An explanation of the difficulty of solving licenseproliferation in one sentence

Rod Dixon, J.D., LL.M. roddixon at
Fri Apr 1 03:57:05 UTC 2005

Hmm... I have my doubts about anyone's motivation when they say "we are not 
doing this for ourselves, it's for you."  Aside from that, I am still 
waiting to see if Intel or HP or any of the other advocates of the 'sky is 
falling from license-proliferation' choir can backup these claims with real 
reasons. So Far, the claims are supported by vague concerns with "license 
compatibility" and something about a license not being "popular."

It should go without saying that  actions like "de approving" existing 
licenses in order to fix what is alleged to be broken at least requires 
reflective debate about why (or whether) license-proliferation is a problem. 
Certainly, it is apparent that the inherent risks to some of the proposed 
solutions seem to come with greater problems than the problem they are 
intended to solve. More fundamentally, to the extent that there is a problem 
worthy of a solution, an open debate may help to disclose what that problem 
might be.  It is worth noting that the freedom to contract or to copyright 
your software (by way of drafting a software license) is not a freedom that 
can be easily abridged by this grouper any other. I think much of the 
discussion so far has run counter to this fundamental principle (at least in 
or within the jurisdiction of the U.S.).

Rod Dixon
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Peters, Robin L (Stormy, OSPO)" <stormy.peters at>
To: <license-discuss at>
Sent: Wednesday, March 30, 2005 5:38 PM
Subject: RE: An explanation of the difficulty of solving 
licenseproliferation in one sentence

Martin Fink isn't advocating fewer licenses to save himself work (he
delegates that work to me :) - he's advocating fewer licenses to make
open source software more "adoptable" and pervasive.  HP has the
knowledge and resources to evaluate all the open source licenses and how
they do (or don't) work together.  Not all companies and individuals
have that knowledge or resource.  We would like to make it easier for
everyone to use open source software and making the licensing scheme
simpler is one way to achieve that.


Stormy Peters
Open Source Program Office
Hewlett-Packard Company

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