Should the three new criteria be in the OSD?

Jason White jasonjgw at
Sat Mar 5 08:40:49 UTC 2005

Joel West writes:
 > The corresponding requirements seem to be
 > #1 something compatible with the GPL
As in a BSD-derived license?
 > #2 something compatible with the Apache license or perhaps a limited scope viral license like the MPL or CPL

Surely there is demand for both types, making these distinct
requirements: (1) a permissive license and (2) a module-oriented
reciprocal license - I don't like the word "viral" due to its negative associations.
 > #3 acceptable patent terms
which may not be compatible with GPL 2.

The basic taxonomy for the recommended list could be as follows:

1. A permissive license comparable to ASL or BSD.

2. A module-oriented reciprocal license.

3. A fully reciprocal (i.e. copyleft) license.

Ideally, there should be one license in each category, with all three
such licenses having consistent and, preferably, broadly accepted
patent terms. In fact, it might be possible to accomplish this with a
single license template allowing the licensor to choose among three
possibilities with regard to the type, if any, of reciprocity required

In departing from this ideal, it would be possible to have multiple
licenses in one or more of the three categories for pragmatic reasons,
for example to preserve GPL 2 compatibility. Also, depending on what
the "acceptable" patent terms turn out to be, one or more existing
licenses may suffice to fill the respective categories.

The above analysis assumes that the type of reciprocity is the primary
differentiating dimension among licenses and that patent terms are the
principal remaining substantive issue for a broad spectrum of

More information about the License-discuss mailing list