A prototype License Wizard up and running

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Sun Apr 10 07:08:40 UTC 2005

Chuck Swiger scripsit:

> "Dominant license"?  Hmm.  [1]

I call the GPL dominant not certainly because it is the most frequent
license of *instances* of software (it isn't) nor because it is the
most common license used by developers (which it may be).  I call it
dominant because other licenses are judged, among other factors, by
whether or not they are GPL-compatible, rather than the GPL being judged
by how compatible it is or isn't with some other license.  The FSF
maintains a most useful list of free software licenses divided into
GPL-compatible and GPL-incompatible.  The web sites of the APSL, the
MPL, the CPL, and the CDDL do not maintain such lists.

> I recall people on the GNU lists who felt much the same way.  I don't 
> mind people who prefer and advocate the GPL-- it is a good license, and 
> is definitely one people should consider-- but I'm willing to object when 
> people switch from recommending the GPL to advocating the GPL so strongly 
> that they dismiss reasonable alternatives from consideration.
> I don't believe that is the position you hold, John-- the initial version 
> of your wizard selected what seemed to be pretty reasonable assortment of 
> the popular licenses, after all-- and I apologize if I seem to be setting 
> you up to defend a position that is not the position you actually have.

It isn't my position, any more than it's my position that English is
superior to other languages when I say that it is the world's most
widely learned second language and the most generally useful language

> However, a user trying to select the best license for them using the 
> license wizard, should be presented with questions that evaluate that 
> user's requirements and preferences, without an obvious bias towards one 
> specific license.

I don't believe that asking about GPL-compatibility is a bias in favor
of the GPL for the reasons given above.

John Cowan  jcowan at reutershealth.com  www.reutershealth.com  www.ccil.org/~cowan
Consider the matter of Analytic Philosophy.  Dennett and Bennett are well-known.
Dennett rarely or never cites Bennett, so Bennett rarely or never cites Dennett.
There is also one Dummett.  By their works shall ye know them.  However, just as
no trinities have fourth persons (Zeppo Marx notwithstanding), Bummett is hardly
known by his works.  Indeed, Bummett does not exist.  It is part of the function
of this and other e-mail messages, therefore, to do what they can to create him.

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