For Approval: Open Source Software Alliance License

Rick Moen rick at
Tue Sep 30 00:25:24 UTC 2003

Quoting Ernie Prabhakar (prabhaka at

> In fact, I think I've noticed several distinct criticisms of your 
> license, which its important not to confuse:
> A.  It is morally wrong to create a license incompatible with the GPL

That would be a claim that, if actually expressed here (and I don't
remember it being) would be rather silly unto self-parody, off-topic,
and a waste of everyone's time.
> B.  It is pointless to create such a license, since you're solving a
> non-existing problem.

I'm not sure if you're referring to my feedback here, or not.  If so, I
said that _one_ of problems that Sean claimed on-list that OSSAL solves
is by operation of copyright law inherently non-existent, that of
non-copyleft codebases being converted to copyleft terms.  I hope my
analysis left the truth of that point clear.

The other aim, of preventing redistribution of derivative works that
include copylefted code, seemed so obviously inherently within the
licensor's discretion, if that's what floats his boat, as to be not
worthy of comment.  Plenty of other OSI-approved licences conflict with
sundry copylefted ones, and claiming that constitutes "discrimination
against particular fields of endeavour" is absurd.

Some people here have expressed personal views that Sean's cementing of
his hobbyhorse into licence text is against his long-term interest.  Me,
I figure he probably knows what he wants, and that the main question of
interest is OSD-compliance.  (It looks OSD-compliant to me, just riddled
with squirrely wording in places, that badly needs a good editor:  E.g.,
what exactly does it mean for a "redistribution" to "be used in
conjunction with" something?  Call in the Rewrite staff, Sean.)

> C.  As a practical matter, it is a bad idea to openly criticize the GPL

I can't remember anyone saying that it was a bad idea.  Boring as all
hell, and a waste of everyone's time, but that's a different matter. 

Cheers,              "By reading this sentence, you agree to be bound by the 
Rick Moen             terms of the Internet Protocol, version 4, or, at your 
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