31:44 UTC 2001

Randy Kramer writes:
 > Russell Nelson wrote:
 > > 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.
 > Russell,
 > Thank you, I agree that a vote against this license is appropriate.  I
 > don't understand all the issues, but if anything (like the patent
 > system) creates a situation where software licensed under an "open
 > source" license has less privileges than other software under open
 > source licenses (or software that doesn't have patent issues), I think
 > it would be inappropriate to call it open source.  

We can't and don't make that judgement.  We have a published list of
criteria -- the Open Source Definition -- by which we judge licenses.
Like anything else written, it is subject to interpretation.  We seek, 
in all cases, to not surprise anyone.  The OSD should reflect the
community's perception of what is open source and what is not.

We've changed the OSD before to match the community's expectations.
We'll change it again if necessary.  However, at any time, we have to
judge licenses by the OSD and nothing else.  If we are to reject a
license, it must be for non-compliance with some term of the OSD.

 > Is it the case that all other software licensed under an open source
 > license might become restricted if the underlying software includes
 > patented technology?

I see that you are starting to realize how awful the patent system is.

-russ nelson <sig at>
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