a proposed change to the OSD (potentially OT)

Mike Nordell tamlin at algonet.se
Fri Nov 1 02:11:48 UTC 2002

I'm sorry for the OT post, but the mention of Sybase and OpenWatcom
made me feel it was time for a reaction from me.

Karen Williams from Sybase wrote:

> I've been following this discussion with interest.  Since some of it
> is generated at least in part by Sybase's submission of a license for
> OSI certification (which is based on the OSI-approved Apple Public
> License, with the addition of a click-wrap structure as a preferred
> alternative and a few other far less material changes), I wanted to
> respond/add to a few points.

Even that this might be the wrong thread for this, I'm more than a
little surprised that the proposed Sybase OpenWatcom license hasn't
been rejected immediately on the grounds that it in my opinion violates
several requirements of the OSD.

As the "Getting a License Approved"

p 5 reads in full "If we find that the license does not conform to the
 Open Source Definition, we will work with you to resolve the problems."

This suggests a license must conform to the Open Source Definition,
found at


To mention what I believe are just a few of the current violations
(the numbers are refs to the same OSD points):

- 1 The proposed license does restrict redistribution. It states that
    the _only_ means of getting the software shall be by the act of
    _downloading_. This rules out e.g. CD-ROM, which seems like a
    rather odd restriction. However odd, it still restricts
    (meaningful) distribution.

- 5 The proposed license does discriminate.
    Had You read and accepted the license on monday, it would terminate
    if You failed to also download the software on the same "date".

    Had You downloaded a tarball on a Monday, and read and accepted the
    license on the next day, the license would be terminated.

    Had You gotten the software on CD-ROM, the license would be void.

    The main reason for this I believe is the license clause that gives
    you a 30-day period to "cure such a breach". But since you can
    never undo neither the "download" action, or the "accept" action,
    you are forever out of the loop.

- 6 The proposed license reads "You acknowledge that the Covered Code
    is not intended for use in the operation of nuclear facilities"...
    This seems to be for the explicit purpose of, if not forbidding at
    least strongly discourage, using the software in a few specific
    fields of endeavor.

- 7 Due to the fact you need to read and accept the license, and on
    that same "date" _download_ the software for the license to be
    valid, it sure seems this is not attaching the same rights to all
    getting a copy. Again imagine downloading a tarball on another
    "date" than accepting the license, getting the software from a
    CD-ROM etc.

- 8 in the OSD reads "License Must Not Be Specific to a Product".
    "OpenWatcom" seems to be a _very_ specific product.

In addition I find it odd that from

you can read

That is, with the mere act of _reproduction_ this software tries to
lock me into some kind of legal trap, claiming I somehow have accepted
the license! What if I run a CD duplication plant? What if I just
_carry_ a CD containing this software from one place to another
(distributing)? What if I break said CD in 1000 pieces (modifying)?

I hope the OSD board members considers these points, and vote to deny
approval of this license.

Again, I'm sorry for the OT post.

Thank you for your time,


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