An explanation of the difficulty of solving license proliferation in one sentence

Russell Nelson nelson at
Wed Mar 9 20:00:01 UTC 2005

Evan Prodromou writes:
 > On Tue, 2005-08-03 at 16:54 -0500, Russell Nelson wrote:
 > > But more than anything else, it points to the difficulty of getting to
 > > a world with only a handful of licenses.  If there really are to be
 > > fewer licenses, projects must relicense, as painful as that is.
 > I think that's a completely unacceptable burden

Perhaps, but if you want to reuse software between projects with
incompatible licenses, then one or the other has to relicense.

There's a benefit to developers: more software you can lift.
There's a benefit to companies: more software under the license you
already understand.

 > Software that meets the Open Source Definition is Open Source. OSI
 > should do its job and certify it.

That hasn't been our policy for many years now.  We have been pushing
people to use an existing license for at least as long as Danese
Cooper has been on the board.  I know this, because we denied approval
to a submittor in the minutes of the same meeting we voted Danese onto
the board.  Here's what we said:

  In re the Wonka Public License agenda item, we decided that even
  though it was open source, the differences were not significant enough 
  to approve it outright.  We resolved to send it back and ask him to
  use the BSD license.  If he refuses, we'll re-consider approving it.
  Michael made the point that license proliferation has its costs in
  terms of increasing the transaction cost of software reuse across

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