For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Sean Chittenden sean at
Fri Sep 26 08:12:19 UTC 2003

> > Strictly speaking from a legal sense, it is not needed, however
> > for interpretation's sake, you're probably right.  I'll add an FAQ
> > section to the license page to handle this case.
> I strongly recommend that misleading ambiguities in the licence text
> be remedied _in_ the licence text.
> [My clarification that GPLv2's source-access provision does _not_
> get triggered by "linking" (contrary to OSSAL's wording), but rather
> by redistribution, snipped.]

If someone who has passed the bar deems it necessary, I'll listen.  It
doesn't appear to be misleading to my eye and states exactly what I
intended it to mean.

> > I know, which is why the GPL is problematic.  If you're writing an
> > in house application, you have within your right the ability to
> > link against the GPL.  If you try sell a product, the OSSAL
> > prevents you from shipping that product if it uses GPL'ed code,
> > which is what I want.  Means that or other avenues
> > for software announcements will be venerable gold mines for
> > businesses in terms of software that they can use in products.


> My overall point is that your concern (if I understand you
> correctly) about some other codebase's licence attaching itself to a
> OSSAL-covered work used with it is misplaced: It can't happen.
> Basic copyright law guarantees that it cannot.

I realize that.


> [Snip my attempt to explain why your assumption that "free software
> == GPL" isn't correct, and that free software is just a synonym for
> open source, with a different marketing program.]
> > Bah, this is exactly why I avoid this kind of semantic propaganda
> > silliness.
> On the contrary: I thought it evident that that classification
> distinction (dividing free aka open-source software into copyleft
> vs. non-copyleft categories) is devoid of advocacy, and is an aid to
> clarity.

Agreed there, I fully appreciate and use those distinctions on a
regular basis...  it's the free software vs. open source that I was
referring to.


> (As an aside, I'm really boggling at your conclusion that my
> category explanation was "propaganda".  That's one huge chip on your
> shoulder, Sean: It seems to be partially blocking your hearing.)

It's not your propaganda, it's propaganda by the time I read about a
possible distinction on a news site and as such, I filter it out as
noise and chest thumping (again, referring to open source vs free
software and the supposed distinction).

> > copyleft + product == !possible; non-copyleft + product == possible;
> Plainly outside the scope of licence-evaluation discussion.
> (Moreover, tedious.)

Trying to state that there is a value in non-copyleft licenses, which
seemed to be in question in the past.  Please snip in future dialog.

> > This doesn't mean it hasn't happened, however.  Having it
> > explicitly stated doesn't hurt anyone, esp since this isn't the
> > 1st time this has happened.
> > 
> >
> As Ian Lance Taylor said -- and as I was saying, for that matter --
> that's basic copyright violation, and would be so regardless of the
> code's licence.  That's a tort.  When someone violates your
> copyright, send them a stiffly worded demand letter, and expect
> immediate correction preferably accompanied by an abject apology.
> If sufficiently incensed, and if you think you can get any, sue for
> damages.

I know and realize that, having term 6 included in the license for the
sake of making it obvious to those who don't know, it doesn't hurt

> Thus my point that the OSSAL provision discussed -- like Darren
> Reed's -- is a no-op.

Again, I don't know what provision you're referring to or what it was
that Darren Reed did.

> Basic copyright law renders it irrelevant: It is flat-out unlawful
> to "relicense" someone else's copyrighted property.  Persons other
> than the copyright owner lack title to do so.  Therefore, actions
> purporting to do so have zero effect -- except in committing torts.
> That's what title _means_.  And note that Søren's copyright notice
> had been simply lopped off: Having had that copyright notice say
> OSSAL instead of BSD would (obviously) have had zero effect on the
> situation.

Term 6 in the OSSAL doesn't rely on any one nation's copyright laws.

> People like Darren write such licence provisions because they
> misapprehend how basic copyright law works.  You _do_ know how it
> works, and so needn't repeat his mistake.

*nods* Please send me an offline link to his mistake that way I can
take it into consideration as you feel it important to point out some
sort of a legal/copyright failing that he had made in the past.  -sc

Sean Chittenden
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