License Proliferation

Ben Tilly btilly at
Tue Sep 6 08:34:09 UTC 2005

On 9/5/05, Chris Zumbrunn <chris at> wrote:
> True, but another argument by "the other camp" is that easing code
> reuse should be a goal of the OSI and that this is the true motivator
> for license tiering and non-proliferation efforts. I'm saying, if that
> shall be true then the OSI needs to amend the OSD accordingly and move
> the GPL to the second tier of licenses that no longer meet the new OSD.

This is an argument that neither I, nor many others, will ever agree
with.  If someone attempts to define "open source" in a way that
excludes the most famous open source license of all, they've just
tried to hijack the word and will be ignored.

Secondly there is a very large body of work under the GPL already.  No
matter how anti-social it may be when it comes to other licenses,
GPLed code can be freely reused in lots of places.

Third, there are many business purposes for which the GPL is ideal. 
It is perfect if you want to create a "commons" to which people can
contribute without worrying that competitors will see something that
you didn't and turn that into a proprietary improvement.  The phrase
"open source" was created to create a business-friendly label for a
phenomena that already existed.  Given that the GPL is perfect for at
least some business uses, it is part of the whole open source


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