[License-discuss] Open Source Eventually License Development

Henrik Ingo henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi
Wed Aug 14 17:40:32 UTC 2013

Hi fred

I think what you are asking for guidance on, is outside the mandate of osi,
and fsf too. The time delayed license should of
On 14 Aug 2013 19:24, "fred trotter" <fred.trotter at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
>        I am sending this to both FSF and OSI people. Please tolerate
> my use of the various terms interchangeably, I know the various rules
> but I am talking to two different communities, if at all possible
> please permit me to skip the "I don't like your choice of terms"
> lecture.
>        I have just returned from OSCON, where I gave an Ignite talk on
> Open Source Eventually, which is yet-another-fine time ransom license
> that converts to FLOSS. While there I had several meetings with Monty
> Widenius about his Business Source concept. He and I have tentatively
> agreed to merge our efforts. I was also advised by Simon Phipps and
> Deborah Bryant to investigate the history of the concept here on the
> mailing list, which I have done. I have seen the history with
> GhostScript, the thread on delay-able open source licenses from Qian
> Hong and the recent and original discussions about TGGPL from zooko.
> With that historical context in mind, let me outline my aim.
> First, no ransom license of any type should ever be OSI approved as an
> Open Source license or be FSF approved as a Free Software License.
> Ransom licenses are proprietary until they are Open Source or
> Free/Libre. I am not going to ask you to compromise the core values of
> our community by putting lipstick on a pig.
> Second, despite this, both OSI and FSF should consider having a
> position, either formally or informally on these licenses. We need to
> standardize on one specific license text that is "known good" for this
> type of business approach to avoid license proliferation. Real world
> FOSS users would be better served by having a standard license, than
> having lots of slight variations because:
> * All of the promotors of this concept are writing different licenses,
> so we are again facing a license proliferation problem.
> * Poorly written or understood versions of this license could "taint"
> the release of subsequently released FLOSS software.
> * Automated license compliance systems will have a difficult time
> evaluating licenses that always have different data (dates) embedded
> in the license text.
> * Companies using the delayed method should have the option to choose
> from the menu of OSI/FSF/CC licenses as the "target" licenses
> * The license should support different "proprietary intents", such as
> Monty's aim to favor small business with costless versions, or zooko's
> idea of creating a "proprietary community". No version of these
> proprietary intents should be able to mar the conversion of the
> license to a FOSS license at the specified conversion date.
> * Users should be able to trust that they have the right to perform
> the conversion to FOSS themselves and should not be in a position to
> pay for software with the mere promise of a subsequent and separate
> release.
> * Companies who are using this method should have a limit to the
> maximum time they can delay a release, because 20 years would be just
> as bad as a software patent.
> * The licensing methods should be compatible with automated compliance
> software.
> * The licensing methods should be compatible with current file
> conventions "README, LICENSE, COPYRIGHT etc etc"
> * The license should work for hardware, bioware and "other" things,
> not just software.
> * end users should be mostly protected from any obvious misuse of the
> license
> With that in mind, I would like to propose the following process to
> develop this idea further.
> First, I would like for the OSI and FSF people on this list to
> consider some kind of new status for a license, like "OSI tolerated"
> or "OSI Not Open Source But It Doesn't Suck" , or "Not Free Software
> but tolerated for this purpose" or something like. Some way to clearly
> mark this as "the standard way of time delaying a FOSS release" but
> not actually "OSI/FSF Approved".
> Second I would like for interested parties to join me developing the
> license on GitHub.
> https://github.com/ftrotter/OSE
> At this stage, I am accepting issue creation and will be using that to
> remove obvious bugs from the text. If a git pull feels comfortable to
> you, that works too. I will of course require copyright assignment for
> text modifications.
> Once the basic license no longer sucks I will setup a co-ment instance
> for public comment.
> Finally I might be able to get NOD (my employer) to actually pay for a
> legal review once everything is done.
> We will be releasing data sets under the resulting license as soon as
> it is ready.
> Remember, I am not specifically advocating for the "Time Ransom
> License" approach. I remain somewhat uncomfortable with the approach.
> However, I am somewhat more uncomfortable not being able to make a
> living making Libre Software. There are enough people doing this that
> unless we sort something formal out, an FLOSS project is going to be
> put in a situation where it relied on copyrights to revert to Open
> Source or Free/Libre Software Licenses and that either did not happen
> or happened in an unreliable manner. If you are uncomfortable with
> this business model, then it is even more important that you
> participate with specific criticism. Some issues will be endemic to
> approach, but many issues might be avoided with careful crafting of
> the language. If we are careful we will get something that an Open
> Source or Free Software community can rely on.
> Feel free to submit an issue on github, but if you prefer to submit
> your issues with a "reply all" I will convert them to github issues
> and address them in the license (or acknowledge that I will be unable
> to address them)
> Please do take a second actually read the license and its README.md
> file on github, I have spent some time actually thinking the various
> issues through and I need comment on what is actually missing from our
> actual license, and not a merely a theoretical discussion as such.
> IANAL and as per normal if someone else can point me to a project with
> similar scope and aims I will be happy to withdraw my project (I am
> sure Monty would do the same, assuming his aims were met)...
> Thanks,
> -FT
> --
> Fred Trotter
> Blog: http://radar.oreilly.com/fredt
> Twitter: https://twitter.com/fredtrotter
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