OVPL summary

Alex Bligh alex at alex.org.uk
Thu Sep 15 22:29:52 UTC 2005

--On 15 September 2005 14:48 -0700 Ian Lance Taylor <ian at airs.com> wrote:

> Alex Bligh <alex at alex.org.uk> writes:
>> --On 14 September 2005 13:23 -0700 Ian Lance Taylor <ian at airs.com> wrote:
>> >     You should also have the freedom to make modifications and use
>> >     them privately in your own work or play, without even mentioning
>> >     that they exist.  If you do publish your changes, you should not
>> >     be required to notify anyone in particular, or in any particular
>> >     way.
>> >
>> > The OVPL arguably violates that freedom, although I don't see that it
>> > violates the OSD.
>> It doesn't violate it for the same reason the GPL doesn't violate it
>> (argument about external deployment aside). If you use them *privately*
>> you don't distribute, so there are no additional obligations. If you
>> *publish* your changes, you do not have to notify anyone, respond to the
>> ID, or anything else. The only additional obligation in this respect is
>> if you use the changes neither privately, nor publicly (i.e. selectively
>> distribute them).
> I don't understand.
> The case of private selective distribution is precisely the
> interesting one here.  The GPL permits it.

The GPL only permits it if you provide source together with the object
code. If you do not, you are obliged to offer to provide source to anyone.

>  The OVPL arguably does not.

Here's the phrase (same as CDDL and similar to MPL):
	Any Covered Software that You distribute or otherwise make
	available in Executable form must also be made available in Source
	Code form and that Source Code form must be distributed only under
	the terms of this License.

That allows private distribution. However, if you distribute privately,
the ID can request a copy of the modifications under 3.3, in which case
they can use them ONLY if they publish them.

So private distribution is not prohibited, it just may not remain private.

> The second sentence of the paragraph quoted above is intended to
> permit private selective distribution--that is, it is possible for a
> group of people/companies to share modifications amongst themselves
> without providing them to anybody else.  To the extent that the OVPL
> prohibits private selective distribution, it violates that freedom.
> Perhaps the word "publish" above is misleading.  In this context, it
> really just means what we on this mailing list normally call
> "distribute."  The context is here:
>     http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

OK - I accept "publish" in law is probably closer to "distribute"
than it is in common parlance. I was assuming the guideline was
written in layman's terms.

My point was the OVPL does not prohibit private selective distribution.
Just sometimes, what you distribute can be made public. The same as
under the GPL (where you don't provide source at the same time).

However, the words you quoted don't do what you say they do. They say
you can use/change things privately in your *OWN* work (no OVPL problem
here), and if you publish your work, you don't have to notify anyone
(the OVPL does not impose that obligation, even if you read 'publish'
as 'distribute', at least in the general case - you merely need to
respond to a request should it be issued - quite different from a
notification requirement, and it can be obviated by making the
work generally available).


More information about the License-discuss mailing list