Submitted for Approval: OSL 3.0 and AFL 3.0
gk at bwh.harvard.edu
Sun Sep 11 19:48:38 UTC 2005
I have a question about OSL 3.0 which pertains to its application to
software libraries, not about its conformance to the OSD. Hopefully
this list has room for such queries.
On Sep 11, 2005, at 12:16 AM, Lawrence Rosen wrote:
> Section 1: Grant of Copyright License
> - Expressly authorizes copies of the Original Work in collective
> - Expressly defines Derivative Works consistently with copyright law.
> NOTE: Only the listed activities ("translate, adapt, alter,
> transform, modify, or arrange") create derivative works.
> "Linking" does not create a derivative work.
> This license operates like the LGPL, MPL, CDDL,
> and many other reciprocal licenses (but with greater
> clarity and precision regarding derivative works);
> it doesn't operate like the current GPL version 2.
Suppose I'm shopping around for a license to apply to my software,
which is an old-fashioned C-language library (its only usable after
being linked into some larger executable). I want a reciprocal
license that applies to distributions of modifications of the
library, but not to executables that link with the library.
The LGPL is popular, I believe, because it strives to make that
distinction in language programmers can understand (in its Sections 5
and 6). However, the terms of Section 6 of the LGPL, which require
facilitating linking with a modified version of the library, are
rather onerous when the executable was statically linked. The OSI-
approved wxWindows license (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/
wxwindows.php) is one way to put an exception notice on top of LGPL
to do away with the behavior of LGPL Section 6, though it also
permits binary forms of modifications of the library to escape the
reciprocity of LGPL. The FLTK (http://www.fltk.org/COPYING.php) and
FOX (http://www.fox-toolkit.org/license.html) licenses include more
limited exceptions to the behavior of LGPL Section 6.
I have read your "Open Source Licensing" book, including Chapters 6
("Reciprocity and the GPL") and 12 ("Open Source Litigation"), and I
believe the statement made there that linking (in the compiler sense
of the word) does not create a derivative work, but rather a
collective work, which has implications for the reach of reciprocal
licenses. Based on that understanding, I believe OSL 3.0 to be a
fitting license for distributing my library.
For my prospective users, however, can you give some more
clarification of how OSL 3.0 applies (or does not apply) to an
executables formed by linking with my library, ideally by comparison
to the other licenses? When you say above that "This license
operates likes the LGPL", you are not saying that something like LGPL
Section 6 kick in, correct? Is it more like the wxWindows license?
Thanks in advance for your time and for your continued work in the
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