For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Sean Chittenden sean at
Sun Sep 28 03:07:51 UTC 2003

> I'm sorry that I'm coming in late to this conversation but I've been
> busy.

No prob, life happens: I sympathize.

> I'm concerned about the following section of the proposed license:
> 4. Redistributions of source code must not be used in conjunction
>    with any software license that requires disclosure of source
>    code (ex: the GNU Public License, hereafter known as the GPL).
> Licenses seem sometimes to be used as weapons rather than to foster
> freely reusable code.  In this case, the author has made clear, he
> wants to allow his software to be used with proprietary derivative
> works but not with the GPL.  It is, I guess, the anti-GPL license.

In some ways yes, in some ways no.  I think if I were to remove the
following from the clause, "(ex: the GNU Public License, hereafter
known as the GPL)," the discussion wouldn't have been nearly as
involved.  *sigh*

> In that sense, I think, it violates the OSD.  

It violates the OSD because you dub it the anti-GPL?  What part of the
OSD does this not comply with?  I'm confused as to how you arrive at
this statement.  The point of the OSSAL is to prompt businesses who
haven't or aren't involved in open source to use open source because
they will get a return on investment or will be able to see their
investment (resources of some sort) grow.

> We have long agreed that a license can impose a reciprocity
> condition, for example, "you may distribute copies of your
> derivative works to the public as long as they are licensed under
> this same license."  That's in essence what the GPL, Mozilla, IBM,
> CPL, and OSL licenses require.

So if I would've said, "Redistributions of source code must only be
used in conjunction with software that can be used in proprietary
software projects without requiring the disclosure of source code," no
one would have had a problem?


> Once again, this is a license that says "don't use that license"
> rather than "do use this license."  The former wording seems like
> discrimination to me and the latter like any reciprocal license
> we've approved since the beginning.

How can I rephrase this to achieve the intent that I think I've made
pretty clear?

> Is that a distinction without a difference?  Or should we assert
> that licenses of the form "don't use that license" are contrary to
> the OSD because they discriminate?

Indirect proofs or explanations are often easier to convey.  -sc

Sean Chittenden
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