Two new licenses - OVPL & OVLPL

Alex Bligh alex at
Sun Apr 10 11:32:33 UTC 2005

I'd like to announce two more prospective licenses, brought to you
by (which is currently David Ryan and me, until we
put together something more formal). These are the OVPL and OVLPL
(Open Vendor Public License, and Open Vendor Lesser Public License).

We hope that the OSI will approve these. We are not currently asking
for formal approval. We are asking for comment.

You can find the licenses at:

There is a full description of the rationale for this pair or new
licenses at:
plus a list of changes from the base license (the CDDL).

These licenses are constructed for a specific purpose: to allow projects
that have been developed in a commercial closed-source environment to be
released into an open-source environment, whilst allowing the commercial
developer to maintain their own "commercial" version. We thus do NOT
recommend them for new open-source only projects.

The licenses are modern reciprocal licenses with patent defence clauses,
and are jurisdiction-neutral. There are several licenses achieving
this goal.

The first significant requirement is that modifications contributed by the
developer community are not only licensed to all under the general times of
the license, but there is a specific additional grant of rights to the
Initial Developer, allowing him to use that modifications in an
unrestricted manner (including in the commercial closed-source version of
his code), provided that he continues to make such modifications available
in a future version of the open-source version as well. This is similar to
Clause 3(b) of the QPL. The intent here is to ensure future compatibility
between both closed-source, and open-source trees. Clearly, the Initial
Developer is granted substantial additional rights beyond that of any other
contributor, and is unlikely to be a viable option for wholly open-source
projects; however, in the circumstances where this license is likely to be
deployed, where the Initial Developer is considering contributing
considerable amounts of code, it provides both a substantial incentive to
release code for the benefit of the Open Source community, and a mechanism
of doing so which protects the Initial Developer’s existing revenue base
and code compatibility.

We believe this first requirement is not met by any of the existing
OSI-approved licenses, except for the QPL. The QPL suffers from a number
of other problems, not least being locked to Norwegian jurisdiction.

The second significant requirement is that in one version of the license
(the Open Vendor Lesser Public License), which, like the LGPL, is focussed
on libraries and toolkits, the code can be linked with other open source
projects, without those projects being considered derived works and thus
falling under the terms of the license itself.

These licenses are based on Sun Microsystems' CDDL. We emphasize that
Sun has not endorsed or indeed played any part in the development of
these licenses, beyond their genereous grant to all third parties
of the right to use and modify their own license, which we gratefully
acknowledge. We have made the OVPL and OVLPL available under similar
terms for the community.

In summary, the licenses are:
* Based on the CDDL
* Reciprocal in nature
* Modern
* Contain patent defence clauses
* Jurisdiction neutral
* Allow 'version rolling' of the licenses, but equally allow a developer
  to use a static version
* Grant an additional license to the Initial Developer for modifications
  that are distributed.



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