Motivation for Sleepycat + MIT hybrid

Suraj N. Kurapati skurapat at
Wed Apr 11 19:21:55 UTC 2007

Wilson, Andrew wrote:
> Matthew Flaschen wrote:
>> Suraj N. Kurapati wrote:
>>> Below is the result of my attempt to distill the SleepyCat license
>>> into the the MIT license template (everything is same as the MIT
>>> license except the conditions paragraph in the middle).
>> Why do you want to do this?  You could achieve much the same purpose
>> with the GPL itself or of course the original Sleepycat.  Making a new
>> (apparently equivalent) license doesn't really make things easier.  It
>> means there's just one more license to read over.
> Echoing Matthew, exactly what is the motivation for your license?

Sorry, here is my motivation:

I had been using the GPL for some years without fully understanding
its implications. Recently, I spent some time thinking about my
ethical beliefs regarding free software and discovered that I prefer
something like Creative Commons' by-sa (attribution + share-alike)

Since CC does not recommend using their licenses for software, my
friend suggested the Sleepycat license. However, I found the
Sleepycat's copyleft condition (the third condition) to be:

1. too strong: I just want to free my source code; I don't want to
impose this condition on the user's own source code.

2. shaky: "must be freely redistributable under reasonable
conditions" -- what constitutes as "reasonable"? I fear that things
might get so bad that, ultimately, a Judge will have to answer this
question in court.

I looked at other by-sa licenses (particularly MPL, CDDL, CPL, EPL)
but found them to be lengthy and having much legalese. In contrast,
I admire the MIT license for its short length and clarity, so I
wished to make Sleepycat + MIT hybrid license.

> Please consider the unwritten, but still becoming more
> commonly accepted, 'OSD #11' which discourages new open
> source licenses which are duplicative of existing licenses.

I don't want to fuel license proliferation, but I don't seem to have
very much choice -- my particular ethical beliefs are very unpopular
in terms of the available OSS licenses.

Nevertheless, my software is insignificant, so I don't expect this
license to have any meaningful effect on license proliferation.

> In your case, please clarify why Sleepycat, or LGPL (since
> it does not appear you want source code obligations to
> spread by linking) would not suffice.

Please see above for my reluctance towards the Sleepycat license.

I feel the LGPL is too restrictive because LGPL code can only be
incorporated into LGPL or GPL code. Instead, I want my code to be
incorporable into any other code as long as my terms are satisfied.

> Your license is admirably concise, though.  ;-)

Wonderful! I spent a whole week trying to simplifying it. :)

Thanks for your consideration.

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