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

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sat Jun 9 03:18:16 UTC 2012

Quoting Ben Tilly (btilly at gmail.com):

> 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.

To be deliberately flip, the big difference is:

  A derivative instance released under a copyleft licence cannot be 
  reintegrated into the original permissive-licensed product.


  A derivative instance released under a proprietary licence cannot be
  reintegrated into the original permissive-licensed product.  (Because
  it's -- hey! -- proprietary.

But wait, you say, you're missing the point!  There's a non-zero
positive chance the derivative under a proprietary licence will
eventually be contributed back under the permissive one.  Could happen.
Whereas, derivatives initially released under a copyleft licence are
basically never made available under a permissive one.  (Except, oh,
many driver codebases of which that's the case, including aic7xxx SCSI
if memory serves.)

Anyway, in dealing with copyright law and software, it's well to
reconcile one's self early on to a pair of background facts:  (1) People
can and do perform pretty much whatever screwball actions they wish to
perform with their own property.  (2) You should take care to understand
all of the implications of any licence you use, because somebody else
definitely may, and you'll look really silly acting surprised.

Permissive licensing implies right to create derivatives under licences
you don't like and reuse in ways you don't approve of, because that's
somebody else's property (derivative of yours, but needing to satisfy
only your minimal conditions), and some guy actually read your licence,
correctly understood its permissive nature, and acted accordingly.

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