question about AGPLv3, OSLv3, the keyword 'communicate'

Finjon Kiang kiange at
Sun Oct 4 00:04:44 UTC 2009

Dear Larry,

It's much clear now. Thanks. :)

Finjon Kiang

On Sun, Oct 4, 2009 at 12:43 AM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at> wrote:
> My responses are below. /Larry
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Finjon Kiang [mailto:kiange at]
> Sent: Friday, October 02, 2009 9:30 PM
> To: Lawrence Rosen
> Cc: license-discuss at
> Subject: Re: question about AGPLv3, OSLv3, the keyword 'communicate'
> Dear Larry,
> Thanks for pointing me to your great document. ;)
> I had tried to ask a similar question in Magento:
> They said 'Modifications made to the Magento Core files and
> distributed must be licensed under OSL 3.0 and made publicly
> available.' My question is about the 'made publicly available.'
> According to your explanation, it seems not required to make the
> modification of OSLv3 licensed application publicly available if I
> don't try to distribute the modified one in public. Right?
> [LR: ] More precisely, modifications made to OSL 3.0-licensed software must
> be distributed under OSL 3.0 *to those to whom you distribute*. If you
> distribute OSL 3.0 software by making it available to the public for use
> over a network, then you have promised to make your source code available to
> anyone in that public who wants it. If, on the other hand, you distribute
> copies to a few of your friends, it is only those friends who can demand the
> source code from you, but those friends can (if they wish) subsequently
> provide copies to the public with their own OSL 3.0 distributions.
> But I have another question. According to this article:
> l-is-good-but-osl-is-better/?cs=22541
> You said OSL could solve ASP problems. If the ASP vendors only have to
> disclose their modifications based on OSL licensed applications when
> distributing the softwares to customers, how could OSLv3 solve the ASP
> problems. The biggest concern for developers is about the ASP vendors
> offer their services based on open source softwares but never
> contribute the modifications they made back to community since they
> havn't tried to distribute the softwares they used to customers.
> [LR: ] Here's an example: If Google or Yahoo or Microsoft or Bank of America
> were to make OSL 3.0 software (or a derivative work) available to the
> public, that source code (or derivative work) would be available under OSL
> 3.0 to any licensee in that public. This is a solution to the so-called "ASP
> problem" because software remains open source even if physical copies aren't
> actually distributed on floppy disk to users the old-fashioned way. OSL 3.0
> solves the ASP problem through its section 5, which adds "External
> Deployment" to the otherwise vague definitions of "distribute" or
> "communicate" in copyright law. OSL 3.0 is not a mechanism to force anyone
> to actually distribute (or externally deploy) OSL 3.0 software to the
> public--but if they choose to do so they must comply with the OSL 3.0
> license including their promise to provide source code to any licensee in
> the public who wants it.
> [LR: ] <snip>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list