For Approval: Socialtext Public License ("STPL")

Ben Tilly btilly at
Wed Mar 21 22:38:17 UTC 2007

On 3/21/07, Ross Mayfield <ross.mayfield at> wrote:
> Matthew, thanks again.  Let me respond in more detail to your first message,
> responses in bold blow.
> On 3/8/07, Matthew Flaschen <matthew.flaschen at> wrote:
> > Ross Mayfield wrote:
> > This provision is the same as the MSPL's, so my previous comments mostly
> > still apply.  To summarize: All these large, equal-prominence logos
> > could easily become burdensome when combined, not all GUIs support
> > arbitrary logos, and it is difficult to say what is "sufficient
> > duration".  However, unlike the MSPL, STPL's Exhibit B does not require
> > a link, or that the attribution is on every screen, which is good.
> RESPONSE: We are not familiar with GUIs that do not support logos. Could you
> provide us with examples of such problems?

The statement wasn't did not support logos, it was did not support
ARBITRARY logos.  If you want an example, take a look at a PDA.

> > Most open source software is actually used in this way.  Can you tell me
> > who made the file command, or wrote cdrom.c ?  Probably not, but both of
> > these are essential parts of (large) GNU/Linux distros.
> RESPONSE: Our point is that the business models for application programs are
> different from operating systems , so this example does not address the
> issue.

You have plenty of bad company for your belief that YOUR particular
business model justifies changing the definition of open source to
make it more convenient for you.  I've heard many variations on your
excuse over the years, and it no more convinces me coming from your
keyboard than it did from other people's keyboards.  There are many
businesses where open source is not a good fit.  Yours might not be
one of them.

> > Your network use clause is from Affero, which is not OSI-approved.
> > However, the only problem I see with this clause is that it requires
> > "immediate transmission by HTTP", which to me is a violation of OSD #10
> > .  I think "immediate transmission, over the network, " is much better.

I actually don't like "immediate transmission" because a lot of PDAs
and laptops are moving towards allowing you to make copies, work
offline, then later resync.  (So you can, for instance, continue
working while you are on a plane.)  So there may be no immediate
network available.

> > However, SocialText (the program itself) does not seem to have any
> > provision for providing source to users, so the clause is currently
> > toothless.  If you use this license, I assume you'll want every version
> > you release to have this feature.
> RESPONSE: We chose the Affero provision because the open source community is
> familiar with it. Given the concerns expressed by License Discuss, we are
> willing to delete the provisions relating to transfer by HTTP and simply
> require that the source code be made available in the same manner as
> provided in the main license agreement (see Section 3.2 of the main license
> agreement).

Your reasons for selecting it notwithstanding, it still creates an OSD conflict.


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