For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

David Presotto presotto at
Thu Sep 25 20:18:19 UTC 2003

On Thu Sep 25 15:52:09 EDT 2003, ian at wrote:
> Note that if I take BSD code, and link it with GPL code, and
> distribute the result, the recipient is permitted to extract the BSD
> code and make a proprietary fork of that.  So the BSD license always
> does permit proprietary forks of the BSD code itself.

While true, that might be awfully hard to do since the two parts
will not be explicitly delineated.  A few generations down the
line and heredity becomes pretty fuzzy.  The viral/inheritive/
freedom-fighting nature of the GPL will always scare some companies
from expressly not doing that when creating proprietary forks.
They'ld rather go with a version whose ancestry can be

> > 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.  In doing so,
> > more businesses would likely use and contribute to Open Source.
> When I read that statement it is clear to me that that is true of the
> BSD license as well.  Can you please explain to me, in words of one
> syllable and taking very slow steps, why it is not?

I've just had to go through all this with Lucent.  A good chunk of
development here wants to use open source as much as possible,
especially as we become a leaner/smaller company; can't do it
all ourselves anymore.  Both the BSD copy-center and the GPL
copy-left models are attractive to us, though often in
different venues.  There are lots of fears though the module
author going copyleft is not one I've heard anyone utter.
There are fears of
- support disolving
- accidentally mixing inheritive copy-left code with proprietary code
 thereby forcing us to disclose secrets
- finding stolen code in open source a few years
 down the line and getting into a SCO-IBM like battle
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