An explanation of the difficulty of solving licenseproliferation in one sentence

glen martin gmartin at
Wed Mar 9 18:29:18 UTC 2005

There is a technique that car salespeople use, in which they accept that
you're not really in the market to buy, but if you were, what color would
you like, and do you want a sunroof?

I'm provisionally of the opinion that there is a problem here, though
perhaps not the same problem as some argue exists. Even so, I think
proposals are in fact actually harmful before agreeing there is a problem to
solve and what the real problem is. "What does it harm" is the wrong
question - "what does it help" is a better - "Why is *this* a necessary
solution to a real important problem" is getting closer.

W.r.t. license proliferation, I found Marten Mickos' keynote comment at
LinuxWorld interesting (paraphrased): "1000 commercial packages have 1000
licenses, 1000 open source packages have 50 licenses. This is success, not
failure, and doesn't need to be fixed."

I also found Walter's comment earlier in this thread compelling, regarding
"a lack of case law." It can be hard to argue convincingly that we're done
before we effectively test what we have produced.


-----Original Message-----
From: Fink, Martin R [mailto:martin.fink at] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 9:32 AM
To: Evan Prodromou; Russell Nelson; Eric S. Raymond
Cc: Open Source License Discussion List
Subject: RE: An explanation of the difficulty of solving
licenseproliferation in one sentence

<a highly entertaining (as fiction) exchange (not just this post)
trimmed brutally>

... just let the people who care about it come up with a proposal
that deals with the perceived problem.  When one or two proposals are
put forth (maybe by OSDL, OSI, and others) and if you think that those
proposals are actually harmful, then chime in.  The last thing I want is
to change the system into something that makes it worse. ...

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