compatibility and the OSD

Chris F Clark cfc at
Wed Sep 22 16:03:48 UTC 2004

I'm a little confused by this recent set of arguments.  

It seems that the GPL requires one to ship derivative works as source,
or at least make the sources available for the derivative works.  If
it didn't, the GPL would have no teeth.  My reading of the license
proposed by Bob Scheifler is more relaxed than that, that you must
only provide the sources if your derivative work cannot pass the
testbase, and that you must provide the source to the testbase along
with the work.

However, the tenor of the conversation seems to be that other people
are reading Bob's license as one cannot provide binaries in addition
to sources if one doesn't pass the testbase.  Is that what people are
objecting to?

Or is it the distinction that the sources must be concurrently
delivered with the derivative work and not simply "must be available"?

In any case, I'm surprised, as to me the license seems OSD compliant.
There are other licenses that have been approved that require one to
ship unmodified sources to the original work when shipping a modified
or derivative work.  It seems that it could be argued that the
testbase sources are simply a part of the the sources to the work, a
unique part in that "passing the testbase" allows one to avail oneself
to more liberal license terms, but a part of the work "as a whole" in
any case.  And, it doesn't seem to me to be OSD non-compliant to
require the sources to the unmodified whole work to be included with a
derivative work.  As I said, I believe previous licenses with this
requirement have been accepted.

I find it a little less surprising if people have read Bob's license
as not allowing one to distribute binaries as part of a derived work,
assuming the the licensor also shipped the unmodified sources and
complied with that part of the license.  Not allowing a particular
form of a derived work to be shipped (provided that the preferred form
is also shipped) would seem to be non-OSD compliant.

Confused as to what the issues are,

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