[License-discuss] proposal to revise and slightly reorganize the OSI licensing pages

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Wed Jun 6 04:29:27 UTC 2012


I suggested that metric to tease Larry. He's been vociferous about the 
GPL and its enforcement previously.

You bring up the issue of court tests, though. It's not really the 
licenses that need testing, but some of the assumptions upon which they 
are built. So, Jacobsen v. Katzer was useful because it establishes that 
the Free Software developer has an economic interest and can use the 
full gamut of enforcement tools to protect that interest. Not because it 
included a court test of the Artistic License Version 1, a license that 
we are happily mostly rid of.

Oracle v. Google, if it stands (we have about 2 months to see if Oracle 
will really file cert), does two things, I think. It makes it even 
clearer that we can re-implement proprietary APIs in Free Software with 
impunity, and it makes it even less likely that we can successfully 
enforce that run-time combination of works at an "API" boundary creates 
a derivative work. We'll take that, we're more interested in freedom 
than enforcement.

I completely agree with you that it's silly to litigate with a Free 
Software developer. I'll take it farther, though. It's even silly to 
litigate with a Free Software developer /when they're wrong./ SFLC has 
previously insisted that dynamic-loaded Linux kernel drivers be provided 
in source form and under a Free Software license as a step in 
compliance. IMO they're on shaky ground with that; but it's easier to 
comply, in almost all cases, than to fight. So, I will continue to 
advise against proprietary run-time-loadable drivers despite Judge 
Alsop's finding on APIs.


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