Question Regarding Derived Works

Chuck Swiger chuck at
Wed Mar 2 01:18:27 UTC 2005

Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> On Tue, 1 Mar 2005, Chuck Swiger wrote:
[ ... ]
>> However, if you provide documentation which claims your source code is 
>> RFC-1234 compliant, and you request that any modified version retain 
>> RFC-1234 compliance, you'll probably find that most people will be 
>> happy to cooperate.
> You can also model your license after the SISSL, or use the SISSL 
> itself. The SISSL says, essentially, "Defined here are some standards 
> this software implements.  If your derivative work of this software 
> implements these standards faithfully and correctly, you may license 
> this derivative work under the license of your choosing.  If you are not 
> compliant, you must release the source of your derivative work under 
> this license".  That allows downstream licensees of your non-compliant 
> derivative work the ability to correct your mistakes.

Ah, interesting!

> I think it's a brilliant license, most useful for those organizations 
> worried about proprietary and non-conformant derivative works.  The 
> flaws lie in policing, determining objectively whether a derivative work 
> is compliant or not.  Standards documents have a funny way of being 
> misinterpreted....

Agreed, this seems to be a very good approach which the OP might want to 
consider.  With regard to the flaws you've mentioned, one other concern would 
be what happens if the original source is not actually compliant with a 
standard it references due to a bug?

If the end result is simply that all derivative works must release source 
code, that seems tolerable although it also inhibits an end-user from creating 
private modifications of the original work.


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