For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Sean Chittenden sean at
Mon Sep 29 20:58:20 UTC 2003

>  > The OSSAL lets widget makers who use the same set of modules,
>  > ensure that any work on the modules that they have an interest in
>  > (that is done in the public), will be usable to them in a
>  > product.
> So?  Let's say that somebody wanted to donate a module back to you,
> but they wanted to use a proprietary license?  You'd refuse it,
> right?

Does that proprietary license allow me to include the changes into my
repo and under the terms of the OSSAL?  If so, I have no problems with
it.  :) If not, then that widget maker would be stuck maintaining the
changes as newer versions are released.  The whole point of the OSSAL
is for the widget maker is to reduce their costs by releasing usable
software to other widget makers.  If the widget maker is dependent on
software from 8 different modules, what incentive do they have to make
a change and release that change under terms != OSSAL?  A widget maker
is a market driven force interested in reducing costs.

> Why should the GPL be any different to you?

A patch under the GPL is the same as a patch released in an unusable
form.  My bias and the OSSALs bias against the GPL stems from the
terms in the GPL that prevent me from using GPL'ed code in products.

I want this to happen:

But it can't happen with GPL software (if Interix wants to make money
that is).  In this case, Interix won because it used BSDL code (from
which the OSSAL is derived), but the community may not win
(i.e. reciprocal flow of code) because Interix has no protection that
their changes won't be snagged by an organization/group that hasn't
helped them out (I know that a competitor could grab their changes,
but libc is as far from trade secret code as it gets).  Assuming a
competitor grabs the code and future versions don't have those
changes, both companies have to burden the costs independently of
maintaining those changes.  Widget makers want to reduce costs and
engineers are lazy and will punt the code as fast as they can.


Sean Chittenden
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