For (Legacy?) Approval: The MirOS Licence

Russ Nelson nelson at
Wed Jul 9 04:27:37 UTC 2008

Thorsten Glaser writes:
 > You mention "everyone's cost", I don't quite see that yet.

There are two schools of thought.  One says that EVERY license which
complies with the Open Source Definition should be approved.  The
other says that the value of Open Source derives from being able to
reuse software between projects, and if every project had its own
license, no projects would be able to share software.

It's QUITE clear that the Free Software Foundation subscribes to the
second view, because it encourages everybody to use the GPL, or only
if absolutely necessary, the Lesser GPL.  Their intent is to create a
body of code, all of it licensed under the GPL, so that Open Source
projects can freely mix and match whereas proprietary code can't reuse
any of it.

So, one cost of Yet Another Open Source License is in reduced reuse,
which is a cost to everyone.  But redistributors of Open Source
software (which includes everybody who wants to reuse software in
their own package) must be aware of the terms of, and maintain a copy
of, and get users to agree to, each and every license.  Plus, anybody
with deep pockets (e.g. the Fortune 500) may perceive a risk from
merely using Open Source code even though the illustrious Open Source
Initiative has approved the license.  Thus every license requires
legal review.

I've had people say that the OSI should not approve any more
licenses.  "If you want to write software, join one of the existing
communities; don't create your own." is their stance.

--my blog is at   | Software that needs
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | documentation is software
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315-323-1241       | that needs repair.
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  |     Sheepdog          | 

More information about the License-review mailing list