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

Ben Tilly btilly at gmail.com
Fri Jun 8 18:19:23 UTC 2012

On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 8:33 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> Quoting John Cowan (cowan at mercury.ccil.org):
> My surmise is that the thing being referred to as '{sublicensing|relicensing}
> of BSD works' is in fact stating the licensing for a derivative.
> A certain number of the BSD regulars remain deeply unhappy when those
> works state copyleft requirements, even though they're perfectly happy
> when derivatives of the same BSD works have proprietary licenses.  Go
> figure.

This makes sense to me.

It seems to me that many people who license code under permissive
licenses do so in the knowledge that there are pressures to push
changes upstream.  If upstream is permissive, there is therefore a
chance of code being re-released under a permissive license later.
Which means that you might be able to pull those changes into a
proprietary project of your own that uses that code.  Apache comes to
mind as an example of a project that in its early days benefitted from
proprietary changes that were later released under a permissive

Sure, most proprietary changes won't be re-released.  But if even a
fraction of them are, that is development effort that you got for
free.  Many are happy for there to be free riders if they are
confident that a certain number of people won't be free riders.

However if someone downstream re-releases under a copyleft license,
there is essentially no chance of changes downstream of that ever
being re-released under a permissive license that can be reintegrated
back into the original project.

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