The Python licensing situation.

Rick Moen rick at
Fri Jun 10 20:50:05 UTC 2011

Quoting Chuck Swiger (chuck at

> I think you and Brian Behlendorf discussed this back in 2005.  The
> restriction on not modifying the original sources except via patches
> was generally considered OSD-clause-4 compliant (and Debian Free
> Software Guidelines compliant).

Quite.  Thus my reference to QPL terms -- though, I must say,
disallowing putting patches, a copy of the licence, or anything else
into the same source tarball for redistribution is, as I was saying, 
not quite what most people envision when they say 'licences that forbid
distributing modified works except as patch files'.

Those restrictions can be worked around and still permit the hallmarks
of open source (third-party maintainability under the same terms), but 
barely and with serious hassles.

[restriction on distributing precompiled binaries from modified

> The question is whether this aspect violates OSD #4.  Technically, it
> does not (IMO), but I'm not sure we'd approve a newly submitted
> license with similar restrictions today.

If it were to come up, I would argue that permitting 'distribution of
software built from modified source code' doesn't mean with handcuffs 
that dementedly enjoin sysadmins from running their systems as they
please unless they're willing to patch and compile locally.  I'm not
really sure which OSD clause that particular licensing aberration
violates; would have to think about it.  Maybe discrimination against
those persons or groups of persons who've declined to class FHS as evil.  ;->

Anyway, we'll burn that bridge when we come to it.  (No such demented
licence has ever been submitted to the approval process.)

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