[License-discuss] For Public Comment: The Contribution Public License

Nicholas Matthew Neft Weinstock nweinsto at qti.qualcomm.com
Tue Aug 6 17:08:33 UTC 2019

You may not want to start having a section of defined terms, but MPLv2 has a definition of the term "Modifications" that seems to be what you're describing for changes:

1.10. "Modifications"
means any of the following:
    a. any file in Source Code Form that results from an addition to, deletion from, or modification of the contents of Covered Software; or
    b. any new file in Source Code Form that contains any Covered Software.

With that said, while I personally don't have a preference wrt an open source license being file-based, there are certainly some folks who prefer a stronger copyleft.  That might come up when you submit your license.

Good luck,
Nicholas Weinstock

> -----Original Message-----
> From: License-discuss <license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org> On
> Behalf Of Moritz Maxeiner
> Sent: Monday, August 5, 2019 2:17 PM
> To: license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> Subject: Re: [License-discuss] For Public Comment: The Contribution
> Public License
> On Monday, 5 August 2019 19:34:39 CEST Nicholas Matthew Neft Weinstock
> wrote:
> > A few points that could do with some thought and possibly clarification:
> >
> > It doesn't seem like this license requires distribution of source
> > code.  It seems like the original author could distribute an
> > application only as a precompiled binary, in which case subsequent
> > recipients/modifiers would also only need to distribute their "changes" as
> precompiled binary.
> Yes, that is an (unintentional) side effect, thanks for pointing that out. The
> only downside to that I can see right now, though, is in terms of PR (seeing
> something licensed with this license won't guarantee that source code is
> available). But once someone does release source code under this license it
> (generally) stays that way.
> >
> > For obligation #2, it would be good to clarify what you mean by each
> > "change." If I leave all the original source code untouched and add
> > new code at the bottom of the same file, have I created a "change"?Is
> > this limited only to the same source code file, or could a "change"
> > also be templating, Java child classes, or static linkage?
> The intent at least is as follows: If you make a change anywhere within the
> covered work, it's gotta be published. That would include any editing of
> existing covered files and any addition or deletion of files within the covered
> work. In terms of examples:
> If you write a program that wants to use a library covered by this license this
> should not affect you at all. You would be able to instantiate templates,
> derive classes, and static link against the library without you having to publish
> any part of your program.
> If, however, you start adding, removing, or changing functionality within a
> library covered by this license you'll have to publish each and every one of
> your changes in the same form you made them in (which is almost certainly
> going to be in source form; Yes, in theory someone could put in the effort to
> make the changes in binary form only and even write some kind of program
> to automatically apply the changes to the precompiled library, but to be
> honest, once you enter that level of shenanigans I don't think any current
> OSI license will protect the library' author intent - you can always to some
> crazy things like adding an open source shared memory bridge to a library in
> order to bridge with a closed source program).
> So the only crucial factor is where you make the change. Within the covered
> software or not. I guess you could use the following as a rule of thumb: If you
> make the change in the software's source tarball, you gotta publish it. If you
> just consume what the software provides outside of the software itself,
> you're fine (including writing plugins).
> To be honest I don't know how to be clearer in the license than explicitly
> referring to "this software" other than to explicitly (and verbosely) start
> listing things with something like:
> "Changes include, but are not limited to [...]"
> and I'd really like to avoid that. I personally think it's clear enough as is, but if
> there are more people sharing your point of view than not I'll consider it.
> >
> > With IP licensing, the IP holder can grant a license to only some IP
> > rights, so you want to make sure to list all of the rights you want to
> > grant.  For example, with your Copyright license, you're only listing
> > "use and distribute."  This could be viewed that you are not granting
> > recipients a license to make changes (the right to create derivative
> > works).  And you're not listing any rights for the Patent license,
> > you're saying that they receive a patent license for patent claims but
> > not saying what the licensee can actually do.
> I see. Due to me having received lots of good feedback today things have
> moved quite fast and there's a new draft that I think addresses these issues
> (if not, please do not hesitate to point that out). I've attached the latest draft
> to this reply and will also send it later to as a top level reply to my initial post
> as an update so everyone can easily see it.
> >
> > Finally, a quick note on naming, there's already a CPL.  Since you got
> > rid of the word "Contribute" maybe think of a new name for the license
> > with a unique set of initials.
> Makes sense, somehow I've missed the Common Public License, thanks, I'll
> have to think of another name, then.
> How about the "Sharing is Caring License" (SiCL)? No? I'll keep looking, then.
> >
> > Thank you,
> > Nicholas Weinstock
> Thanks for your feedback, it is appreciated.
> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: License-discuss <license-discuss-bounces at lists.opensource.org>
> > > On Behalf Of Moritz Maxeiner
> > > Sent: Sunday, August 4, 2019 7:40 PM
> > > To: license-discuss at lists.opensource.org
> > > Subject: Re: [License-discuss] For Public Comment: The
> > > Contribution Public License
> > >
> > > (Hopefully replying to my sent mail works and doesn't start a new
> > > thread)
> > >
> > > I've incorporated most suggestions (commit 848faa0 in the previously
> > > linked to GitHub repository) and attached the new draft as both
> > > plaintext and universal diff from previous plaintext.
> > >
> > > - conditions -> obligations
> > > - at least one publication must be available for at least 30 days
> > > - patent grants
> > > - explicit irrevocability except in case of obligation violations
> > >
> > > Any additional feedback would be welcome.
> > >
> > > Thank you for your time.
> > >
> > > On Saturday, 3 August 2019 23:48:38 CEST Moritz Maxeiner wrote:
> > > > Hello,
> > > >
> > > > [...]
> >
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> > http://lists.opensource.org/mailman/listinfo/license-discuss_lists.ope
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