[License-discuss] Proposed license decision process

Nicholas Matthew Neft Weinstock nweinsto at qti.qualcomm.com
Thu Dec 13 19:37:19 UTC 2018

This crossed in the ether with my response to Richard.

To your question below, I can cite two examples of Richard's concern:

* Ms-LPL is generally viewed as not "Open Source" because it has a platform limitation.  It's not listed in SPDX or on OSI.  It would satisfy this definition.

* Code Project Open License is sometimes viewed as not "Open Source" because it has a "fields of endeavor" limitation (may not be used for illegal, immoral, or improper purposes).  It is listed in SPDX, but not on OSI.  It would satisfy this definition.

I can also cite two examples of my concern, that licenses traditionally viewed as "Open Source" could be excluded by a highly literalist reading of the OSD:

* A highly literalist reading of "actually distributed under terms that grant" could suggest that the copyright and patent license terms must be express.  The standard 3-clause BSD license does not make any mention of patents, and could thus fail the OSD.

* A highly literalist contemplation of "without payment of royalties or other consideration, to distribute the unmodified or modified software" could extend "other consideration" to actions that require the licensee to become a licensor, such as requiring binary distribution to also make the accompanying source (including the licensee's modifications) available under the same terms.  Copyleft licenses such as GPL could thus fail the OSD.

Note: a highly literalist reading might also exclude CPOL, because it requires that a distributing licensee must ensure that recipients agree to the license, which could be another "other consideration."


From: Lawrence Rosen
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2018 10:09 AM
Subject: Re: [License-discuss] Proposed license decision process

Richard Fontana wrote:

> I can easily come up with hypothetical licenses that would seem not to fail a highly literalist reading of the OSD, but which historically would never have been *treated* as conforming to the OSD, because of an obvious failure of the license to provide software freedom as traditionally understood in the community.

Can you please cite examples that we've screwed up (or create a hypothetical) because of a "highly literalist reading of the OSD"?

"Traditionally understood?" You sound like the late Justice Antonin Scalia! (Sorry; that crack is ad hominem!) :-)

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