[License-discuss] Special clauses added to OSI-approved licenses: are they OK, and if not, what can/should we do about it?

Richard Fontana rfontana at redhat.com
Thu Dec 29 04:33:37 UTC 2011

Marc Laporte wrote:

> I occasionally notice projects which add clauses such as this one
> http://projects.opensource.org/pipermail/license-discuss/2011-November/000025.html
> Here are three more:
> a) AskoziaPBX is BSD with an extra clause
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AskoziaPBX
> http://www.askozia.com/pbx-license/
> b) Roundcube intends to move to GPLv3+  with an exception:
> http://lists.roundcube.net/mail-archive/announce/2011-12/0000002.html
> c) sipXecs is AGPL and there are some additional clauses, including
> "By using the sipXecs solution you agree that SIPfoundry can use your
> name and logo to identify you as a user of the sipXecs solution"
> http://www.sipfoundry.org/licensing
> 1- Do these examples above respect the Free Software and/or Open
> Source definitions?

For TCPDF - it might depend on the details, which I haven't
researched, but most likely not. Even if FOSS, this is, to me, an
illegitimate use of LGPLv3 with a noncustomary additional restriction,
even if it is not a violation of any upstream LGPL license. This
reminds me of iText, another PDF-generating library, recent versions
of which purport to be under AGPLv3 plus a similar restriction.

AskoziaPBX is clearly not FOSS, as it requires "prior written consent"
for commercial redistribution.

The intended license of Roundcube skins/plugins seems OK (GPL plus
additional permissions [or copyleft clarifications if you prefer]) but
could probably be drafted more clearly.

I couldn't access the sipfoundry.org site, but I'd consider the quoted
provision enough to make a license non-FOSS.

 - RF

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