Adaptive Public License

Carmen Leeming cleeming at
Thu Apr 15 20:50:26 UTC 2004

The way the Adaptive Public License is set up, only the Initial 
Contributor sets the terms outlined in Exhibit A (all the adaptive 
elements).  Subsequent Contributors may not alter the variables outlined 
by the Initial Contributor.  However, Subsequent Contributors are not 
bound by those terms if they package their work as an Independent 
Module.  An Independent Module may be released under a different license 
(including a variation of the Adaptive Public License with a different 
Exhibit A).

In regards to combining different variants of the Adaptive Public 
License, yes the combined licenses can be severable.  One of the 
licenses needs to be continued as the Initial Work -- subsequent 
contributions would follow this license (unless they are Independent 
Modules).  The other work(s) being combined can be identified as 
Independent Module(s), retaining their original variants of the 
license.  In a similar manner, an Initial Work with the Adaptive Public 
License can be combined with other open source (or closed source) 
licenses without absorbing contributions to the separately-licensed 
Independent Modules.

I know that this license is very long, but it is difficult to summarize 
parts of it without losing the overall integrity of the document as 
various parts are interrelated.  The third paragraph in my submission 
is the briefest way I can summarize the differences between the Adaptive 
Public License and the MPL 1.1.  Although that is the closest license to 
this one, the Adaptive Public License was not directly derived from the 
MPL -- it is not simply a matter of a few differing paragraphs. 

There is no existing license that contains all of the features that we 
require for our project:  able to have the governing jurisdiction in 
Canada; able to have the main work as open source, but well-defined 
separate modules as closed source or under a different open source 
license; not being forced to have a patent license; able to define our 
own set of documentation requirements; allowing limited attribution 
requirements for the Initial Contributor.  This license was not 
developed for the sake of adding to the proliferation of licenses.  The 
University of Victoria has spent close to four years developing a large 
software package that it would like to be able to share with the open 
source community.  The University was not willing to release the 
software under one of the existing licenses as none of them could 
provide all of the features listed above.  We spent a year working with 
a license lawyer developing the Adaptive Public License to meet the 
requirements of the University.  We purposely did not brand the license 
with our name or our project title so the license could be useful to 
others.  We have had others inquire about using our license for their 
software products, and there was a comment on this forum in March that 
indicated support for use too, so we know that this is not a one-time 
application of the license.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Thank you,
--Carmen Leeming
University of Victoria
license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list