[Fwd: FW: For Approval: Generic Attribution Provision]

Ben Tilly btilly at gmail.com
Sun Jan 21 00:09:05 UTC 2007

On 1/20/07, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> [Sorry about several typos and omitted words in my reply to Andrew Buni,
> just posted.  7:30 AM is a appalling and uncivilised time to be up;
> I probably should have saved my draft for review when my brain's unfrozen.]
> Quoting Ben Tilly (btilly at gmail.com):
> > >About as far as a reasonable interpretation of OSD #6 (in particular,
> > >the freedom to reuse in commerce) suggests.  Nicholas Goodman has
> > >pointed out, in that connection, that "Exhibit B" firm MuleSource has
> > >recently stated bluntly that its licence's _aim_ is to induce commercial
> > >users of its MPL + Exhibit B codebase to buy a "commercial licence",
> > >instead:
> > >http://www.nicholasgoodman.com/bt/blog/2006/12/22/badgeware-ceo-to-community-buy-a-commercial-license/
> >
> > While I agree fully with the OSD #10 complaints, I don't buy this OSD
> > #6 complaint at all.
> I agree that you don't buy it.

It is amazing how much agreement we have.

> > A number of companies (eg MySQL) have pursued dual-license strategies
> > using the GPL in a similar way.  Does that make the GPL not open
> > source?  Of course not!
> It appears that licence-discuss must go through remedial licence
> analysis from time to time, e.g., the frequently re-explained point
> that, no, copyleft licensing is not construed to be "discrimination
> against a field of endeavour", as creation of proprietary derivative
> works is not a right necessary to fully _use_ the codebase for any
> purpose whateover, and since copyright obligations, if reasonable in
> nature, don't impair that use either.

You were not forced to go through this analysis.  At least not for my
sake.  The phrase "rhetorical question" may elucidate why not.  Also
there is the fact that we are in agreement on this basic point, which
I tried to indicate above by saying, "Of course not!"

However since you've brought it up and have avoided my key point, I'll
make it.  Copyleft forbids nothing.  However its effect causes many
people to not want to use GPLed software.  Furthermore the strength of
this distaste tends to vary according to which use people are
attempting to make of the software.  Yet that fact emphatically does
*not* violate OSD #6.

> Please see my separate reply to Andrew Buni.  It's _basic_ to the notion
> of open source that all users of a codebase are supposed to be granted
> the right to exploit its use fully in all usage scenarios, specifically
> including commerce.  OSI makes a particular point of stressing those
> commerce rights in OSD #6 and elsewhere, because of the past popularity
> of "Hey, you can look at the source code; why on earth do you insist on
> commercial rights, too?" licences like NCSA Mosaic's.

You still haven't said anything that I disagree with.

> Anyway, it's utterly unquestionable that the Exhibit B licences are
> aiming to make it so unattractive to use the code for commercial use
> that nobody but the copyright holder does so.  They even say so, as
> Nicholas Goodman pointed out!

You still haven't touched on an area of disagreement.

The disagreement lies with the point that you haven't yet addressed.
Which is whether they've gone so far doing this that they are
violating OSD #6.  In my opinion, they have not.  In my further
opinion, the Attribution Assurance License raises the exact potential
same OSD #6 issues, and the Board decided to allow it.  (Note that OSD
#6 was in the definition when they made that decision.)  I suspect
they allowed it for the same reason that I would.

> > People are ALLOWED to use the software, they just don't WANT to.
> Sorry, this is a sham notion of open source.  I'm not even going to
> spend time pointing out your error.  Figure it out for yourself.

You might find it instructive to attempt to elucidate the "error".  In
particular I'm curious how you draw a distinction on this particular
ground between, say, Sleepycat and SocialText.  After all both give
away software on fairly open terms that they know that potential
customers are not going to like, and then make money by selling the
same software under different terms.  People are allowed to do
anything they want with the software.  They just don't want to - and
don't want in sufficient numbers to make for a constant supply of


More information about the License-discuss mailing list