OSL for libraries (was Re: Submitted for Approval: OSL 3.0 and AFL 3.0)

Gordon Kindlmann gk at bwh.harvard.edu
Mon Sep 12 12:29:07 UTC 2005


Again my query specifically relates to applying OSL 3.0 to a library;  
I do not intend to create a diversion from discussing the general  
merits of OSL and AFL in more typical circumstances.

On Sep 11, 2005, at 11:49 PM, Lawrence Rosen wrote:

> OSL 3.0 section 1(a) authorizes the copying of your library into a
> collective work without imposing reciprocity obligations on your  
> licensees
> for their own independent creations.

Understood.  The LGPL does this as well, but LGPL Section 6  
additionally imposes requirements that distributors of an executable  
linked with the library enable users of the executable to link it  
with their own modifications of the library.  With dynamic linking,  
this is no problem; with static linking (which I believe is more  
common in embedded applications), this is sufficiently annoying that  
many developers are wary of LGPL Section 6.  LGPL Section 6 also  
defines attribution requirements.

I think it is significant to point out that wxWindows (http:// 
www.opensource.org/licenses/wxwindows.php), FLTK (http://www.fltk.org/ 
COPYING.php), and FOX (http://www.fox-toolkit.org/license.html) are  
all widget toolkits, and that the licenses for these all have their  
own exception notices layered on top of LGPL to, among other things,  
nix the requirement to enable relinking. A widget toolkit is to me an  
ideal model for what is an independently distributed software  
library, so I think its worthwhile to note how those licenses have  
tweaked the LGPL to fit their needs.

Along the same lines, I think its informative to consider in more  
detail how OSL 3.0, as applied to a library, fits into the landscape  
of these existing library licenses.

* Is the author of a collective work which includes a copy of my  
library required to enable users of the collective work to swap out  
my library and replace it with their own modification of the  
library?  This is the somewhat onerous burden of LGPL Section 6.

* Is the author of such a collective work required to notify users  
that the collection includes a copy of my library, by identifying the  
name of my library, or by duplicating the copyright notice that  
accompanies my library?  This is required by LGPL, FLTK, and FOX.

* If there is such an attribution requirement, how can I waive it?   
wxWindows does away with any attribution requirements.

* If the author of the collective work decides that my library needs  
some modifications prior to its copying into the collective work,  
must he or she first independently license the modified library under  
OSL 3.0?  I believe your previous message answers this in the  
affirmative, so in this respect OSL 3.0 is, as you said, like LGPL,  
as well as well FLTK and FOX, but unlike wxWindows.

* If my library in source form is licensed under OSL 3.0, doesn't its  
compilation (in the computer science sense) into binary object code  
form create a derived work of my library, since compiling is one kind  
of "translation"?  If so, linking an executable with my *compiled*  
library creates a collective work, but the collection does not  
include a "copy" of my library.  Thus, I worry that OSL 3.0 Section 1 
(a) doesn't apply to executables which link against my library, post- 
compilation.  But do tell me if I'm being stupid here.

thanks again,
Gordon Kindlmann

More information about the License-discuss mailing list