request for approval of APOSSL

dave sag dave.sag at
Wed Mar 6 12:23:34 UTC 2002

At 5:23 PM -0500 5/3/02, Forrest J. Cavalier III wrote:
>  > in pseudocode
>>  clause 4
>>  if (haveNoPermissionToUseterm("pronoic"))) {
>>          if (useterm("pronoic")) {
>>                  noProblem();
>>          } else {
>>                  notInTheSpiritOfIt();
>>          }
>>  } else {
>>          noProblem();
>>  }
>Look, if you have no permission to use the term "pronoic"
>then you may not legally use it.  You can't end up at
>the first "noProblem()" statement, because you have already
>asserted you don't have permission to use the term.

there is a huge difference between having permission to use a term, 
and being able to legally use it.  I do not own the word pronoic, and 
have no authority to mandate its use, except in the case where I am 
asked for said permission.  in such a situation the authority to 
grant that permission has been vested in my by the asker, else why 
would they bother asking?  in this case I choose to use this 
authority to deny the request.  if you go on and use the term pronoic 
then there isn't much i can do to stop you, other than point out that 
it is not in the spirit of the licence and encourage you to act 

>I dislike pseudo code analogies when it comes to law and
>licenses.  (You understand Godel's proofs, so I don't have to
>tell you why.)  I don't think you have pseudocoded version
>1.2 either.

me too, but John seemed to think it would clarify things.

>I don't think version 1.2 has clarified much, and although
>the wording problems are different, there are still

no the problem is that I want this licence to behave in a manner that 
is slightly unconventional wrt traditional approached to IP 
ownership.  It is this desire that seems to be causing confusion.

>Courts don't take "unreachable clauses" lightly.  They
>will do something unpredictable, but they will resolve it.
>No developer wants to expose themselves to unpredictable
>licensing clauses.

as i have discussed above the clause is not unreachable, but hardly reachable.

>Since you made such a major mistake in version 1.0,
>I am finding it hard to pay attention to 1.1 and 1.2
>which you produced within hours.  You must not have
>run it by anyone else.

v1.0 is the licence we have been using for about a year internally. 
it is only since yesterday when I started to solicit feedback that I 
realised that it was not actually what we wanted to say.  funny how 
you can assume things are fine for ages and then as soon as you 
really look you can be so wrong.  i grant you I made the changes 
quickly, but having slept on it and re-read the licence and the 
arguments posted both on and off this list against parts of the 
licence I am now satisfied that v1.2 of the APOSSL captures the 
meaning we want.

>Everyone is busy.  This list is not a controller for a
>genetic algorithm which is writing licenses.

nope.  it's a list for people to discuss proposed OSSLs.  I know you 
are all busy and i do appreciate the feedback I have been getting. 
My desire is quite clear.  to make sure that the licence we release 
our code under both satisfies our own desires and is a valid OSSL.

>Be careful.  I am beginning to think that your interest is
>playing a game with license discuss, and that you have no
>interest in OSI approval.

I will be careful.  I'd hate you people to think I am just yanking 
your chain.  While I do appreciate that this is a non-traditional 
licence, and will not suit every need, it clearly suits our needs and 
I believe it to be a valid OSSL.

the basic ideas are as follows:

APOSSL is a BSD style licence save for the following special points.

* the name of the software should not include or Pronoic Ltd.

* the software should be described as being pronoic unless you ask 
for permission to use the term pronoic.  in that case your request 
will be denied.

it is this last point which seems to be causing some consternation. 
while it is a non-traditional notion, it is not against the spirit of 
an OSSL and in fact is helpful in that it further legitimises notions 
of pronoia and pronoic thinking.  It is thus distinct from other 
OSSLs as none of them, to my knowledge, have this as one of their 

As far as I am aware, having slightly off-beat goals is not a reason 
to deny an OSSL such accreditation.  In an offlist email I have been 
accused of simply trying to litter the OSSL domain space.  I refute 
this.  I am trying to seek approval for a new licence that addresses 
points that are not addressed by any other licence.  Whether or not I 
am the only person to ever deploy software under such a licence is 
irrelevant.  A licence is not a popularity contest.



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