compatibility and the OSD

Rick Moen rick at
Wed Sep 22 23:43:31 UTC 2004

Quoting Bob Scheifler (Bob.Scheifler at Sun.COM):

> Moving on is fine. (I'm not interested in whether the license is
> obnoxious, the license I sketched is obnoxious to most. I'm interested
> in understanding how what seem to me to be contradictions get
> explained away.)

Again, if you want serious, thoughful responses, feel free to propose to
OSI a licence (preferably one with some compelling reason for its
existence, and not redundant to existing ones).  Unless, of course,
you're offering to pay everyone's billable hourly rates for licence

> Moving on, I'm interested in comments on John Cowan's remark about
> patents, and whether any patent obligations in existing licenses
> constitute meaningful restrictions on distribution, or how that is
> covered under the OSD.

I don't remember John Cowan making remarks about patents, but I did.  I
said, by implication, that if an otherwise open-source codebase is
subject to "interfering patent restrictions" (my phrase), one would not
consider the resulting state of affairs to be open source.  That was
intended to exemplify the broader point that licensing alone doesn't
guarantee that a codebase is open source.  The surrounding circumstances
also enter into that question.

I also cited physical access to source code as another example of that
general point.  E.g., if I give you a binary executable and assert that
I wrote it and declare that codebase instance to be BSD-licensed -- but
decline to give anyone else the source code -- then it is not open

Your question (above) seems to switch topics completely from what I was
saying.  (I'm not objecting, just noting the point.)

I doubt that it is "covered under the OSD" in the sense you contemplate.
There seems to be an assumption that people will exercise common sense.

But feel free to submit a (significant, serious, non-redundant)
candidate licence, if you wish to find out how your theoretical question
will be decided in a real-world case.  If any.

[1] This, of course, reflects the Consultant's Creed:  "Invoicing is the
sincerest form of communication."  Application of same tends to
evaporate theoretical, time-wasting questions quite marvellously.

More information about the License-discuss mailing list