For Approval: Simple Public License (SimPL)

Jim Sfekas sfekas at
Fri Mar 16 04:43:21 UTC 2007

This e-mail is to begin discussion of our proposed Simple Public License
(SimPL).  This license was written by Professor Bob Gomulkiewicz of the
University of Washington School of Law.  The text of the license is appended
at the end of this e-mail.  It can also be found at  I am
a student of Professor Gomulkiewicz’s and am working with him on shepherding
the SimPL through the OSI process.  
The SimPL is intended to achieve the same coverage as GPL 2.0, while
addressing an oft-repeated complaint that it is too wordy and unwieldy. 
Therefore, the SimPL most resembles GPL 2.0, but is (not surprisingly)
simpler and easier to understand.  It is intended to cover the same terms,
but avoid some of the ambiguities in the GPL and be significantly easier for
the average person to understand.  It is not a modification of the GPL –
it’s more of a reimplementation.  
The SimPL has the same compatibility with other licenses as GPL, with all
the good and bad that that entails.  It should, therefore, be compatible
with GPL, LGPL, X11 License, etc.  It does not, for example, have patent
license or termination requirements of the type that render the Apache
Software License 2.0 and the IBM Public License 1.0 incompatible with the
GPL.  Of course, the SimPL is not compatible with non-free licenses.  
For those who might be interested, the license was introduced in an article
by Professor Gomulkiewicz that can be found at 
There is an annotated version of the SimPL in Appendix II that compares its
terms to those of GPL 2.0.  The annotated version is also available at
Thank you.

Jim Sfekas


Simple Public License (SimPL)

The SimPL applies to the software's source and object code and comes with
any rights that I have in it. You agree to the SimPL by copying,
distributing, or making a derivative work of the software.
You get the right to:

- Use the software for any purpose;
- Make derivative works of it (this is called a "Derived Work");
- Copy and distribute it and any Derived Work.
If you distribute a Derived Work, you must give back to the community by:

- Prominently documenting any changes that you make to the software;
- Leaving other people's copyright notices in place;
- Providing the source code of any Derived Work in a form that is easy to
get and use;
- Letting anyone make, free of charge, derivative works of any Derived Work;
- Licensing any Derived Work under the SimPL.
There are some things that you must shoulder:
- The software comes with NO WARRANTIES of any kind. None;
- If the software damages you in any way, you may only recover direct
damages up to the amount you paid for it (that is zero if you did not pay
anything). You may not recover any other damages, including those called
"consequential damages." (The state or country where you live may not allow
you to limit your liability in this way, so this may not apply to you);
- Follow all export control laws.
The SimPL continues perpetually, except it ends automatically if:

- You do not abide by the "give back to the community" terms (your licensees
get to keep their rights if they abide);
- A patent holder prevents you from distributing the software under the
terms of the SimPL.

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