AW: Restrictions in license

Ian Lance Taylor ian at
Fri Sep 23 20:50:11 UTC 2005

"Joerg Friedrich" <friedj at> writes:

> Yes, for example there would be a clause limiting the number of concurrent
> sessions on a web server. Andrew Wilson mentioned it would violate rule 6,
> No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor. 
> Would you consider it a discrimination if someone would know right from the
> start that they can only use a software for 100 concurrent users? Then how
> about the GPL? Wouldn't you think that a lot of companies cannot use
> software under the GPL commercially because they could not disclose their
> entire "infected" software? What would you consider is the difference
> between these two types of "discrimination"?

In general OSD licenses can only have very minor restrictions on how
code is modified (OSD #3).  A restriction on modifying code to
prevent increasing the number of concurrent users would violate the

That is, you could release a program which only permitted 100
concurrent users under an open source license.  But under an open
source license any recipient would be free to change the limit, and to
distribute the changed program.

I think OSD #6 is a red herring here.  You might be able to make a
case that such a license restriction would violate OSD #6, but I
wouldn't worry about that, since, in my view, the restriction clearly
violates OSD #3.


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