compatibility and the OSD

Chuck Swiger chuck at
Wed Sep 29 20:29:59 UTC 2004

On Sep 29, 2004, at 3:33 PM, John Cowan wrote:
> Chuck Swiger scripsit:
[ ... ]
> The question is whether the PSL license incorporates the earlier
> licenses or merely quotes them.

I agree that this is a critical question.

>> The shouted paragraph is repeated in clause 8 of the CNRI license,
>> which is being inherited by derivative works such as Python-2.0 and
>> later.
> How do you know it is inherited?  That's a conclusion of law.

The Python license, documentation, CVS repository, and so forth 
indicate the nature of the relationship between Python-1.6 and 2.x.  
The URL I provided discusses the history of Python and includes the 
following table:

     Release         Derived     Year        Owner       GPL-
                     from                                compatible? (1)

     0.9.0 thru 1.2              1991-1995   CWI         yes
     1.3 thru 1.5.2  1.2         1995-1999   CNRI        yes
     1.6             1.5.2       2000        CNRI        no
     2.0             1.6         2000  no
     1.6.1           1.6         2001        CNRI        yes (2)
     2.1             2.0+1.6.1   2001        PSF         no
     [ ... ]

I do not claim to make a "conclusion of law", since I am not a judge, 
but the facts of this matter are clear.  I claim that Python-2.0 is a 
derivative work of CNRI Python-1.6b1, and the PSF Python-2.3.4 license 
explicitly supports that conclusion.

>> Hmm.  Perhaps someone who is a lawyer might be able to confirm or deny
>> whether the terms of the CNRI Python license have "no legal effect" on
>> someone using a derived work of a PSF-licensed version of Python?
> Surely you know better than to ask a lawyer for a legal opinion on a
> mailing list.

If I had private business to conduct with a lawyer, I would not do so 
on a public mailing list.  That obviously doesn't apply to the current 


More information about the License-discuss mailing list