For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License
sean at chittenden.org
Thu Sep 25 04:54:36 UTC 2003
> > > 4. Redistributions of source code may not be used in conjunction
> > > with any software license that requires disclosure of source
> > > code (ex: the GNU Public License, hereafter known as the GPL).
> > This is also not entirely clear. Perhaps you mean something like
> > ``this source code may not be relicensed under any software
> > license which requires disclosure of source code.''
> Technically, source code is not (cannot be) normally relicensed.
> What is meant is that derivative works in non-textual form can't be
> licensed under a copyleft license, for an appropriate definition of
> It would be better to word this "must not" rather than "may not",
> which latter is subject to misreading.
This is good advice, thank you. I have updated the wording
accordingly in the various places where appropriate and have attached
an updated text version of the license. -sck
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OSSAL - Open Source Software Alliance License
Table of Contents:
Comments, Questions, and Discussion
Below is an OSSAL template. To generate your own license, change the values of <AUTHOR>, <RELEASE>, <SOFTWARE>, and <YEARS> from their original values as given here, and substitute your own.
<AUTHOR> = The Regents of the University of California. (ex: "The Regents of the University of California.", "PostgreSQL Global Development Group", "Joe Schmoe")
<RELEASE> = FreeBSD 5.3 (ex: "FreeBSD 5.3", "PostgreSQL 7.4")
<SOFTWARE> = FreeBSD (ex: "FreeBSD", "PostgreSQL", "Apache webserver")
<YEARS> = 2003 (ex: "2003", "2001, 2002, 2003", "2001-2003", "2000-2002,2004")
Here is the license template:
### BEGIN LICENSE TEMPLATE ###
All of the documentation and software included in the <RELEASE> and
<SOFTWARE> Releases is copyrighted by <AUTHOR>.
<AUTHOR>. All rights reserved.
Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are
1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright
notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the
documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software
should, in good faith, display the following acknowledgment:
This product includes software developed by the <AUTHOR> and its contributors.
4. Redistributions of source code must not be used in conjunction
with any software license that requires disclosure of source
code (ex: the GNU Public License, hereafter known as the GPL).
5. Redistributions of source code in any non-textual form (i.e.
binary or object form, etc.) must not be linked to software that is
released with a license that requires disclosure of source code
(ex: the GPL).
6. Redistributions of source code must be licensed under more than one
license and must not have the terms of the OSSAL removed.
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY <AUTHOR> AND CONTRIBUTORS ``AS IS'' AND
ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE
IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL <AUTHOR> OR CONTRIBUTORS BE
LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR
CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF
SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR
BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY,
WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE
OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN
IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
### END TEMPLATE ###
The Open Source Software Alliance (hereafter known as "OSSAL"),
is designed to be a business friendly Open Source Software license
that encourages businesses to release or make use of OSSAL software
(OSSAL is a BSDL-like license). The intent of OSSAL is akin to the
phrase, "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back." With OSSAL
software, a business is able to use and incorporate existing software
that is licensed under the OSSAL or other BSDL-like licenses. The
incorporated software can be sold. A business can lend resources to
an OSSAL project and not waive its right to make money from the
software. By allowing other businesses to have access to non-trade
secret software under the terms of the OSSAL, other businesses can
invest in improving the software. Both businesses win by
collaborating. If a business keeps the changes in house and does not
contribute them back to the project, the business incurs a reoccurring
cost for maintaining that software. The joint nature of OSSAL
software reduces maintenance costs of software. The extra engineers
and eyes inspecting the code will increase the quality of the code in
terms of functionality and reduce the number of bugs. OSSAL is
If a business invests in software released under the terms of
the GPL (or a GPL-like license), the money that the business invested
into developing the software is unrecoverable because the software
that was the target of the investment is not commercially viable to
the business that invested in the development
effort[d1]. The exception to the software's
viability is being able to provide support or documentation for the
software. If a business manager or engineer realizes this, one of two
things will happen: 1) he or she is going to dedicate as little
resources as possible into solving the problem because work on GPL
software has zero return on investment outside of satisfying a
business's immediate needs, or 2) he or she is going to realize that
it is of no consequence to the business if the quality of the
investment is high or low, therefore they are going to err on the side
of providing a lower quality, less well thought out solution because
it could drive documentation sales or support contracts.
As for software quality, if the theories of capitalism are
true, and the job market is a functioning market place (the higher the
skilled engineer, the more the engineer is paid. The more the
engineer is paid, the busier the engineer is. The more complex
product generates more income and consumes more engineering resources
of increasing skill, thus depriving the open source community of the
talents of a skilled engineer), then businesses with the most
qualified engineers are not working on any percentage of Open Source
software. By allowing engineers to work on software that is usable by
their business, the quality of the tools of the product that the
business produces, will go up. By Open Sourcing non-trade secret
software under the OSSAL license, it is now possible, and very
potentially likely that other businesses will invest resources into
improving the OSSAL software. The corollary to the above statement is
that the most expendable, unimportant engineers work on GPL software
and the better software engineers work on BSDL-licensed software.
The goal of this license is to promote businesses to open
source non-trade secret software and to contribute resources, when
necessary, to OSSAL or BSDL licensed software. With multiple
businesses using and working on necessary bug fixes, updates, etc.:
the cost of software development, maintenance, and support goes down;
the number of bugs goes down, and; the quality of the software and its
documentation goes up. OSSAL also discourages the use of GPL or viral
licenses as they indirectly promote lower quality software that is
widely disseminated, but not reviewed by the more highly skilled
software engineers. By getting a group of businesses to use and
dedicate resources to OSSAL software, the group of businesses have
created an off the books, informal alliance to help one another. "If
you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
[d1] The GPL requires free availability of the
source code for a product (can only charge for shipping and the
material cost of the CD, disks, etc.), requires that the recipient of
the code be bound by the GPL as well, and requires that any product
that uses GPL code, also be bound to the terms of the GPL (requiring
it to be open source and distributed free of charge if the product is
An HTML copy of the license can be found at: http://people.FreeBSD.org/~seanc/ossal/ossal.html
COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, and DISCUSSION
If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or would like to discuss this license, please direct them to "Sean Chittenden <sean at chittenden.org>.
Last updated: Wed Sep 24 21:52:24 PDT 2003
Version: $Nexadesic: doc/ossal/ossal.xml,v 1.2 2003/09/25 04:49:44 sean Exp $
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