Joel West svosrp at
Wed Apr 13 22:50:26 UTC 2005

On 6:11 PM -0400 4/13/05, Michael R. Bernstein doth scribe:
> > From: Brian Behlendorf <brian at>
> > Are we really all out of other windmills to tilt against?
>To me, there is a qualitative difference between an Initial Developer (ID) requiring copyright assignment .. and a license that pre-determines that such an assignment to the ID has already been made if the modification has been distributed.
>In the latter case, regardless of how many times a project forks

So a license that enables and allows forking is good? I thought that was the whole point of the GPL, to prevent forking.

>Speaking only for myself, this isn't the sort of deal I would find attractive unless the modifications I intend to make are mostly trivial.

Well and that's the deal. The GPL allows several different companies to be in the Linux business. A dual license GPL only allows one company to be fully in, say, the MySQL business.

An "asymmetric" CPL allows only the Eclipse Foundation to be in the business of distributing Eclipse. But an asymmetric CPL could also allow IBM to be the only firm in the business of distributing a piece of software without the reciprocal obligations.

So is it the license that's bad, bad, bad? Or is it the business model where some people get to make money off the software and not others?

Finally, if users get value from seeing the code and fixing short-term bugs, but have no desire to compete with the ID, isn't there some "open source" value in an asymmetric grant of rights? Open Source Definition #1, #2, #3 (the core of the OSD) would still apply.


Joel West, Research Director
Silicon Valley Open Source Research Project

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