SocialText license discussion--call for closure of arguments

Rick Moen rick at
Sat Jan 20 02:24:12 UTC 2007

I replied to Timothy McIntyre (tmcintyre at

> > Essentially, I think the SocialText license should be approved for the 
> > same reasons that the OSI approved the Attribution Assurance License. 
> You mean, for the "reason" of having not, at that time, yet gotten around
> to writing OSD provision #10?  That reason would seem to no longer apply.
> It's funny how many of these Web 2.0 firms seem to think the OSD is just
> a series of talking points, that can be selectively ignored.

And, lo!  Terracotta, Inc. turns out to be _yet another_ Web firm with a 
MPL 1.1 + "Exhibit B" badgeware licence, the "Terracotta Public License", 

...which it's been going around claiming in public to be "open source":

I actually should have remember that datum from my listing of about
twenty members of this little lobbying effort, from my own article
(  But my point is:  I'm getting
the really strong impression that there's been some consultant going
around to all these firms making a modest living telling them:

o  Just append an advertising clause to MPL 1.1 so onerous that no 
   competitors are going to be able within reason to assert their OSD#6
   rights to use the code for any purpose.  And then claim in public
   that it's open source, which you'll get away with if you

o  Carefully avoid submitting your licence for OSI certification.
   (Notice that even Socialtext, which has deservedly been praised for
   submitting its GAP patch for scrutiny, has carefully avoided 
   submitting the licence it actually _uses_.)  And, if questioned:

o  Claim it's obviously OK because OSI has approved "attribution" licences 
   like the Attribution Assurance License in the past.  They'll never 
   notice the sleight of hand, because they seldom pay much attention, 

Well, Timothy, we _are_ paying attention, now.

Anyway, I wonder who that consultant could have been?  

Noted without comment (

   Finally, there is also the issue of who some of these companies have
   turned to in order to author these licenses. Mark Radcliffe is an
   attorney who is General Counsel to the Open Source Initiative. But
   Radcliffe has also authored some of these licenses. According to
   Larry Rosen, who used to serve as General Counsel to the OSI, having
   that title doesn't exactly pay the bills. So, its customary for the
   OSI's legal counsel to also practice law in their area of expertise,
   outside of the OSI. For Rosen, that involved writing software licenses
   and the same goes for Radcliffe.  [...]

Cheers,              "The front line of defense against such sophisticated 
Rick Moen            viruses is a continually evolving computer operating 
rick at  system that attracts the efforts of eager software
                     developers."  -- Bill Gates         

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