[License-discuss] a Free Island Public License?

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Sat Dec 17 03:50:08 UTC 2011

On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 04:33:13PM -0600, Jeremy C. Reed wrote:
> I believe these could be understood to conflict with:
> - ``The license must not place restrictions on other software that is 
> distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license 
> must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium 
> must be open-source software.''
> While I know this is about distribution, it can be said that it is 
> distributed with its dependencies. The license in question doesn't 
> override others licenses, but if used it implies about its 
> dependencies which I'd suggest could be distributed together. This 
> argument is weak.

On the other hand, try distributing software that statically links both a
library only available under the GPLv3 and a library you have by way of a
proprietary license from Oracle.

> - ``The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).''
> How can it be used for any purpose if it can't depend on non-free 
> software implementation?  I this think is a strong argument.

My previous statement applies here, too.

> - ``The license of a Debian component may not restrict any party from 
> selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate 
> software distribution containing programs from several different 
> sources. The license may not require a royalty or other fee for such 
> sale.''
> This is about distribution collections. Maybe this one isn't a good 
> enough argument but it similar to the point above.

Yeah, I don't think that really prohibits "friendly" license interactions
on the strength of the "Free Island" license terms.

Basically, the way I see things here, it looks like this license ends up
coming to roughly the same kinds of interactions with differently
licensed works as the GPL in many cases, but does so in such an
unfamiliar way and from such an unfamiliar direction that it looks, at
first glance, like its effects are substantially different.  In the end,
though, it seems to me that the only real differences are in the way this
license *can* be combined with certain other works without overriding
their license terms.  In cases where overriding other (open source)
license terms is expressly prohibited, in fact, this license seems less
prone to running afoul of restrictions on distribution with other
software (e.g., CDDL software).

I'm not trying to pick on the GPL in particular, by the way.  It's just a
handy example.  I could have swapped the CDDL and GPL in that example,
for instance, or used the MPL and CDDL, or something like that.  My point
is just that the same arguments that work for other copyleft licenses
should, I think, apply to this license.

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