License Proliferation

Matthew Garrett mjg59 at
Fri Sep 2 17:59:34 UTC 2005

On Fri, Sep 02, 2005 at 09:31:33AM -0700, Ian Lance Taylor wrote:

> I grant that for businesses that want to use open source software,
> minimizing the number of open source licenses is best.  And in fact I
> think that most people who release their software under an unpopular
> license are making a mistake--and one of the mistakes is that it makes
> it that much less likely that their software will be adopted by
> businesses.  But from my perspective neither of those results is
> significantly bad for the community--they are merely slightly bad.
> They are not bad enough that I think the OSI should not approve
> licenses merely because of proliferation.  On the other hand, they are
> bad enough that I think it is appropriate for the OSI to reject
> licenses which simply duplicate existing licenses, as has already been
> done in the past.

I don't believe that to be true. I don't think anyone would argue
against the idea that anything that impairs code reuse between projects
is a bad thing. License proliferation does just that, both by increasing
the chances of license incompatibility and by increasing the number of
licenses someone has to read and understand before knowing that they can
make use of this code.

Matthew Garrett | mjg59 at

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