AW: For Approval: German Free Software License

Russell Nelson nelson at
Fri Nov 26 17:54:00 UTC 2004

Axel Metzger writes:
 > I understand your point. But it seems to me like a new requirement
 > not yet stated in the OS-definition.

No, it's #7, Distribution of License.  That right applies to future
users of software as well as current.  You are requiring users to
switch to a different license of your choice.

 > Please note that the German State of Nordrhein-Westfalen represents
 > more than 50 (!) universities that will use the license afterwards. The
 > Max-Planck-Society has about 90 big research institutes. They already
 > published the GFSL. That means that they cannot just like this change
 > the rules of the license without having any problem. I know that these
 > facts do not create as such a feeling of trust.

The OSD doesn't make any provision for trust.  You either comply with
the definition or you don't.  Several people have told you that the
license doesn't comply.

Note that there are other problems with the license.  For one, Section
9(1) is also a problem.  It should put the onus on you to get the text
of the license correct by saying "... Should, however, differences
arise, then if one language license says that you are free to do
something, but the other says that you are not, then you are free to
do it."  That will reassure monolingual users of the software.

For another, Section 1(2) uses bad English: the passive voice.  You
should say "You are" instead of "It is".

For yet another, in the definition of "Entitled Person", does German
Law really restrict use of a program?  Or does it restrict copying?
Also, "exclusive right to use for the Program" is not good English,
and as such forms an ambiguity.  You really should have a native
English speaking lawyer review this license.

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