For Approval: Simple Public License (SimPL)

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Wed May 2 15:04:30 UTC 2007

Jim Sfekas wrote:
> We chose this terminology because we didn't want to close off compatibility
> with other copyleft licenses. We could specify "GPL v 2.0", but that would
> leave out other options.

You could say "terms substantially similar to the SimPL, such as GPL v 2.0"

> We do believe that this gives enough guidance to
> interpret, especially in light of our expressed intention that the license
> parallel the terms of the GPL.

That isn't noted in the actual license.

>>  4. As I said before, it doesn't have the GPL's 2.c (retaining 
>> copyright  and warranty options in interactive programs).
> We have decided to leave out these elements because the extra complexity
> that they add outweighs any additional benefit.

I would recommend keeping 2.c. in particular, because such in-program
attribution is in high demand right now.

>>  1. You don't have to preserve license or warranty notices, or provide 
>> a  copy of the license, even when redistributing derivative works (see
> #5).

It's still not clear that you have to keep the license or warranty
notices, and include the license itself.

>>  3. It doesn't make it clear that derived works must be licensed to 
>> all  third parties.

I don't see anything about all third parties.

>>  7. You can charge royalties for licensing, since there is no 
>> requirement  to license at no charge.

I still don't see this.  You have "Letting anyone make, free of charge,
derivative works" but it would be better just to require licensing at no
charge, since that includes derivative works.

>>  8. You may not be allowed to pass along written offers when 
>> distributing  occasionally and non-commercially.
> I'm not sure I understand this point.  Could you clarify?

GPL allows one to satisfy the source requirement by "Accompany[ing] it
with the information you received as to the offer to distribute
corresponding source code." for "noncommercial distribution".  I don't
think SimPL allows this.

> We actually believe that your first interpretation of this term was the
> correct one - this is simply a reminder that export control laws may apply.
> The license does not include any of the limitations itself, which, under my
> understanding, is what is prohibited by that section of the OSD.

It's kind of a matter of interpretation.  However, such a reminder is
really unnecessary. Any copyright license assumes the user follows the
law, because copyright licenses are founded on copyright law.

> The GPL's version turns on the interpretation of "preferred", while ours
> turns on the interpretation of "easy".  Both are a bit subjective, but we
> doubt either one would be all that hard for a court (or anyone else) to
> interpret.

The difference is that preferred is absolute while easy isn't.  I can
obfuscate code a little (e.g. make all variable names single letters)
and have it still be arguably easy to modify; however, it's clearly not
the preferred form if I worked with the long variables.

>>  So it is supposed to include patents?  Because it isn't clear that
>> GPLv2  does.
> Yes, it is.  There are a lot of people who think that GPLv2 does include an
> implied license to use any patents that the contributor has the right to
> license.

I think so too, but it isn't *clear*.

Matt Flaschen

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