[License-review] Submission of the Upstream Compatibility License v1.0 (UCL-1.0) for approval

Richard Fontana fontana at opensource.org
Tue Nov 29 01:01:01 UTC 2016

On Mon, Nov 28, 2016 at 04:17:35PM -0800, Josh berkus wrote:
> Richard,
> On 11/28/2016 03:43 PM, Richard Fontana wrote:
> > Hi Nigel,
> > 
> > My general sense of the license-review discussion of the UCL, and this
> > is confirmed for me by re-reading it now, is that opinion was mostly
> > negative, with concerns being expressed about the asymmetrical nature
> > of the license. This matches my personal view of the license. Thus I
> > would recommend against approval.
> I feel that this is unfair to Nigel.  He's gone to the trouble of doing
> everything right in terms of license submission, including getting
> outside legal assistance, and we're going to reject the license based on
> "sorta-kinda-negative-maybe" feedback?
> Either we're approving and rejecting licenses based on hard criteria, or
> we're not.  If we're not, I'll propose that we simply reject all license
> proposals in the future and save ourselves a lot of time.

I agree that Nigel did everything right. 

There is a real criterion at issue here, though, which is OSD 5: "The
license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons."
The issue is whether licenses that have built in to them differential
treatment of classes of licensors and licensees, reminiscent of the
use of Apache-style CLAs with copyleft licenses, can ever be
inconsistent with that part of the definition. My view is that not all
such classifications are fatal (otherwise I think many licenses that
have been approved and are in wide use would have their legitimacy
questioned). However, some do cross the line. When the OSET PL was
under review, there was a similar concern raised about
licensor/licensee asymmetry which was resolved by a change to the

I recognize one can argue that OSD 5 is intended to address different
kinds of discriminatory treatment. Ultimately I think this should be
decided by evolving community standards; it's not particularly an
issue of legal judgment and so lawyers will be of limited usefulness. 


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