The Legal Tower of Babel, was Re: WebM license resolution.

Chris Travers chris at
Mon Jun 7 03:12:43 UTC 2010

On Sun, Jun 6, 2010 at 8:02 PM, Justin Clift <justin at> wrote:
> On 06/07/2010 12:51 PM, Chris Travers wrote:
>> For example, the version PostgreSQL uses is not the one
>> that is OSI approved.
> Interesting example to choose.
> Josh Berkus and Dave Page (PostgreSQL guys) will likely have more depth of
> knowledge around this specific one.
> But, that shouldn't get in the way of discussing the concept you're meaning.
> :)

Cool!  So it was approved at some point :-)  However, the major issue
is that it's essentially entirely redundant with the other BSD
variants (i.e. doesn't differ from them in any material way I can
see), so you run into this sort of proliferation issue.  I wonder how
many other very minor changes we see in BSD and MIT licenses that
really are immaterial generally except clarifying specific points that
are not approved....

For example the pTk license is a BSD license with a clause added which
clarifies that the license applies unchanged to government entities (I
don't know why Sun Microsystems felt required to clarify this, but
they apparently did).  So the point remains.  Currently there seems to
be a very large number of variants out there of this specific license.

Indeed pTk came up in a conversation recently because some people
weren't sure if this clarification meant it wasn't open source

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

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