For (Legacy?) Approval: The MirOS Licence

Thorsten Glaser tg at
Sat Jul 5 21:10:08 UTC 2008

Hello all!

I would like to _re_submit the MirOS Licence; I attached a plain
ISO_646.irv:1991 text version; URL is

Licence proliferation category: probably “Other/Miscellaneous licenses”,
as it’s not really redundant (optimised for EU citizens, see below), but
doesn’t yet have much community behind it (a big and 2-3 small projects
are using it), but clearly not a licence most people would want to use,
especially as it’s just another BSD/MIT/ISC/X11/… variant and no copyleft.

We’ve had discussions about the MirOS Licence and the ISC Licence, both
of which I submitted (the latter having been approved in 2008), earlier,
for example in
(as I recall it, cōnsensus was that it’s “obviously” OSD conformant, but
nobody was interested enough to let it pass).

The idea behind the MirOS Licence is to
• create a licence inheriting UCB (BSD) spirit
• as easy (and understandable) wording as possible
  ‣ idea was taken from “historic permission clause” for some of the text
  ‣ disclaimer is *not* written in ALL CAPS (and I got praised for that
    several times already(
• as complete wording of permissions as possible
  ‣ side-effect: licensor is not necessarily an author or contributor
• optimise for European citizens
  ‣ especially our disclaimer… the EUPL submission’s looks a lot like ours
• be a work of art but also useful
  ‣ re-usable by anyone
  ‣ use the term “work” instead of “software”
    … which has the interesting side-effect that the MirOS Licence also
      conforms to the Open Knowledge Definition (at least I think)
• be compact yet universal
  ‣ no 18K legal document no user wants to read anyway
  ‣ no special treatment of moral rights, no translations, because courts
    in Germany have already applied enough common sense in their GPL rulings
• be OSD and DFSG compliant, of course ☺
• allow for advertising clauses in a standardised manner
  ‣ the template has since been removed… even in the BSD world, we’re going
    away from using them (compare the NetBSD® Foundation’s recent decision);
    it could be justified with the fear of people “just slapping the GNU GPL
    on top of our code”, but in the OpenHAL vs ath5k case it was shown that,
    for an existing codebase, people are actually okay with leaving the BSD-
    style licence on the code including their extensions, and just apply the
    copyleft licence of their choice to _extra_ files they develop)
  ‣ historic:;r2=1.24
• be OSD and DFSG compliant, of course ☺

Note that
• there is no EUPL-like “chain of authorship” guarantee
• there is no “choice of law” provision
Since the MirOS Project uses a centralised-style development model, with one
authority to pull source, sorry, works of authorship, from, we solved this by
a project-internal agreement (even if it’s not as formal as the NetBSD agree-
ment – – which people have to
sign before being granted commit access over there). Internally, we talk to
each other and credit sources where they exist (unless we forget that, but in
that case, the information is supplied later when we get aware of it).

I hereby request that a ticket be opened for approval of “The MirOS Licence”
as an OSD-conformant open source licence in the “other/misc” category.
It is of course also okay to discuss this licence even if I see little need
for that myself.

Thanks in advance!

Sometimes they [people] care too much: pretty printers [and syntax highligh-
ting, d.A.] mechanically produce pretty output that accentuates irrelevant
detail in the program, which is as sensible as putting all the prepositions
in English text in bold font.	-- Rob Pike in "Notes on Programming in C"
-------------- next part --------------
 * Copyright (c) year, year, year, ...
 *	First M. Last <user at host.domain>
 * Provided that these terms and disclaimer and all copyright notices
 * are retained or reproduced in an accompanying document, permission
 * is granted to deal in this work without restriction, including un-
 * limited rights to use, publicly perform, distribute, sell, modify,
 * merge, give away, or sublicence.
 * This work is provided "AS IS" and WITHOUT WARRANTY of any kind, to
 * the utmost extent permitted by applicable law, neither express nor
 * implied; without malicious intent or gross negligence. In no event
 * may a licensor, author or contributor be held liable for indirect,
 * direct, other damage, loss, or other issues arising in any way out
 * of dealing in the work, even if advised of the possibility of such
 * damage or existence of a defect, except proven that it results out
 * of said person's immediate fault when using the work as intended.

To apply the template[1] specify the years of copyright (separated by
comma, not as a range), the legal names of the copyright holders, and
the real names of the authors if different. Avoid adding text.

This licence is apt for any kind of work (such as source code, fonts,
documentation, graphics, sound etc.) and the preferred terms for work
added to MirBSD. It has been drafted as universally usable equivalent
of the "historic permission notice"[2] adapted to Europen law because
in some (droit d'auteur) countries authors cannot disclaim all liabi-
lities. Compliance to OSD[3] 1.9 and DFSG[4] 1.1 is ensured and GPLv2
compatibility is asserted unless advertising clauses are used.

We believe you are not liable for code inserted which is intellectual
property of third parties, if you were not aware of the fact, act ap-
propriately as soon as you become aware of a problem and seek an ami-
cable solution for all parties.

[1] also at

$MirOS: src/share/misc/licence.template,v 1.24 2008/04/22 11:43:31 tg Rel $

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