For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

John Cowan jcowan at
Thu Sep 25 19:12:44 UTC 2003

Sean Chittenden scripsit:

> Nokia's CheckPoint firewall (often considered the
> best firewall in the industry) isn't based on Linux for a reason.

Doubtless, but the reason can't be the GPL license on the Linux kernel,
since there is an explicit exception allowing people to run proprietary
drivers with the kernel.

> I define free along the lines of the way the BSD crowd does, not along
> the way of the Linux crowd.  Free in terms of rights, not free in
> terms of cost to personal developers.

Linux (meaning the whole system, not just the kernel) doesn't have a monolithic
position.  Both copyleft and "copycenter" (BSD-type) licensors are interested
in freedom, but for different communities.  BSD-style licenses maximize the
freedom of developers, but copyleft licenses attempt to restrict developers
somewhat so as to maximize the freedom of end users.

> It's useful if you're a business in that if you use OSSAL software in
> a product, you're never going to have to go back and rewrite that code
> that you depend on if the module author goes copyleft.  

If a new version of the module is copyleft, you wouldn't be able to
upgrade it, but the previous version would still be available under the
BSD or the MIT or the AFL or whatever.

We call nothing profound                        jcowan at
that is not wittily expressed.                  John Cowan
        --Northrop Frye (improved)    
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