[License-discuss] Any Free License, an open source license

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Nov 15 23:54:42 UTC 2015

Quoting Christopher Allan Webber (cwebber at dustycloud.org):

> Well, you aren't the only one to have a meta-problem with it; I do too,
> and yet I'm the submitter.  "Is it a license" is one of the questions I
> mused over, a kind of copyright existentialism (what, like, is a license
> anyway man?).  Is it valid?

I think it's clearly valid in the sense of conveying bundles of rights
that otherwise would have been reserved to copyright owners -- indeed,
does so in the recipient's choice of (IIRC) 94 different ways.

In a strictly mechanistic sense, it _licenses_ (verb); one might judge
that anything that licenses is a licence.  However, there's really
nothing to approve in its body text.  What OSI would need to examine and
certify would be the licences it references.

> For consideration, maybe or maybe not.

You're joking, I hope.  If so, well done.  Such an arid sense of humour
is rare outside us of the Scandinavian cultures.

> It's probably valid legally; the source of inspiration for this was
> considering the "compatible license" provisions of the CC licenses:

Another way to think of it is that you've taken dual-licensing to just
about the furthest possible extreme.

BTW, why no comment on my suggestion that a metalicence offering a
choice of the ~70 OSI Certified licences would be slightly more reasonable 
when talking to OSI than is one hinging on FSF's smorgasbord of 90 free
software licences + two FSF-approved failures + two
FSF-screwed-up-and-approved non-licences?  Not that you owe one, but I'm

[Rob Myers:]

>   "v2 should also include nonfree licenses."
>     https://twitter.com/robmyers/status/665306134043996160

As long as we're musing, don't _all_ open source (free-software) licences
already include a limited aleph-nought infinity of implicit proprietary
(non-free) licences?  E.g., your right to use the bsdutils for any purpose 
provided you obey the advertising clause, agree there's no warranties,
and preserve the copyright notice and licence terms, implies also
permission subject to those terms plus the requirement that you pay Rick
Moen US $100 and use the code only to manage tuba quartets.

However, and hoping not to be rude about this, a thing being true
doesn't necessarily make it interesting.  Speaking for myself, I can't
justify much time spent on gedankenexperiments without at some insight
beyond 'permissive licensing implictly includes non-permissive

> I didn't return to read that thread, because I'm afraid I'm all too
> familiar with it.  Which is to say: check the headers on who submitted
> and withdrew.  I won't... while I'm still interested in a revision to
> CC0 that could be accepted on this list, and which resolves what I do
> think are valid concerns raised, I lost a good month of my life
> agonizing over it the last time.

Well, I sympathise.  And you can perhaps empathise with people grown
wary of the recent years' flurry of strange permissive licences, who
begrudge the time OSI is continually asked to spend examining them
without real benefit.

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