Approval request, DSPL v1.1

Matthew C. Weigel weigel+ at
Sat Oct 13 18:54:51 UTC 2001

On Sat, 13 Oct 2001, Julian Hall wrote:

> Following comments I received on version 1.0 of the DSPL, I have
> prepared a revision for submission for approval.

Here are my comments:

Section 3, "use of the software," seems to be fairly irrelevant. 
Surely simply saying "use of the software is not restricted by this
license" would be sufficient?

Section 4.1, "...and it is obvious that no charge is made for the
Software in and of itself."  It's not clear to me whether this violates
the Free Redistribution clause of the OSD.  It is my sense that people
should be, in all cases, allowed to charge for distributing the
software (whether aggregated or not).  Additionally, the concern John
Cowan raised regarding requiring archiving to be in the company of free
software seems contrary to the OSD.  In general this clause seems too
concerned with limiting the ditribution terms of the software.

Section 5.1. I am somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of submitting
something for inclusion before knowing what your Merit Share might be. 
This is not an OSD issue, but I would recommend that - whether the
license is OSD-approved or not - you allow submitters to have some way
described in the license to bargain with the Executive Committee about
the value of their contribution, including allowing the submitter to
choose not to assign copyright if there is disagreement over the value
of the contribution.

Section 5.10.  Again, not an OSD issue, but what is the rationale for
not letting Authors split their Merit Shares in voting?

It is my impression that this licenes imposes too much structure and
ideology above and beyond distribution terms.  In particular, I would
suggest that pre-establishing a number of important by-laws for the
Committee guarantees low interest in your license.

It is my sense that you should seriously reconsider whether you want
this license to have the approval of the OSI, and to thereby impose the
additional complexity of another license upon the open source community
while actively pursuing a different ideology.

>      The DSPL is intended to allow commercial relicensing while
>      assuring developers that they will retain both control over
>      how their code is used, and that any profits from commercial
>      exploitation will be used in a manner that is fair.

Have you considered that, if you used the GPL (and did not ask
contributors to hand over copyrights to an Executive Committee), then
commercial relicensing could be accomplished just as well, without
*any* possibility for misrepresentation by the Executive Committee
(that is, each developer with copyright over a portion of the code
could nix the deal, rather than having to try to call a no-confidence
vote afterwards)?

Then, a) commercial relicensing is possible, b) developers retain
control over how their code is used, and c) any profits from commercial
exploitation will be used in a manner that each developer agrees with
(since the money will go to that developer, and not a committee, by
 Matthew Weigel
 Research Systems Programmer
 mcweigel at ne weigel at

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