Dialogue with Intalio about GAP

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jan 3 20:26:26 UTC 2007

I just had a good dialogue with Ismael Chang Ghalimi, CEO of Intalio,
who had written via _Linux Gazette_ magazine's feedback mechanism
in response to my January 2007 article, "OSI, GAP, and 'Exhibit B'
licences", http://linuxgazette.net/134/moen.html .  I'm forwarding 
our final pair of messages in hopes that our discussion and consensus
will be useful.

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 11:59:45 -0800
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: Ismael Ghalimi <ghalimi at intalio.com>
Subject: Re: About Intalio

Quoting Ismael Ghalimi (ghalimi at intalio.com):

> You're right, the press release should not have mentioned GAP, but
> just some undefined "attribution clause" instead.
> Now, with respect to the use of the term "Open Source", I personally
> believe that an MPL-like license amended with an attribution clause
> qualifies to the spirit of Open Source, especially due to the fact
> that the AAL is OSI-approved. 

Such a licence certainly _could_ be, which is a very hopeful thing, and
with luck will lead to productive results.  More about that, below.

> All we are doing is essentially merging two OSI-approved licenses, and
> I like to believe that such merging is transitive. Do you see any
> reason why it should not be?

GAP is _close_ but not identical to the wording of the Attrubution
Assurance Licence, which the OSI Board did indeed approve, some years
ago.  Recent opinion on OSI license-discuss, for what it's worth, is
that AAL would _not_ pass certification if it were proposed these days,
because its wording somewhat suggests the intent to categorically
require that derivative works have a "prominent display", i.e., that
they have user interfaces, which would thus prohibit creation of daemons
and similar code.  That prohibition would contravene OSD#10, "License
Must Be Technology-Neutral".

One of the core notions of open source is that of allowing for code
reuse (which is an essential route to continuity and evolution of code,
regardless of how relatively little used).  That is the background
reason for the wording of OSD#10 ("No provision of the license may be
predicated on any individual technology or style of interface"):  A type
of program output or other technology that seems essential and
inevitable today may become awkward, problematic, or just obsolete
tomorrow.  Thus, open source code must not be tied to same.

It is my personal opinion that MPL 1.1 with GAP addendum, _if_ GAP's
term "display" were qualified with the phrase "(if any)", would fully
comply with the Open Source Definition -- and would deserve quick approval.
(I of course do not speak for OSI's Board.)

In any event, no, it's not actually the case that MPL 1.1 + GAP is the
merging of two OSI-approved licences, because GAP's wording does
actually differ somewhat from that of AAL.

Moreoever, OSI has always made it abundantly clear that modification of
licenses is supposed to trigger a re-submit to OSI before claiming that
the resulting derivative is still open source.  See
http://www.opensource.org/docs/definition.php for the full certification
policy.  The wisdom of that policy should be obvious, I think:  Even
_if_ one were merely to concatenate two approved licences, it is by no
means certain that the result would necessarily, in fact, be
OSD-commpliant.  That question of fact would hinge on the net legal
effect of the textual merger, which would need to be measured against
the OSD.

Which is, of course, what OSI's certification process does, and is the
whole point of their policy.

May those that love us love us; and those that don't love us, may
God turn their hearts; and if he doesn't turn their hearts, may
he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping.

----- End forwarded message -----
----- Forwarded message from Ismael Ghalimi <ghalimi at intalio.com> -----

Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2007 12:04:02 -0800
From: Ismael Ghalimi <ghalimi at intalio.com>
To: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
Subject: Re: About Intalio


Thanks for the clarification. Indeed, GAP needs some more work, and
we're very interested to see what the OSI will come up with.

Best regards

----- End forwarded message -----

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