For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Arnoud Galactus Engelfriet galactus at
Fri Sep 26 19:13:18 UTC 2003

Sean Chittenden wrote:
> > > If someone writes a module for my lang but releases it under the
> > > GPL, if I want to use that module, I have to duplicate that
> > > effort.
> > 
> > If someone writes a module for your language and releases it under
> > the OSSAL as binary-only, if you want to use that module, you have
> > to duplicate that effort.
> Correct.

Since you apparently want to reduce duplication of effort,
why is this case not a problem? 

> > If people don't like the business consequences of releasing under
> > GPL, why would they release source at all?
> I don't know how else to say this:
> *) "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
> *) Reciprocity amongst businesses.
> *) Maintaining souce code is expensive, reducing expenses is good.
> *) Quid pro quo between two or more businesses.

When I started open source licensing work, it seemed logical
that the only reasonable license for a proprietary software vendor
is BSD and its friends. But once you realize that the GPL's nature
is not a threat to _you_, it becomes much more attractive. In fact
it helps getting people in your project, because those people know
that no one can take their contributions and make them proprietary.

Does it surprise you that 8 big CE companies (including the one
I work for) have chosen Linux rather than FreeBSD as the basis
for future devices? The GPL was an important factor in favor
of Linux here.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
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