For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Sean Chittenden sean at
Fri Sep 26 08:39:37 UTC 2003

> > >  > Let me clarify some vocabulary:
> > >  > people = home user or developer of applications out side of a
> > >  >          commercial entity working on a not for sale piece of
> > >  >          software.
> > >  > 
> > >  > businesses = commercial developers interested explicitly in the
> > >  > 	 purpose of developing commercial applications and products.
> What about commercial entities who work on not-for-sale software for
> purposes other than developing commercial software products?

Been there, worked for one of those.  One of those not-for-sale
software projects was canned because it wasn't viable because it was
written using GPL software, the other was golden and was taken from
our department and sucked into the bowels of engineering to be
converted into a full blown commercial app.  Businesses prefer non-GPL
software for depts like these, but don't forbid it.... though use of
GPL software can be potentially expensive (the software was rewritten
around the GPL bits).

> What about home users who develop software for their own use and
> later find someone willing to pay for it?

If they use GPL software, it could be expensive down the road if the
author is using modules that aren't BSD/MIT-like (rewrite/refactor).
Avoiding GPL software from the start is one way to lower the cost of
software development (or at the very least, converting R&D into a

> The commercial/noncommercial view of splitting the world is pretty
> useless IMO.  Every human being can be a user, developer, and
> distributor, and the roles change constantly.

Agreed.  Simply trying to point out that there are several different
points of views surrounding software development and the two biggest,
IMHO, are those who doodle out code for personal or internal
consumption, and those who are trying to turn a commercial product.

> > > It interferes with the creation of proprietary software.
> Not at all!  It interferes with transforming free software into
> proprietary software.  Creating new proprietary software is greatly
> aided by GPL tools.

Agreed, case in point being gcc.  But, creating proprietary software
that includes/uses GPL software... is a waste of time and is the
antithesis of creating a proprietary software product.

> > Businesses using OSSAL software would give the business the
> > ability to create proprietary software, even though the non-core
> > parts are most likely open and available to the public.
> They have this under the GPL (as long as their proprietary software
> isn't a derived work of the GPL software).  They have this under the
> BSD license even if it IS a derived work.

Yeah, but it's derived works that are the question in this case.

> I utterly fail to see how ANYONE benefits from this proposed license
> over a pure BSD license.  It's completely ludicrous to claim that my
> ability to take a GPL project and make it into a plugin for your
> product does ANYTHING to reduce someone's freedom to release
> proprietary software based on your code.

See other emails where I explain the value of the OSSAL.

> Of course they can't make proprietary work derived from my plugin,
> but they can't if I release a binary-only plugin either (which you
> allow), or if I don't release it at all (because it's based on GPL
> code I don't own).

Which is what I want to be able to do and have the license protect
that ability.

> Additionally, for those of us that might choose to combine GPL and
> OSSAL work, all this means is we need to distribute our code
> seperately and make our users do the actual
> linking/compiling/combining themselves.

Not separately, just under two licenses... though in the case of my
language, your GPL'ed code is in violation of my language's license
(the OSSAL) which makes your GPL'ed contribution as valuable as `cat
/dev/random > /dev/stdout`.

> It sucks, but you're free to make whatever license terms you like.
> I suspect you'll see a lot less use of your software under this than
> you would under a pure BSD license, but again, it's your call.

Sure, it's possible... but since every module is usable to businesses,
I bet you'd see more businesses use the language.  Since Java and .Net
generally (I know about mono and kaffe) require some kind of capital,
esp for a halfway decent j2ee impl, businesses would be pleased to
have a set of dependable and trustworthy tools to work from.

> Please, if you want your work to be freely transformable into
> proprietary work, just use the BSD license.

Not gunna happen, though I do release software under the BSDL when
appropriate.  -sc

Sean Chittenden
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