OSI's war on corporate licenses

Mike Milinkovich mike.milinkovich at eclipse.org
Tue Apr 12 21:56:40 UTC 2005

Sorry, I did not mean to imply that *you* said that the BSD was
asymmetrical. Only that you and Chuck seemed to attach different meanings to
the term.

So, I guess my observation is that there appears to be a wide gap in how
people are interpreting what was written in the License Proliferation

Here is my attempt to try to summarize what I've understood to this point:

>>document: "The class of asymmetrical corporate licenses that began with
Mozilla was a worthy experiment that has failed. The new policy will
discourage them."

>>Bruce: BSD (as one example) is not asymmetrical. But for individuals
licenses of this type may not be the best choice.

>>Joel, Chuck and others: BSD, MPL, CPL, EPL and other licenses are going to
be discouraged going forward, and this is implied by the statement above in
the document.

So my conclusion at this point is that the term "...asymmetrical corporate
licenses..." is being interpreted by many to mean those licenses which
explicitly allow third parties to build commercial products on top of open

So, can someone confirm whether this is really what is meant by the License
Proliferation document? Is the OSI really taking the formal position that
licenses which encourage the creation of commercial products on top of open
source is a "worthy experiment that has failed" and the the OSI "will
discourage them" in the future?

Please note that I am not trying to start a flame war, or disagree with
anyone. I am just trying to arrive at a precise understanding of what OSI's
document does or does not mean.

Mike Milinkovich
Executive Director,
Eclipse Foundation, Inc.
mike.milinkovich at eclipse.org

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bruce Perens [mailto:bruce at perens.com] 
> Sent: April 12, 2005 5:42 PM
> To: mike.milinkovich at eclipse.org
> Cc: 'Chuck Swiger'; license-discuss at opensource.org
> Subject: Re: OSI's war on corporate licenses
> Mike Milinkovich wrote:
> >OK, just when I thought I understood, I am confused again.
> >
> >Bruce defined the term as: "...licenses that grant rights on new 
> >modifications to the initial developer that are not granted 
> to all of 
> >the other developers".
> >
> >Chuck then expands the conversation to use BSD as an example 
> of such a 
> >license. It doesn't take long to read the BSD license, and I 
> do not see 
> >any asymmetrical license grants in that license as defined 
> by Bruce. In 
> >fact, the BSD does not grant any licenses to any modifications to 
> >anyone from what I can see. Based on Bruce's definition, the 
> BSD should 
> >not be considered asymmetrical.
> >  
> >
> The BSD is not an asymmetrical license. I never said that it was.
> It does grant everyone the right to take a product private 
> and bring out differentiated versions. This is sometimes 
> appropriate, depending on your business purpose.
> It is not the license that I put on work that I do with my 
> own funding, becuase my intent is to improve Open Source, not 
> to be the unpaid employee of some proprietary software 
> company. They can contact me for a commercial license. 
> However, I am happy to apply the BSD license when someone 
> pays for my work and requests that license.
>     Thanks
>     Bruce

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