Accidental Public License?

Allison Randal allison at
Thu Apr 7 03:49:26 UTC 2011

On 04/06/2011 04:42 PM, Karl Fogel wrote:
> One alternative: suggest to the person that they just use the GPLv3 but
> preface it with a non-binding "human-readable" explanation of what it
> means, much as Creative Commons does with all their licenses?

I'll suggest that.

> The thing is, even if (say) the GPLv3 is complex in its own right, a
> given legal department only needs to learn that complexity once.  The
> GPLv3's *marginal* complexity then drops to... well, not to zero, but to
> something much less than any new, untested license anyway.
> So in the aggregate, any standard open source license is less complex
> than any rarely-used license, even if the latter is a marvel of
> simplicity in its own right.
> If you agree with this general line of reasoning, please feel free to
> forward this message to those who asked you about the Simplified GPL.
> I'm hoping they'll do the simple thing and go with GPLv3, once they
> think it all the way through.

The logician in me is wary of advocating for "the evil we know", but for 
now I agree that's the best option.


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