For approval: MXM Public license

Carlo Piana osi-review at
Wed Apr 8 17:10:27 UTC 2009

Tom "spot" Callaway ha scritto:
> On 04/08/2009 12:18 PM, John Cowan wrote:
>> In a world of submarine patents, *all* programmers must be prudent
>> about the risk of exercising the rights laid out in the OSD or anywhere
>> else.  It is hardly possible to write code at all without stepping on
>> some wrongly-decided patent.
> While this is true, this is the first instance of a license that I've
> ever seen where it is being specifically drafted to remove patent
> protection, and intended for use only in a highly patented space (MPEG).
> To give such a license OSI approval would only serve to encourage such
> practices, rather than condemn them.
> "Yes, this playground is full of hidden land mines. But it is
> state-certified as handicapped accessible!"
> Tom Callaway, Fedora Legal
Matthew, Tom, all,

[please disregard my other messages, which have not hit the list!
entirely my fault! Including the one which said to disregard the
previous ones for the same reason. :-(( ]

Thank for your answers. You have hit of course the nodal point. Whether
a license that clearly separates the copyright licensing from the patent
licensing is compliant with the OSD. This is the very question that I
have asked myself when I was requested to submit the license to OSI
(initially I had drafted the license slightly differently).

If the answer is "in order to be OSI certified the license should grant
-- explicitly or implicitly -- the right to use the patented stuff in
it", then the discussion is over because the avoidance of such licensing
has been chartered to the license since the beginning, and thus there is
*no* way to produce an ISO/IEC reference implementation under an OSI
certified license.

I guess this should be reflected in the OSD, though, not only in the
opinion of the discussants.

I remain skeptical about the notion that the BSD provides a patent
license at all, leave alone a "solid" implicit patent license. I think I
am not alone in this, as some distinguished expert like Dan Ravicher, or
those who have conceived the Clear BSD license, have different opinions.
Same appears to be the case for some of the members of this list [0].
Maybe this is beyond the point, but I don't buy this argument at face
value. If the BSD remains silent, then at least it allows a great deal
of ambiguity (I am not a big fan of BSD or of permissive licenses in
general, I guess it is clear, I am more of a copyleft guy).

My position is that software patents should not exist *at all*, and that
all Free and Open Source Software License ideally should have software
patents anti-bodies insofar and until software patents exist. I have
advocated and praised that GPL v.3 included an express patent grant.
This is however impossible in the examined field of endeavour (of course
until the software patent system will be abolished).

I would appreciate any further thought.

With best regards,


[0] I am perfectly conscious that we are not discussing BSD but patent
as opposed and as interfering with copyright licenses and how this can
be written -- or not written -- in an OSD compliant license, therefore
the discussion is off-mark if we follow this route.

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