Two new licenses - OVPL & OVLPL

Alex Bligh alex at
Mon Apr 11 16:28:59 UTC 2005


--On 11 April 2005 09:31 -0400 Kevin Bedell <kbedell at> 

> Under what circumstances are developers required to provide code back to
> the ID? Am I correct in assuming that code needs to be provided/licensed
> back to the ID if one chooses to engage in 'distribution'?

The language is: "contribute, distribute, or otherwise make available".
The latter term includes (for instance) ASP use.

> If I create a derivative work in which the ID's code makes up only 10% (or
> less) of the overall code base, am I required to license my 90% (or more)
> back to the ID under the terms you've described?

Yes and no. If your 90% of the code consists of a Larger Work (mere
aggregation), then no. If your 90% consists of Modifications (note this is
defined wider than in the CDDL) then yes, because you have an obligation to
provide them in source form under the terms of the OVPL, which in turn
triggers the requirements of 3.3. However, there is an exception in that
under the OVLPL, which in rough terms says that if your 90% is free
software (any OSI approved license) and the software concerned is a library
which is licensed under the OVLPL, then use of the header files etc. to
compile alone will not make your 90% "Modifications" - it will be a larger

To cut to the quick, yes, the above situation does seem unfair. However,
this license is not intended for people building huge edifices on
foundations provided by the initial developer. It is intended for people
building small extensions to large edifices already constructed.

> Using the GPL, as I understand, I need only provide my code to those I
> distribute the derivative work to -- not to the ID as well.

I do not claim to be an expert on the GPL, but I believe that is correct.

You are identifying that the ID has additional rights under this license.
We acknowledge that.

> Under this license, it would seem as if I need to distribute source code
> in all circumstances both to the people I distribute my application to as
> well as back to the ID.

No. You do not need to do distribute to the ID automatically (i.e. it is
not a requirement that every time you distribute your code in whatever
form, you send a copy to the ID). That would be unwieldy. The ID merely has
a license to the code should they chose to use it.

> I'd question whether or not this met OSD criteria #1 and #5.
> "1. Free Redistribution
> The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the
> software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing
> programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a
> royalty or other fee for such sale."
> Comment: If the license requires me to provide a license to the ID of my
> modifications in order for me to redistribute code under the license, I'd
> question whether or not that could be considered "Free Redistribution".

Firstly, the QPL already passed this test with a similar term.

Secondly, there is no requirement for a royalty or other fee for a
sale as part of an aggregate software distribution. The terms are
exactly the same as for any other distribution.

> "5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
> The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons."
> Comment: This license clearly provides different rights for the ID than it
> provides for all others. I'd ask if this would be considered
> discrimination. Even if there is a quid pro quo, it may still be
> considered discriminatory.

I don't believe that is the correct interpretation. If it was, any license
containing a license steward is discrimatory against any persons other than
the license steward. You will note in both the MPL and the CDDL the rights
of the ID and the contributors are phrased differently. Again, please see
(for instance) the QPL which has a similar clause.

> To argue the other side, I can see how this license may provide
> significant benefits to a vendor in terms of engaging their
> customers/business partners as co-developers. While I believe this
> license is of value, I'd question whether or not it could be considered
> "open source".

We strongly believe it to be open source - by this we mean "meets the OSD".
However, we are also fully aware it is not as "pure" open source as (say)
GPL or BSD, and are being very careful not to pretend it is. Had there
been a "normal" license (i.e. without the additional grant) that satisfied
the purposes of the OVPL, you can be sure we would not have bothered
writing it! As it is, we hope it will be a useful first call for
developers moving into the open source community from the proprietary


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