For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Sean Chittenden sean at
Mon Sep 29 21:35:10 UTC 2003

>  > Because I believe that if I provide, as an example, a programming
>  > language and someone writes a module for that language, the least
>  > that the module author can do is release the module under
>  > business friendly terms.  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.
> The problem here, Sean, which you seem to be ignoring, is that
> you're treating the GPL as if it were somehow *worse* than a
> proprietary license.  It isn't.

Ah, but it is though.  Hear me out:

A proprietary license doesn't foster a community to stand behind it to
work on software that is unavailable to widget makers.  The GPL was,
with I believe malintent, crafted specifically toward preventing
widget makers from basing products on existing code.  Further, the GPL
encourages primary copyright holders to release code that is unusable
to anyone but the primary copyright holders.

> It is, at its worst, identical to a proprietary license.  Since you
> claim to believe that proprietary licensing is good and you want to
> encourage proprietary licensing, why have you written a license
> which says that one kind of proprietary license is good, and yet
> another is bad?
> Could you try to explain this to me?

A proprietary license is only as good as the usability of the
contribution to the rest of the community.  If the license makes the
code unusable, then the contribution isn't usable either.  I'm less
concerned about proprietary licenses (as explained in previous emails)
as I am with widget makers being able to take existing code and use it
in interesting and novel ways, while at the same time allowing those
contributions to flow backwards to the community without hindering a
widget maker's desire to lend resources to open source


Sean Chittenden
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