Backlog assistance?

David Johnson david at
Sat Sep 22 22:18:15 UTC 2001

On Saturday 22 September 2001 02:17 pm, Greg London wrote:

> The OSD has 11(?) requirements.
> how hard would it be to come up with a minimal license
> that defines these requirements. THen if you want to
> create your own license, you inherit the minimal license
> and add to it.

It's not as easy as that. Consider the following license: "You are permitted 
to redistribute, modify and copy this software without restriction". Bingo! 
It meets the definition. But it would make a lousy "base class". Even the 
simplest clause added to it would greatly change its meaning.

Another disadvantage to license inheritance is that it would encourage 
further license proliferation. Three licenses descended from a base license 
is STILL four licenses.

A far better solution would be to encourage "template" licenses, and work 
towards converting existing licenses into templates. The BSD license is a 
good example of a simple one.

In my seldom humble opinion, the existing license set encompasses the 
complete Open Source domain. There may be a few bare spots here and there, 
but by and large if you need a certain set of permissions and restrictions, 
an existing license will do.

Looking back a couple of years on this list, it seems that 9 out of 10 
licenses submitted did not meet the letter or spirit of Open Source. Of those 
that did, most consisted of either trivial changes or rewrites of existing 

David Johnson
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