[License-review] avoid gray areas?

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Sat Mar 3 04:12:47 UTC 2012

Bruce Perens writes:
 > On 03/01/2012 10:59 PM, Russ Nelson wrote:
 > > By Bruce's own logic, we should be telling people to avoid gray
 > > areas. Thus, if Bruce is correct, we should deprecate the BSD and
 > > many other licenses.
 > This is referring to our license-discuss dialogue today on how to mix 
 > proprietary software and GPL software together while keeping a bright 
 > line between the proprietary and GPL parts, such that there is no matter 
 > of contention that would cause a GPL licensor to bring a lawsuit.
 > This is taken out of context from an entirely separate discussion and 
 > doesn't map to the one at hand. There are many gray things in the world, 
 > and this should not be construed to be advice about any of them. For 
 > example, it is not advise to stop aspirating the gray smoke, even if 
 > some folks might benefit from such advice.

I'm a lot dumber than you, Bruce. If you want me to understand you,
you're going to have to write much more clearly than this.

Are you saying that sometimes a gray area is okay, and other times a
gray area should be avoided? I mean, your advice is good advice: it's
expensive and rarely a win when you resolve a gray area in the law, so
stay away from them. Are you saying that it's NOT a gray area to infer
a patent license when none was explicitly granted?

Let me reiterate in case Bruce has managed to confuse anyone else:
Bruce is saying that OSI is or should be in the business of making
patent guarantees even though the OSD doesn't say anything about
patents, and thus should deny the CC0 approval. I'm saying that if
he's right, then since the BSD license doesn't make an explicit patent
grant, we should deprecate it and every other license that doesn't
make a patent grant.

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
Crynwr supports open source software
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315-600-8815
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  |     Sheepdog       

More information about the License-review mailing list