Submitting GPLv3 and LGPLv3 for OSI inclusion.

Nils Labugt elabu at
Fri Jul 6 00:11:50 UTC 2007

>> On Jun 29, 2007, at 10:33 AM, Chris DiBona wrote:
>>> I submit the following licenses for consideration by the OSI for
>>> inclusion in the list of licenses complying with the OSD.

What about political (or religious) statements in a license as a form of
discrimination? I think most will agree that terms like "this license is
granted to you only if you are a communist" or "you must agree with the
following communist teachings" would discriminate, but what about a
license that contains a lengthy preamble incorporating The Communist
Manifesto? I would certainly refuse to click on an "I agree" button
after reading such a license, nor would I feel free to distribute my
code under it, and I would thus feel discriminated against (not
necessarily in a political sense, but in the sense of OSD #5).
I realize that a statement like "States should not allow patents to
restrict development and use of software on general-purpose
computers..." in the GPLv3 preamble might seem like more of a truism to
the great majority of (non-corporate) contributors to open source
projects, as opposed to, say a controversial statement about Guantanamo
Bay, but there is no consensus in the general population against
software patents, and in my opinion this should be treated as a matter
of principle anyway. If a political statement about software patents is
accepted, on what grounds could a statement about Guantanamo Bay be
rejected? If the purpose of the preamble merely is to serve as a
guidance for the interpretation of the license, rather than serving as a
soapbox for FSF's political opinions, then it could have been formulated
without including (explicit) political points of view.
(The mere possibility that some downstream recipient of my code would be
uncomfortable about accepting my license because he has a different
opinion about software patents would be enough to rise serious ethical
concerns with me, but because OSI is not about ethics I will let that
issue rest.)
Nils Labugt

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