License Proliferation

Chris Zumbrunn chris at
Sun Sep 4 14:02:11 UTC 2005

On Sep 4, 2005, at 3:38 PM, Alex Bligh wrote:

> --On 04 September 2005 15:28 +0200 Chris Zumbrunn <chris at> 
> wrote:
>> The GPL no longer being an OSI approved license would not harm
>> the GPL, the FSF or the free software movement in any way
> Too true, but perhaps not quite how you meant it.
> The GPL not being an approved license would make the OSI (and OSI
> approval) a joke, simply because most open-source software would be 
> under
> a license that did not have OSI approval. It would have the advantage
> of ending the license-proliferation discussion in a neat way though, 
> simply
> because noone would bother asking the OSI for approval of their 
> licenses
> because noone would care. IE it would do no harm at all to open-source,
> but shoot the OSI's other foot off in spectacular manner.

I understand why you are saying that. But this is exactly what I think 
would not
be the case. Trying to force the concepts of both "open" and "free" 
licenses under
a single umbrella will always be trouble. Both are cool, but not the 
same. Both
are companions, but unfortunately only one is compatible with the other.

> The GPL not being a recommended license would conceivably be a 
> maintainable
> position, if carefully explained. (For instance, if the GPL 2.0 was not
> a recommended license, but 3.0 was, that would clearly be an acceptable
> position).

Yes. Hopefully, if we fast-forward a few years, "open" and "free" code 
will be
bi-directionally compatible. Making the distinction now would help us 
get there.


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