License Committee Report for September 2008

Bruce Perens bruce at
Wed Nov 5 00:56:30 UTC 2008

Alex Wang wrote:
> > Whether or not, GPL not allow freely modification,
We're getting off of the topic of this mailing list, which is the 
license you have submitted for approval, not the GPL.

The OSI board recently approved GPL3, and more recently refused to 
approve your license. I assure you there is a very clear reason, and I 
am sorry that you don't yet understand it. I have been trying to explain 
since April.
> The problem is not attorney, but OSI board, if you were representative 
> of them. We need persuade OSI board to correct their wrong policy.
With all due respect, I think you should approach this with the 
assumption that the OSI board may have accumulated more knowledge about 
this topic than you presently have. They have also tried to explain 
their reasons since April.
>  Fail to meet the requriement of OSD is different than being negative 
> effect of open source.
There are many ways to have a negative effect on Open Source. The 
particular one I am concerned about in this case is that you are adding 
a poorly written license. The effects of this are:

1. Developers must learn another license on top of the many that have 
already been approved, and possibly get legal advice about another license.

2. They must deal with the problem of understanding how one more license 
combines with all of the other licenses - this is so big a problem that 
nobody understands the whole thing today, without the addition of your 

3. They must be careful to refrain from creating documents that comply 
with OpenDocument, for example, if they are linking in your UOML 
software, because your license - as last submitted - does not permit that.

4. Poorly written licenses cause court cases. Consider the JMRI case, 
which was complicated by the poor writing of the original Artistic license.

Your last-submitted license hurts interoperability. For example, it 
makes interoperability with OpenDocument an act of copyright 
infringement. You need to fix the license terms so that software under 
the license is never restricted from any kind of interoperability.

I am sorry to say that I think this conversation is going in circles. We 
are discussing essentially the same things that we have discussed since 
April. I suspect that this is an annoyance to the other people on the list.



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